This violin is something of an enigma. It has been discussed at some length by Benjamin Schroeder and Wolfgang Zunterer, and ultimately they conclude that it is in all probablility the work of Sebastian Klotz. He was the best maker of the family, and this is one of the best Klotz violins they have seen. However, the dendro gives an earliest possible date of 1742 (both halves of the table matching), and yet the linings are willow. By 1740 or so Sebastian Klotz was using exclusively spruce for linings. The edgework is also rather broader and more rolled than one would expect of a later Sebastian Klotz.
So it’s an instrument which falls slightly outside of the expected model, but all in ways which suggest that it received special attention. The one thing we can be certain of is that the Aegidius Kloz 1762 label is spurious.
As Klotz violins go this one is supremely elegant, and the state of preservation is quite remarkable. The neck has been grafted at the heel rather than the scroll, so this would be a prime candidate for a return to baroque set-up.
There are no cracks, the edges and corners are all relatively unworn, and the varnish is amazing.
From the first stroke of the bow I was completely taken with the sound of this violin. It’s brilliant, clear as mountain stream, but also very full and satisfying to play, with an easy response and fantastic articulation. It certainly requires a bit of technique to keep on top of it – it’s not forgiving of poor intonation – but it would be a great instrument for a concertmaster or a quartet leader.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding and prejudice amongst musicians when it come to German violins, but the best examples are superb instruments. The Klotz name has also been brought down by the endless “Klotz” violins sold by unscrupulous dealers which are products of the Mittenwald trade.
So an instrument like this is particular joy, since it confounds prejudices and confuses the lazy thinker!
Dimensions: length of back 35.3cm, stop 132/192mm
Certificate: Benjamin Schroeder, Frankfurt 2018 (pro forma)
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