Violin after Guarneri del Gesu 1737 ex. Joachim
This mid-period Guarneri del Gesu model is one of Stefan’s favourites. Cleanly made it shows the master at his peak, without the often overly copied excessive vigour. The concept of a del Gesu is not easy to achieve, the arching can vary from a subtle and fairly full shape to a deep wide fluting giving a lot of movement to the arch.
I like to capture some of his spirit without going overboard. The arching on this violin is worked quite light at the top bout of the front, giving an almost cylindrical structure to the long arch, leaving a strong centre section to the bridge platform.
Both front and back are medium-high, leaving enough airspace in the body for this standard slightly smaller model (353mm over the back).
The wood for this instrument a deeply rippled one-piece back on the slab, and an Italian spruce front of medium-fine even grain, showing some beautiful hazel markings all over.
The oil varnish is of a rich and warm orange-brown colour, with hints of red over a golden ground.
With its’ slightly shorter back length but standard stop and string length, it is an easy violin to handle and the sound has got a strong core strength with a varied palette of overtones in the upper register.
Violin maker since 1986
German-born Steffen Nowak studied at the “Welsh School of Violin Making” from where he graduated with merit.
A professional Violin, Viola and Cello maker in Bristol since 1986 he mainly makes instruments based on models by the classical makers of Cremona. They are available in both modern, classical and baroque setups.
Violin maker out of passion, being open and aware to demanding clients’ needs and expectations, Steffen – being a keen violinist himself – welcomes enquiries and would be pleased to discuss the process of commissioning though it is also possible to find some instruments in stock.
A great emphasis is placed on sound, projection and set up as well as the long term development, but his instruments are also known to respond very easily from ‘new’.
The instruments are carefully made to the highest standards of craftsmanship, and a fine oil varnish of his own composition enhances the natural beauty of the traditional materials. Instruments can also be made as antique reproductions.
The last years have seen a range of exciting new Viola and Cello models which are receiving a positive resonance with both professionals and connoisseurs in the UK and abroad. Exhibitions in Vienna, Portland (Oregon), Cleveland (Ohio), Cremona (Italy), London and Manchester have contributed to this.
Chamber musicians and soloists from various European countries have selected instruments from his workshop. Amongst them are Prof. Rainer Kussmaul (ex. Berlin Phil. Orchestra – now leader Berliner Barock-Solisten), Yossi Gutmann (Viola), Lorena Otero Rodrigo, viola (Orquesta Nacional de España, solista), Lutz Gäbler and several players of the Handel Festival Orchestra of Halle, Emma Alter (London), Christina Rox (Cologne), Robert Hyman (Bath Pump Room Trio), Charles Medlam (London Baroque), Sarah Butcher ( London), Ensemble Zimmermann (Denmark). His instruments are also found in music colleges and Trusts (Royal Danish Academy of Music Copenhagen, London Trinity College of Music, Benslow Music Trust).
Length of back – 356mm
Width upper bout -165mm
Width middle bout – 116mm
Width lower bout – 206mm