Jacob Stainer: reviewing the situation

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It has long been assumed that Jacob Stainer received some training in Cremona – but the theory rests on slim evidence. Rudolf Hopfner explores a middle-period violin using micro-CT technology to cast doubt on what we think we knowWolfgang Schneiderhan

Jacob Stainer (1619–83) is still regarded by many as the finest stringed instrument maker of the 17th century. In his day his instruments were more highly prized than those of the Cremonese makers and, like Stradivari, he was fortunate enough to be famous in his own lifetime. By the time of his death, his influence had extended across Europe, with some of the best-known players and composers owning instruments made by him. Thanks partly to his colourful career – which encompassed being put on trial for heresy in 1618 (see page 42) – his life was well recorded, with many documents regarding his biography still surviving. However, his formative years have always been shrouded in darkness…

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