Steffen Nowak, Maker of fine Violins, Violas and Cellos in baroque and modern style

Viola after Gasparo da Salo, Brescia 424mm - 16 1/2''


A Viola after this famous Brescian maker, inspired by the ex 'Barzin - Kates' , an original large uncut tenor Viola.
My model is proportionally reduced to a manageable 16.5'' body length with the typical slightly shorter Brescian body stop, resulting in a 372mm free string length.
The back is of well seasoned English figured sycamore cut on the slab and with its visual appearance ideally suited for this model. The ribs and head from wood of the same tree, purchased and converted by myself in 1994.
The front of old Alpine spruce, with an even grain and quite similar to this maker's originals.
The oil varnish is shaded, lightly antiqued and patinated, resulting in a warm orange brown colour and also highlighting the natural texture of the wood and light tool marks.
The whole instrument is quite lightweight due to the relatively low density tonewoods used. The resulting sound is dark, well balanced, even and with a strong projection.
A note on the history of the original instrument:
The original da Salo violas' provenance is relatively short: with a Munich dealer in 1934, a short ownership with Mr. Barzin, principal violist at the New York Philharmonic from 1925 to 1929, later becoming a conductor on the advice of Arturo Toscanini, and in the same year it passed on to David Kates, also a violist with the New York Philharmonic from 1933-1976. It was sold at auction in New York in 2010 for well over $500.000.

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