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Sleeping Beauty Cello


Joseph Liu
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Hi everyone,

A friend of mine told me that her friend's family recently bought the Sleeping Beauty Montagnana. How do I know if they bought the real deal without looking at the instrument? I am not planning on asking my friend to ask her friend the transaction/financial details. The only thing I know is that they could afford it.

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Since I am not a personal friend of this family, I probably won't be seeing the pictures or the cello in person anytime soon. But, hearing from Tets that the cello was recently sold gave me a pretty good sense that this family bought it. Maybe I could ask to see it when I visit Taiwan next time.

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It's not going to be long until we can say the majority of Italian Antiques are owned by Asians , I have heard Taiwan already has a sizeable collection

Adam,

This is a comment I hear a lot. Not particularly that the great instruments come to rest in collections, but that once in those collections they disappear. It is more difficult for makers to see these instruments than it is for players to enjoy them. Let's face it...it takes significant wealth to own even one great instrument. No suprise that people want to protect their investment. However it concerns me that so few of the people I work with have a good sense of what a good Cremonese [or other classic] instrument actually looks like....let alone have the chance to study them in any serious way.

A suggestion: Good instruments are accessible when they are for sale. Develop a good relationship with a shop near you. [A bit of pro bono work will go a long way to sealing this relationship.] Let them know that you would like to know what passes through the shop. When you get the chance, take your time....likely you will not see this instrument again.

on we go,

Joe

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When you get the chance, take your time....likely you will not see this instrument again.

on we go,

Joe

The 'Sleeping Beauty' was the first Montagnana I had ever seen. It was 1972 in Philadelphia, that's right, 40 years ago!!! The second time I saw it was 1997, 25 years later, at the Montagnana exhibition in Lendinara!!! It made a lasting impression on me and I was happy to have been able to photograph it on that first occasion. Orlando Cole was a real gentleman. Lousy photographs. :(

Bruce

Adam, here's the other side of the head that is not in the book.

post-29446-0-39237500-1351763526_thumb.jpg post-29446-0-99381900-1351763559_thumb.jpg post-29446-0-26496800-1351763576_thumb.jpg post-29446-0-59762700-1351763627_thumb.jpg

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The 'Sleeping Beauty' was the first Montagnana I had ever seen. It was 1972 in Philadelphia, that's right, 40 years ago!!! The second time I saw it was 1997, 25 years later, at the Montagnana exhibition in Lendinara!!! It made a lasting impression on me and I was happy to have been able to photograph it on that first occasion. Orlando Cole was a real gentleman. Lousy photographs. :(

Bruce

Adam, here's the other side of the head that is not in the book.

post-29446-0-39237500-1351763526_thumb.jpg post-29446-0-99381900-1351763559_thumb.jpg post-29446-0-26496800-1351763576_thumb.jpg post-29446-0-59762700-1351763627_thumb.jpg

There are great color photos of the Sleeping Beauty in Domenico Montagnana, Lauter in Venetia, 1998, from the 1997 exhibition in Lendinara.

Bruce,

I've always enjoyed black and white photos of fiddles -- whether yours, above, or Hamma's -- in representing the texture of the instrument's surfaces perhaps more accurately than color photos do.

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Bruce,

How do the '97 photographs compare to your memory of the color?

Joe

Hi Joe,

When we shot the photographs for the 1997 catalogue the idea was to have a more saturated color transparency to work with, but in the end they were probably not lightened up enough before they went to the printer. If your initial color transparencies are washed out, you risk losing detail and it is almost impossible to correct the colors by darkening.

I remember the cello as being somewhat lighter in color to the printed pages of the catalogue but herein lies the real problem. Change your lighting conditions and the colors change accordingly. Where the varnish was thickest you got close to brownish red-orange and where worn more of a rich golden yellow-orange and where thin to golden yellow. It differs from the Goffrillers I have seen in that the ground is not as reddish or pinkish on the wood.

Bruce

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How does the Sleeping Beaut handle for players ?

Orlando Cole played it for a lifetime and others who play Montagnana have made his instruments a household word. There was an article on Orlando Cole in 'the Strad' when he died in 2010.

I've heard it played by his son David Cole who is also a fine cellist and his only complaint is some wolf notes but most instruments have some to a greater or lesser extent. Montagnanas are or have been played by Emmanuel Feuermann, Frans Helmerson, Martin Lovett, Stephen Isserlis, Gabor Reito, Peter Reito, Mischa Maisky, Yo Yo Ma, Stephen Kates, Ralph Kirschbaum, Alfredo Piatti, Samuel Mayes, Aldo Parisot, Gregor Piatigorsky, Nathaniel Rosen, Boris Pergamenschikov, Maurice Eisenberg, Evan Drachman, Lynn Harrel, Alfred Wallenstein etc.

The form is cumbersome and bowing clearance can be a problem but they're worth learning to cope with. Feuermann, on the other hand, gave up his Montagnana for a 'forma B piccola' Stradivari cello c.1730.

Bruce

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Hi Joe,

I remember the cello as being somewhat lighter in color to the printed pages of the catalogue but herein lies the real problem. Change your lighting conditions and the colors change accordingly. Where the varnish was thickest you got close to brownish red-orange and where worn more of a rich golden yellow-orange and where thin to golden yellow. It differs from the Goffrillers I have seen in that the ground is not as reddish or pinkish on the wood.

Bruce

Bruce,

Thanks...Always good to have a reality check when you look at photographs.

I had Yoyo Ma's Montagnana in my hands for an hour or so several years ago [i can play it back in my mind like a slide show]...none of the red brown you see in the Sleeping Beauty, but all the browns and golds...with a distinct greenish cast to the ground....powerful ground. I had the good fortune to see 3 Gofrillers cellos all together one day last year...incredible varnish...humbling....the ground on each had a purple/gray cast to it in good light....

Joe

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Bruce,

Thanks...Always good to have a reality check when you look at photographs.

I had Yoyo Ma's Montagnana in my hands for an hour or so several years ago [i can play it back in my mind like a slide show]...none of the red brown you see in the Sleeping Beauty, but all the browns and golds...with a distinct greenish cast to the ground....powerful ground. I had the good fortune to see 3 Gofrillers cellos all together one day last year...incredible varnish...humbling....the ground on each had a purple/gray cast to it in good light....

Joe

Art literature often mentioned a 'toned ground' meaning a ground coat with a particular 'neutral' color that enhances the colors to follow. Umber is often cited, but I wonder what principles one should consider when thinking about using a 'toned' ground?

Oded

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Art literature often mentioned a 'toned ground' meaning a ground coat with a particular 'neutral' color that enhances the colors to follow. Umber is often cited, but I wonder what principles one should consider when thinking about using a 'toned' ground?

Oded

Oded,

I take the look and see method. The wood....toned or not.... will only accept a certain small range of colors....the rest will look immediately bad. We really don't get to dictate the color unless we use an opaque coating. Let the wood lead. Put a little varnish on the sample...and look and see. I am not being facetious. It sounds too simple, but it works.

Joe

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I hope Disney's Sleeping Beauty was not one of the ex owners of the cello.

Let's give credit to Charles Perrault for having recorded the fairy tale in a book from a folk tales that had been passed on by word of mouth. The brothers Grimm did a similar work for tales that they collected in Germany and elsewhere. The real origin of many of these stories concealed by time.

Disney didn't invent anything but his animated cartoons are classics.

Bruce

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