The Press and other media

Federal Ministry of Education and Research:|Exceptional talent from Zwickau plays on NewStrad violin

"...twelve-year old violin talent Elin Kolev does not leave anything to chance when it comes to his performance in the Carnegie Hall in New York - in particular everything related to his new violin. He decided on a "NewStrad". The instrument was manufactured after the model of a violin made by Antonio Stradivari in his most creative period, it combines centuries of violin making culture with modern technology in a fascinating blend."

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Unternehmen Region,

April 2009 (unternehmen-region.de)

Augsburger Allgemeine:|Wunderkind meets magic violin

"...accompanied by his father Marian, Elin Kolev, twelve years young, fetches his "NewStrad" from master violin maker Dominik Hufnagl in Markt Wald, Germany - a violin with a marvellous sound, based on a model made by the great Italian master Antonio Stradivari in 1715. ...In the course of years, Blutner has developed a method of how to convert acoustic signals into images. "We have got a gigantic database of all great violins", Blutner says. In cooperation with the Ministry of Research, these data are made available to a selected number of violin makers who are the absolute experts in their field. Dominik Hufnagl is one of them. Blutner, the scientist from the German Erzgebirge, closely cooperates with five master violin makers, the outstanding quality of whom he is convinced of. Elin, on the other hand, absolutely relies on his hearing. Among the eight violins he was given for trying out, the one from Markt Wald is obviously the best one for him."

Johannn Stoll, Augsburger Allgemeine, printed 6. April 2009 (augsburger-allgemeine.de)

Süddeutsche Zeitung: Use new to make old

"… A bright, almost bell-like metallic tone is generated when Blutner knocks with his knuckles on a block of wood that is approximately 16 inches long, 10 inches wide and 6 inches high. It is spruce, cut down some 300 years ago in Southern Tyrol at an altitude of about 6200 feet. This is where trees grow very fast to reach the light; it is only high up that further branches can develop. This is why the wood of these spruce trunks has a regular and solid structure with few knots. The old masters from Northern-Italian Cremona, people like Andrea Amati, Giuseppe Guarneri and Antonio Stradivari, used it all along to manufacture the component parts of their violins that have grown legendary. Selected wood, lacquer, glue, the proportions of the sound box - these and many other factors act together to contribute to just one purpose: to give a violin its great sound. Sound that will come out on top even when a soloist has to cope with a full orchestra. But how is this sound achieved, Friedrich Blutner asked when, some years ago, he started dealing with master violins: "Are there any rules, is there any basic pattern?" He measured the output of violins in his test lab, recorded their patterns with his "acoustical camera", a computer-aided measuring instrument able to display the time history of the propagation of sound. He got test persons - musicians and laymen alike - to listen to sound recordings and registered their impressions: Does a violin sound brighter or darker? Do you perceive it as being active or passive? Is its tone finer or coarser? And at last: Do you perceive its sound as being pleasant? The listening tests yielded something like an acoustical fingerprint. Today Blutner believes: "The main acoustical secrets are mixtures that contradict one another." For instance, a violin can be bright and dark at the same time. "That is Stradivari's secret", so he says, "he knows by intuition that mixtures of this kind are needed".

Helmut Martin-Jung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, No. 302, December 30, 2008 (sueddeutsche-zeitung.de)

Ensemble: Sound is the key to the soul

"… Friedrich Blutner has caused quite a stir with his test series in the last months. In an interesting presentation before the media, Baiba Skride tested three instruments: one Stradivari, one modern Stradivari remake by violin maker Stefan-Peter Greiner from Bonn, Germany, and one Synotec violin. Blutner's intention, however, is drowned by the fuss: It has never been his philosophy to survey a Stradivari down to the smallest details and then remake it, as the Japanese did. Comprehensive understanding of the interrelation of sound characteristics has always been his primary target. "We do not want to remake a Stradivari by surveying it, we want to understand the basics. And the first basic feature is to understand the vision that Stradivari had with regard to the tone ..."

"… Because a decisive characteristic of the Cremonese violin makers was Making by Shaping, a method that allowed to make systematic variations in very small steps. This is how Stradivari proceeded, too. Always according to the principle of the "thinking hand": Manufactured manually, tested by listening by the light of a candle in the morning - and the brain links the two components in a congenial way, as no one else but him proved so impressively. In doing so, Stradivari always had one target in mind: He strived for the beautiful, singing, golden tone in combination with the full sound, able to fill concert halls. ..."

