Three months ago, I was asked to accompany Wieland Kuijken and Eva Legene in concert, which I unfortunately could not do because of an unexpected urgent matter. Wieland requested to borrow my viol and I was meant to accompany on theorbo. Together with my viol, I passed him a copy of his CD that I owned and asked him to 'autograph' it. I thought that if I was not going to meet him this time, at least I would have something from Wieland to take away. This is what came back:
Dear Mr. Ng,
Many thanks for the nice instrument you lent me!
I do hope you will approve the "new" setting. I moved the bridge up (± 1cm) and put the soundpost straight under the left foot of the bridge. In my opinion, the sound has improved a great lot.
Almost no violin luthiers would ever suggest putting the soundpost right under the bridge (of the violin). A baroque violin maker (I cannot remember who) did once suggest I try it on my violin, but never mentioned it for my viol. Because of this, I would have never thought that doing so would improve the sound. The overall effect of this small change in setup has created an evenness in tone that was not quite so apparent with my old setup. There is also an added resonance to the instrument, which is simply wonderful.
According to Eva, Wieland mentioned he preferred my viol to all the others he borrowed during his Australian tour. Too bad I missed him this time round. Plans for a Perth international early music festival in 2008 are in the works. I may very well be the director for strings and invite Wieland over!