Exciting news from Cremona, Italy, today in my inbox--looking/sounding more like a telegram than an e-mail, which seemed appropriate somehow:
cEDRA : wE ARE IN THE FINALS. >tHE BEST JUDGES IN THE WORLD ARE HERE. pRY FOR US. iF i AM NOT IN CLSS TUESDAY TELL THE STUDENTS, i SHOULD BE THERE. pETER
We finished up the viola last Friday, rather frantically; final coats of varnish, both for effect and to protect the paint and gold leaf; bridge, soundpost, saddle, blackening of f-holes and pegbox, etc. Finally, Peter and Ryan strung it up to test it out and get the strings stretching before travel.
The Antique Instrument Contest is a pretty big deal, and while neither of us expects either of the Amati copies we entered to win, making it to the finals is a satisfying validation of our tonal and artistic achievements.
Of course, Ryan (an accomplished young player and luthier himself) gave me all the approval I really needed, in terms of tone, after trying it out for the first time.
"This is a good viola," he said, adding that while the G was slightly unresponsive, "that C sounds like a fucking cello."