A Beautiful Violin From Ernst Heinrich Roth, 1952. 1718 IV-R Strad Model.

There are few places in the world with a historic tradition of violin making as long and rich as the Saxon town of Markneukirchen, stretching back to the mid 17th century and to the formation of the first associated guilds. In the same way that Chinese instruments have flooded the marketplace today and set a standard for entry level commercial instruments, 19th century making in Markneukirchen flourished and fueled the expansion of the classical music industry. By the end of the 19th century, Markneukirchen alone produced upwards of two hundred thousand violins for worldwide export annually, half of which were bound for the United States.

Ernst Heinrich Roth I (1877-1948) was well versed as a musician and studied under several violin makers across Europe, including his father, Gustav Robert Roth, who established the family workshop in 1873. In 1902 at the age of 25 he started his own firm with his cousin, Gustav August Ficker and was producing 13 grades of violins just two decades later. Roth spent a year in Cremona in 1920, ushering in a new era of refinement in not only his personal production, but that of the shop, a period which extended until 1933 when political tensions and conscriptions divided his shop. The shop would close as a result of WWII and relocate to Bubenruth, resuming production in 1954. The instruments from 1921 through 1932 are considered the most desirable but it is widely accepted that the higher end productions from the firm prior to that were made entirely by his hand alone.

This beautiful IV-R (1718) Strad model from EHR was made in 1952, the period of time before the firm re-established itself in Bubenruth. It presents in well played condition, with evidence of wear from consistent use but otherwise good throughout and features what might be the last of their collection of tone wood they continued to enjoy through the 1930’s; highly flamed one piece maple back of 357mm in length, with matching ribs and headstock and tight even grained spruce for the top.  In fact, the varnish too appears more consistent with the production from the 1930’s than any other violin I have seen from this era. Richly shaded, beautifully antiqued, commensurately pleasing aesthetically. It boasts a quality of voice that readily conveys why Roth violins are so regularly desired and consistently admired and comes with its original certificate of authenticity from the firm.

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