Violin by Martin Mathias Fichtl II, Vienna, c. 1750
About Martin Mathias Fichtl IIMartin Mathias II was taught violin making by his father, Martin Mathias I, and was based in Vienna throughout his life. Considered to have been amongst the finest of the early Viennese makers, the younger Fichtl was born in 1682 and died in 1768. Like all of the Viennese makers of the period, Fichtl made instruments modelled after Jacob Stainer.
Interestingly, Martin Mathias I was a founding member of the first Viennese guild of violin makers: before this date we find members of the Fichtl family active in Füssen and in Mittenwald.
About the violinThe violin was made around 1750 in Vienna. It has a two piece back of book-matched maple, the flame descending from the centre joint. The front is two pieces of narrow-grained spruce, widening towards the flanks. The violin has characteristically full arching, as expected of a Stainer model. The varnish is a dark chocolate brown in colour and the length of back is 353 mm.
How does it sound?Tonally, we often assume that Stainer model violins have a sweet sound which may be somewhat lacking in power. This violin does indeed have that fruity lower end and silvery E string which we expect from such a model, however it also has a punchy, crisp sound which carries very well. Its ability to change dramatic register within the same phrase makes this violin an incredible choice for exploring Romantic and twentieth century repertoire.
ConditionThe violin comes with a detailed condition report. Although in good restored condition, the varnish has suffered from a good deal of oxidisation and has a well repaired crack on the back bass side. These issues are reflected in the price: if you are looking for a fantastic-sounding eighteenth century violin then this could be an excellent bet!
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