Viola by Ian Highfield, Buxton, circa 2012
About Ian HighfieldThe late Ian Highfield was an incredibly talented luthier and certainly one of the most-respected of his generation. His detailed research into all aspects of historical violin making allowed to him to create some of the most incredible bench copies of instruments which I have ever seen. Ian´s instruments are full of character and extremely well-observed details, all created with masterful precision.
About the violaThe viola was made by Highfield around 2012 and is modelled after the instruments of the Brothers Amati. This model is one that Highfield returned to again and again, having been charged with making a bench copy of a cut down Brothers Amati viola for the soloist Robin Ireland.
The viola has a one piece back of delicately flamed maple, the figuration reminiscent of the wood often chosen by the Amati family. The front is two pieces of finely-grained spruce which widen towards the flanks. The varnish is a rich red colour, laid over a golden ground.
This instrument has a wonderfully subtle simulation of wear and use, testament to Highfield´s excellent research and developments in the field of varnish.
The viola has a length of back of 402 mm or 15 and 7/8 inches.
How does it sound?At the risk of sounding like a viola cliché, this instrument is dark, rich and sumptuous. There is plenty of projection available with a slight movement towards the bridge with the bow: suddenly the sound becomes much brighter. It is very even across the strings and would blend well into an orchestral section.
ConditionThe viola is in excellent condition.
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