This instrument is from 2014 by Ko van de Beld. Ko concentrates on making violas, and this is the third one. The official label of the School was not yet in existence at that time.
This viola’s model was the result of some experimenting, departing from a small viola by Gasparo Bertolotti: wide, short C bouts, long f-holes, well apart. Ko has contributed substantially to these experiments. The main dimensions are:
back length: 413mm
upper bouts: 195mm
C bouts: 131mm
lower bouts: 240mm measured over the arching with a flexible ruler
string length: 377m
All in all a reasonably average viola.
We do make smaller ones at the School, also after Gasparo. We do, on the other hand not believe in very big violas (back length 430mm or over). They are physically too challenging, and the bigger the viola, the more the sound will be like a cello’s. Ok, they make a big sound, but in a chamber music setting this can easily be somewhat overwhelming, at the same time not providing the characteristically melancholy timbre typical of the smaller viola.
The inlay is made of ebony and maple. Very narrow and deeply flamed maple has been used for the white, resulting in a festive pearl structure. In the f-holes, the Brescian ancestry is still clearly recognizable, although they have been somewhat modernized. The curl is after a model of the school, the wide second turn rather masculine.
The surface was first covered with potassium water glass, followed by a full, golden-yellow primer with linseed oil and pigments. Top with classic orange-brown oil lacquer, home-fired from linseed oil, colophonium and sandarac. In the photo of the top you can clearly see how minimal the layer thickness is: the wood structure is still fully visible.
The precision of the work, speaks from the paintwork in many details. Elegant edges, corners and inlays, nice tight curl and cleanly cut f-holes. This is clearly an instrument built with dedication by an experienced craftsman.
The sound is very even across the strings, free from wolve tones or other unwilling tones, and comes surprisingly easy. On the one hand a beautiful, singing A’, underneath a sonorous C with a good focus. This instrument combines sound flexibility with a wide dynamic range. In general you could describe the sound as classical or noble.
Taking into account the construction-technical and sounding properties, this alt may change owners for € 3750.00.