A few years ago, I happened to muster up the courage to audition for the Canadian Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank competition. It seemed like a long shot at the time, but in the end, my audition led to the opportunity to borrow a violin for a while. And for about a month now, I have been playing on their Carlo Antonio Tononi fiddle from 1757.
The violin has an even tone among the four strings, has a sizzling E-string in the upper register, and a punchy G-string. Also — and especially on the G-string — I can sink in with my bow and catapult some deep and penetrating colors. The craftsmanship is fairly excellent, and the back piece is quite a stunning piece of maple.
The violin had been sitting in a case for half a century and was not played at all during that time. Naturally, I have experienced some mood swings from it. Sometimes, it yields two different outputs with the same input. The old Italian has its quirks for sure, but its responsiveness and tone improves daily.
All in all, its an incredible fiddle for sure.
I am excited to uncover all the violin’s little nuances in the months ahead. I plan to record quite a bit in the next year or so, so please stay tuned and enjoy the sounds of this great 18th century Italian-made violin!