More detailed information about stringed instruments and the history of violin making.
Fine Markneukirchen viola, Johann Christian Voigt II, 18th century
The powerful, mature and nuanced sound of this historic master viola is a striking representation of the excellent artisanal standards that characterised Markneukirchen luthiers even back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries – a period in which industrial violin making had already long since begun to flourish. This instrument’s architect, Johann Christian Voigt II, came from a large violin-making family which was represented in its guild for many generations, and their traditions are still perpetuated today thanks to the influence of masters such as Jochen Voigt. Many of the details of this viola’s expressive appearance and extremely comfortable playing properties reflect Johann Christian Voigt’s distinctive approach, and these features rank amongst the few specific things known about the master. His hand-written dated original label confirms the authenticity of this piece, a work which illustrates inimitable aspects of his style. The self-confident carving of the scroll and minor asymmetrical elements are some of the typical signs of his virtuoso craftsmanship, and the purfling very close to the edges and an additional tip on the button are even more classic Voigt touches. The gentle flames of the one-piece maple back and the grain of the premium-quality spruce top create a charming aesthetic along with the natural traces of age and use. The varnish also displays an interplay of colours that is in keeping with the violin-making tradition of the Vogtland region. Voigt applied his highly refined aesthetic and musical sensibility in crafting the arches, and in doing so he cast this Jakob Stainer-oriented model in its finest light. The viola was kept in remarkably good and nearly crack-free condition; a minor repair was made to the lower rib – hence the economical price. At our restoration workshop, the viola was carefully set up to ensure its dependability and tonal quality, and it is now ready to play. We recommend this instrument to sophisticated performers who will appreciate its rare spectrum of rich colourful timbre and its pleasant and easy playability.