Ahead of appearances at Music at Paxton, violinist of the Piatti Quartet Michael Trainor examines the curious history of his Voller violin, and the maker’s connection to Alfredo Piatti

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This violin has been a huge part of my musical journey with the Piatti Quartet. Bought from Bishop Strings, London, in 2013, together we have performed countless concerts and covered an enormous range of repertoire, not to mention many competitions, broadcasts and acoustics- ranging from good and to very bad, but I can always count on it to get me through any concert situation!

Using part of a 1774 Ferdinando Gagliano violin (the front), the Vollers, two brothers who were highly skilled craftsmen based in Streatham, London in the late 19th and early 20th century, created the rest of this violin in imitation of a Gagliano. This is what they were renowned for, infamously so, especially when their imitation ‘Stradivari’ was passed off as the real thing at an auction in 1901.

This Voller violin has a big sound, powerful when it needs to be, but capable of producing very tender and sweet timbres too. Its versatility has seen us through our great range of repertoire on disc, from quartets by Mark-Anthony Turnage to works by Mendelssohn, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Ina Boyle.

After ten years together, this violin is such a part of who I am as a player, and by extension, the quartet sound we have developed. Some instruments resonate more with others around and this instrument has that special quality- it almost seems more content in the presence of others!

I learnt recently that Piatti was often donated string instruments by the best luthiers of the day (maybe in return for some promotion?) and the Vollers themselves made lots of little bronze statues of Piatti sitting with his cello! This is testament to Piatti’s celebrity at the time and his status as one of the great musical virtuosos.

I am indebted to the Countess of Munster Musical Trust for their invaluable help in purchasing this instrument.

Michael Trainor, violin, Piatti Quartet

All photos courtesy Sean Bishop

See the Voller violin in action with the Piatti Quartet at Music at Paxton

Friday 21 July at 7.30pm Piatti Quartet

Michael Trainor violin, Rebecca Chan violin, Tetsuumi Nagata viola, Jessie Ann Richardson cello

Purcell - Chaconne in G minor, Z.730

Charlotte Harding - Iorsa (Scottish première)

Mendelssohn - String Quartet No.1 in E flat, Op.12

Smetana - String Quartet No.1 in E ‘From My Life’

Tickets £30/£25 (concessions £18/£16)


Saturday 22 July at 10am Family Concert: Piatti Quartet

Michael Trainor violin, Rebecca Chan violin, Tetsuumi Nagata viola, Jessie Ann Richardson cello

This relaxed concert will delight and thrill the whole family and features music by Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Ravel.

Tickets £10 (conc £6) FREE ENTRY for accompanied children

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