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The musicians and experts of the Estonian Foundation of Musical Instruments last week visited the Vatlot-Rampal agency of historical string instruments and bows in Paris, where from among the bows made by French masters, six historical bows were selected that have a total value of more than 100 000 euro.

“I selected a magnificent bow of the French master Victor Fétique. Its suitability with the Maggini violin is extraordinary. This bow obviously allows for a very powerful and solistic sound, but even more important for me, in making the selection was its richness of nuances in highlighting different sound colours”, said Hans Christian Aavik, who plays on a violin belonging to the collection of the Instrument Foundation that was built in 1610, by the instrument maker Giovanni Paolo Maggini.

“Selecting a bow is very personal and in making the selection, personal taste plays a very large role, as well as the feel of the bow in the hand of the interpreter. All possible aspects must be tried: long notes, different strokes, works with different techniques etc. I understand that it is right, if the bow provides the feeling that I have been playing with it, already for many years”, added Hans Christian Aavik.

The authors of four violin bows selected by the Estonian musicians and experts are, Victor François Fétique, Joseph Alfred Lamy and Henri Louis Gillet. The author of the viola bow is also Henri Louis Gillet and the master of the cello bow, is François Nicolas Voirin. The precious master bows, with the decision of the Council of the Instrument Foundation, will be given into the use of Mari Poll-Novakovic, Hans Christian Aavik, Katariina Maria Kits, Gloria Ilves, Theodor Sink and Johanna Vahermägi.

“There is currently a high demand for bows. There are obviously on the market also good contemporary bows, but our agency offers older, very valuable bows, made in the 19th-20th century by French masters. The founder of the atelier, Etienne Vatelot wrote in the 1980s, a research paper on bows that assisted furthering among people, general awareness and growing interest towards historical bows. The great interest also caused an increase in the price of bows that by now have more or less stabilised”, explained Jean-Jacques Rampal, an expert of the Vatelot-Rampal agency of historical string instruments and bows.

Private investors funded the purchase of five out of the six bows. These investors have also invested into the historical string instruments of the Instrument Foundation. The Cultural Endowment of Estonia allocated support, for the purchase of one bow.

“Historical master instruments and bows are extremely expensive. The total value of the bows selected for the top Estonian musicians is more than 100 000 euro, for which the support of private investors is one of the largest in the crisis period”, said Marje Lohuaru, head of the Instrument Foundation.

Participating in the trip to select the bows were Marje Lohuaru, the head of the Estonian Foundation of Musical Instruments, Mari Tampere-Bezrodny, violin professor at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, as well as the musicians of the Estonian Foundation of Musical Instruments, the cello group concertmaster of the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Leho Karin, Hans Christian Aavik, who is studying at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts and Katariina Maria Kits, who starts studies in autumn, at the Lugano University of Music.

Ten historical master instruments and with the additional bows, eight historical bows, belong to the Instrument Foundation. The instruments and bows of the Instrument Foundation predominately belong to private investors, who through the mediation of the foundation make the instruments available to musicians, for limited periods of use.