Thanks, Jeff--that really is an interesting read!
I enjoy one point of the article, that blind listening tests are very subjective and unlikely to produce either consistent or the expected results. I think that's because the relative merits of any one thing over another are actually non-existent. We tend to be impressed by and think we like whatever it is we've heard the most about - Plug something enough through advertising, and people will tend to think that thing is better or at least worthy of more notice.
The Strad is "supposed" to be the best sounding violin ever made - but when experts can't even identify it in a test like this, that shows that it really just has the best reputation, not necessarily the "best" sound.
I would disagree on this one, Randy. Strad does bring the shivers - once it is played by the right players.
I had the enormous pleasure to hear Vladimir Spivakov twice this year. I am still under the spell of his sound - and from different sources I know he has a Strad, so...
Of course he would sound great with other great violins, but you know how it goes with the pro`s - they can get great results with many different tools, but they use the special one, that will give them the 5% extra
BTW - Vladimir, and your Moscow partner, Stas Namin, are good friends
Hello, Vladzakr - Your friends with my Russian producer, Stas Namin--! Wonderful--thanks for letting me know! I love the way the internet makes the world smaller and more united than ever.
EDIT: Dummkopf me - I didn't read Vlad's post correctly - He didn't mean that he knows Stas Namin, but that the violinist Vladimir Spivakov does.
I of course had no doubt that my response to this interesting article would draw out disagreement. I know The Strad is a superb violin - I was just pointing out that these experts in both blind tests mentioned in the story preferred the sound of other instruments, and even mis-identified other instruments as being The Strad.
It's like when a wine expert is blindfolded, selects the wine from a box and then has to explain why he preferred that to something costing 100 times more--"well, harrumph, my palette must be a bit off today, aaahem, and, well---it must be extremely top notch boxed wine!"---
Don't mind me, it's just part of my extremely democratic tastes. I don't have much faith in the supposed superiority of ANything over anything else, but tend to find wonderful things in all creations - as a result I have few actual preferences in most anything you can name, and don't take seriously the claim that anything is Better or The Best etc. That's all in the realm of advertising agencies and spokespeople even when they aren't making money to promote something, like the true blue Stradivari fans.
Thanks again for the greeting!
Now if mold were only the secret to great teeth I would be doing great!
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM
Oops, must be my poor language, but for sure you have misunderstood - as I meant that Vladimir Spivakov, the great russian violonist and orchestra leader is a friend of your partner, Namin. Me, unfortunately I haven`t the chance to meet neither in person Mostly because I live overseas since 12.
With the rest I do agree, but still I feel that in proper hands, such tools make difference. Anyway its down to taste, as I know that Heifetz did not use the Strad, and preferred something else - go figure..
Stas is the producer of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Even though his fame comes from being a rock n' roll pioneer in Russia, he's a very talented, passionate man whose tastes are very broad. His friendships are wide, from Ringo Starr to Vladimir Spivakov, from Robert DiNiro to Ludmila Gurchenko.
The Strad will always be The premiere, legendary violin. And you are very right that it takes a master to bring out the best attributes in whatever he touches. A great pianist can transform a humble spinet piano into something new and elevated, and a great guitarist can make a cracked pawn shop guitar missing half its strings sing.
Good to hear from you, Vladzakr.
Me sitting between Stas Namin and Ludmila at my host's birthday party in Moscow last year.
Sorry for off-topic, but good lord, Randy you were holding a living legend in your lap!! That`s Ludmila Gurchenko - one of the greatest Russian actresses since the 1956(!) debut in "The Carnaval night". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049397/
Very interesting to read!
I would have to agree with Randy's first post on this one. 'Big brands' of instruments are not always 'better' than little known instruments.
I've played on top trumpets and cornet's but i've also played on some old 'band store room' trumpets which are near identical, and better in some cases, to let's say a Stromvi trumpet.
I try not to let the 'name' of an instrument push me away/towards it's quality.
A nice water-cooler topic
Trumpet, cornet, flugel player. Composer and student.
---So there I was at Stas's birthday party. Lots of great food, and of course Vodka. Mostly it was a room of boisterous, loud Russians. Very few knew any English, but I was having a great time despite not following conversations.
--Gurchenko was the last person to get up to do a birthday toast. Many people had gotten up to talk about our host and then propose toasts at the end of their anecdotes. When Gurchenko got up, the entire party was suddenly hushed and leaning towards her. I have no idea what she was saying, but she held the spotlight for quite awhile, very animated, full of life and energy -she had the party rolling with laughter over and over.
I turned to a rock musician I'd met who knew more English than most of the guests - I said to him, "She's an actress, yes?'' His eyes widened as if he was looking at a Moon man - "She's only Russia's greatest living actress--yes!!"---I explained I'm just a dumb American and wasn't familiar with Gurchenko, but I'd been able to see for myself in just a few moments that she was a seasoned pro at communicating with an audience. So expressive and warm.
As soon as the applause was dying down after her toast, I bustled over to her table, camera in hand - and within moments that picture I posted was taken.
She was so beautiful, regal - simply wonderful, and Stas was plainly very touched that she'd come to his party.