"… Because sound is the key to the soul. However, as direct experience can never be replaced by technology, Friedrich Blutner's credo is: Make use of your ears in a more refined manner and go to the concerts again! And thanks to his work we can hope that people will be able to listen to the sound of a Stradivari or Guarneri 300 years from today, even if the sound of the original instruments may have died away till then!"

Anke Kathrin Bronner, Ensemble – Magazin für Kammermusik, edition January 2007

The orchestra:|Every violin a unique specimen

"… The art of violin making has always been based on the fine tuning of potentials in relation to one anorther. For instance, a perfect specimen of a Guarneri combines extreme characteristics: the archaic and the dynamic principle. Blutner calls the result of this special unification the Dionysian principle: its tone is open, great, colourful, clear and volumenous. A Stradivari, on the other hand, incorporates the Apollinean principle, its sound is bright, light, very much concentric and well balanced, and its tone is very volumenous, too. In countless sessions, a total of more than 1000 test listeners were exposed to the sound of about 200 different violins, either from electronic recordings or live, but always in blind tests, to prevent the eye from influencing the ear. The listeners are requested to evaluate and classify the sounds they have listened to on the basis of about 80 given criteria. … The violin will be tailor-made in close cooperation with its future owner according to his wishes and needs. The contrast with mass products from the Far East is deliberate. Although the violin-making masterplan, guarded like the Coca-Cola formulation, is known by now, every violin shall further be a unique specimen."

Ullrich Ruhnke, Das Orchester, edition January 2007

Federal Ministry of Education and Research:|Breaking news from the East! – Innovation week East in Berlin:

"Prof. Gratchia Arutunjan, a master violinist known worldwide, presents the results of many years of research by Dr. Friedrich Blutner from Wachstumskern intonato: The perfect sound of a new developed violin, able not only to cope with traditional violins such as those by Stradivari, but even to outperform them ...."

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), November 2006

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: |The masterpieces from Cremona as models

"Compared to an old Guarneri that had to be taken out of its air-conditioned safe expressly for this occasion, the Vogtland creation sounded really excitingly strong, stressing the fundamentals, round, velvety and full."

Wolfgang Tunze, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, edition October 24, 2006

Der Tagesspiegel: |Model of good sound as such

"'The violin,' so Blutner sayes, 'is the model of good sound as such.' Brought to perfection by the Italian violin makers Amati, Stradivari und Guarneri more than three hundred years ago, the instrument has undergone a long time of testing. Why not look at and copy some details of its sound design? Or do so by listening? And finally remake them? So Blutner asked great violinists, among them Latvian world class violinist Baiba Skride, to have a look at an expensive instrument and play it. He requested a number of those 'very good players' to play several instruments and several different pieces. He simulated the concert hall situation, questioned 'expert listeners' and drew up sophisticated mappings from their answers and assessments.... Its sound is full at any rate. Powerful and smooth. Due to making the most of its resonances, of its 'vibration-friendly material' (Blutner), the violin sounds much stronger than its sisters that were made in the traditional way. ...The idea of being capable of playing even in a gigantic hall without much effort has always been part of it. Insofar the artificial violin might be quite the right one for a musical life with an increasing number of mass events and giga concerts."

Christiane Tewinkel, Der Tagesspiegel, supplement of March 9, 2006

Dresdner Neuste Nachrichten:|The final result is the perfect tone

"Last not least, the final result is a perfect tone."

Kerstin Leiße, Dresdner Neuste Nachrichten, edition March 17/18, 2001

Freie Presse:|Magic violin from Saxony. It sounds as if Paganini played it

"… The public cast their vote: Two violins came in far behind, the Strorioni comes in second. The instrument with the most beautiful sound gets more than twice as many votes as the master violin: It is one of the test violins from Saxony - namely the violin into which the designers have placed all their hopes. "Vienna was the first live test of our instrument", so Friedrich Blutner. …"

Mario Ulbrich, Freie Presse, edition Dezember 15, 2000

Die Zeit: The secret of the Stradivari

"… And in fact - the principle works. Friedrich Blutner had a Vogtland violin maker make four violins using computer-generated templates, with their sounds shifted once in this direction, another time in the other one. And the violin, the sound of which was intended to be more "Stradivari-like", has really been accepted by professional violin virtuosos. Last Thursday it made its debut: The famous American violinist Mela Tennenbaum played on the "computer violin" in a concert at Markneukirchen in the German Vogtland. She had left her real Stradivary behind at home."

Christoph Drösser, Die Zeit No. 1, edtion Dezember 26, 1997(zeit.de)