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Alfred Lanini violins


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I have a violin by Alfred Lanini, made in 1920, with original label and branded inside and under the button on the bottom of the ribs. It is a beautiful instrument, a very flat modified Strad copy. The varnish is chestnut brown and lustrous, the tone smooth and resonant. A real concert instrument, showing the influences of Romeo Antoniazzi and Celeste Farotti, both of whom were his teachers in Milan.

There was recently a similar one of the same period sold on Tarisio.

Strangely, there have been a number of Laninis from later periods also turning up on Tarisio and dealers websites which have a much cruder aspect to them, almost as if they were made by somebody else. The examples I am thinking of show less refinement and skill. They have labels but none have the brand inside and under the end button.

Is anybody knowlegeable about Lanini, and could you shed some light on the discrepancy in the quality of the later as opposed to the earlier instruments? Is it possible that he allowed violins by his son or his students to be labeled with his name and sold as his work?

Any light on this would be appreciated. Larry.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 2 years later...

I know this thread has been dead along time, but... I just came across a violin by Alfred Lanini in the Smithsonian, and I was so impressed, it sent me searching for information on this maker.

The Lanini is shown in a temporary exhibit on Latinos in popular U.S. music in the Smithsonian's Ripley Center ("American Sabor," closing October 9, 2011). That's 3 floors under the Castle. Glimpsing the display case across the room I thought I would be looking at a shiny mariachi fiddle, but the closer I got, the nicer it looked. (A young guard with a flashlight ap on his cell phone helped me to read the label.) The violin belonged to the father of guitarist Carlo Santana and is dated 1955. Carlos apparently learned violin before guitar, and performed on violin w/ his father. Since Lanini died in 1956, this would have to be nearly the last instrument he made. It shows all his Milan training plus 40 years of experience. Well worth looking up if you're on the Mall in the next couple weeks.

Also, I see that the early link in this thread to soundpostonline.com is dead as well. Does anyone know what happened to all the excellent articles that were collected there?


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We are in the process of setting up cleaned up versions of all of the Soundpostonline [one of my partners' old magazine] articles on the http://darntonhersh.com website. There's nothing up yet--my wife is having to do a lot of converting to get them ready. Meanwhile. . . . http://web.archive.org/web/20080705125236/http://soundpostonline.com/archive/winter2005/page4.htm

Anything about Lanini, my partners are the experts on that topic, and one of them is intending to write a book covering it at some point. We already have photos of quite a few examples from all periods.

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