Serious question about Del Gesu


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I'm probably going to be beaten up by this, but seriously, why this praise of Del Gesu violins. I mean hand on hart they are horrible. If a contemporary maker would do such lousy work today, without copying a DG, his/her work would be graded as failed.

 

One example among other DG:s

http://sparebankstiftelsen.no/en/Dextra-Musica/Instruments/Guarneri-del-Gesu-Guiseppe-Violin

 

If we would talk about sound and how they perform I can understand, but copy "sloppy" work?  :huh:

Or am I not artist enough 

 

 

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Peter ,

I'm not interested in copying violins but,

I' m not sure we are talking about the same " del Gesù " .

It might not have your preference, but you have to see and hear some fiddles from him, not meaning you will change your mind, but then you could talk. By the way, " del Gesù" has also made faultless work, in the beginning of his working life...

I want to say, it is nice to work neatly, but some faultless work is sometimes so boring and uninteresting, cause the maker has focused too much on the neatness, and the overall looks crappy...

If one proceeds this way, one's missing the point.

This is my analysis of that question.

Cheers, Dave.

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Hailth failed, but also,it seems like many problems occurred in his life, and another part of his character might have been revealed by his situation, but I wouldn't say poor workmanship. Some stages have been done loosely in the rush of the moment, but others are really fine, and I find the whole character of those instruments very interesting...

I think he needed to make money quickly.

Friendly, Dave.

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I think that when one copies, one should copy all aspects. Otherwise, it's only a violin inspired by a particular DG.

 

I suppose the late DGs won't even make it past the preliminary round of any international violin-making competition.  But these days with machines and power tools, it is much easier to make violins that look "well-crafted".  So the modern standard should be much higher.

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I guess I'm not a detail person; good thing, because my eyes aren't what they once were; but I look at the whole and see how that works.  Looking at a whole Van Gogh, or Monet, and you get an entirely different feel that if you look at it up close.  He was making instruments, and was interested in getting the sound that he wanted.   I really like the beech back on that instrument.  Look at that arching!  It has held up amazingly.  The belly has sunken down some, but who knows; maybe it was re-graduated.  The scrolls weren't done by him, were they?  They were just a necessity.  As for the purling: I like to think that he was like me, couldn't see as clearly, and he did his best to get it glued in the channel, and not hack it all away when he put the re-curve in.  

The f holes generally look more masculine, and agressive.  They look cool.  I like the flow, and charm of Amati f holes too.  And Guadagnini's with the cool oval holes.  And wicked da Salo slashes.  Grannie and Gagliano made some perfect f holes too.  The key is that they fit to the rest of the package.  Go for qwerky, make it qwerky.  Elegant, make it elegant.  But don't make it look like a plastic cmc replica of perfection.  

That does nothing for me.

Ken

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The violin in that link is a thing of great beautify.  Not many Strads have the sensual appeal of it and powerful impression.  I have wondered if the more casual approach all added together over the different steps aren't what actually contributes to the sound that half of the top soloists prefer.  To use a metaphor, I guess some people like the kind of woman who dresses up all prim and proper with their hair pulled back in an expensive outfit and others prefer the kind with tussled hair, little makeup and just woke up from camping on the beach look. 

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I agree that monetary realities and all that comes with that probably attributed some to the 0FG attitude about things and also contributed to his early demise. The 1730's were not good times for him, others may have been selling instruments, but he was having a hard time, I think the later period in his life he only did violins part time as he worked as an inn keeper.

 

To me, I think its great to be able to create sterile machine like perfection with hand tools by 1. being skilled enough, and 2. taking enough time to do it. But really, to me personally, it kind takes away from the individualism of each instrument. Personally I embrace the funk.

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Peter,

 

The fascinating thing about del Gesu is however rough elements of his work may well be - and at times they are rough - my very limited experiences of them are that everything that needs to be perfectly done is done with the same competence as Stradivari and everyone else. He knew always what he had to do to make a violin that was strong, compelling, and structurally operative. He applied his personality only to the places where in effect - it didn't matter. Plenty of people have made "finer" looking violins that are fundamentally and structurally flawed.

 

Just saying!

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Peter,

 

The fascinating thing about del Gesu is however rough elements of his work may well be - and at times they are rough - my very limited experiences of them are that everything that needs to be perfectly done is done with the same competence as Stradivari and everyone else. He knew always what he had to do to make a violin that was strong, compelling, and structurally operative. He applied his personality only to the places where in effect - it didn't matter. Plenty of people have made "finer" looking violins that are fundamentally and structurally flawed.

 

Just saying!

This is the main point that is lost when only seeing the pictures, or getting an occasional quick glance at one.  He did the things that were necessary as well as anyone.  (This is not my conclusion from sufficient experience, but one of a very trustworthy expert who has been VERY observant of many Guarneri dG, in person.)

 

And in concept of outline and overall look, they are strikingly lovely.  Though I can't take the scroll of the "Cannone."  Maybe it looks better in person.   :)   

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I'm probably going to be beaten up by this, but seriously, why this praise of Del Gesu violins.

Peter, your take on this has had some distinguished company in years gone by. Guarneris really started to hit the big time when Paganini got involved, but even after that, the Hills said some dismissive things about the work.

Ben, am I in the ball park on that?

 

Anyway, there's good precedent for both really clean work, and rougher work, so pick a style which seems to work for you.

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Peter,

 

The fascinating thing about del Gesu is however rough elements of his work may well be - and at times they are rough - my very limited experiences of them are that everything that needs to be perfectly done is done with the same competence as Stradivari and everyone else. He knew always what he had to do to make a violin that was strong, compelling, and structurally operative. He applied his personality only to the places where in effect - it didn't matter. Plenty of people have made "finer" looking violins that are fundamentally and structurally flawed.

 

Just saying!

 

 

This is the main point that is lost when only seeing the pictures, or getting an occasional quick glance at one.  He did the things that were necessary as well as anyone.  (This is not my conclusion from sufficient experience, but one of a very trustworthy expert who has been VERY observant of many Guarneri dG, in person.)

 

And in concept of outline and overall look, they are strikingly lovely.  Though I can't take the scroll of the "Cannone."  Maybe it looks better in person.   :)   

 

 

Peter, your take on this has had some distinguished company in years gone by. Guarneris really started to hit the big time when Paganini got involved, but even after that, the Hills said some dismissive things about the work.

Ben, am I in the ball park on that?

 

Anyway, there's good precedent for both really clean work, and rougher work, so pick a style which seems to work for you.

 

I'm going to a concerto tomorrow where this particular DG, is played (link in OP). For most of us images and recordings are the base reference for what we see. The impression I can't get over is - Why can't we see it how it is - It is the sound.

 

I do understand that things can be seen in a different light in person, but it is hard to get over these kind of things and praise it for it's artistic look

 

post-37356-0-50153000-1420827081_thumb.png

 

Do we still feel sorry for him because of the problems he had. He is dead, so we can be objective without hurting his feelings, right?

 

Aren't all Cremonese constructurally great?

 

So, for the moment only thing left for me is The Sound, which from recordings is absolutely stunning

 

I didn't get that much beating :)

 

 

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Peter, your take on this has had some distinguished company in years gone by. Guarneris really started to hit the big time when Paganini got involved, but even after that, the Hills said some dismissive things about the work.

Ben, am I in the ball park on that?

 

Anyway, there's good precedent for both really clean work, and rougher work, so pick a style which seems to work for you.

 

There seem to be a few late Cremonese violins that are explicitely inspired by del Gesu - I can think of a 1784 Storioni in Gindin's book in particular, but the influence is sporadic, and I think it's arguable that they were simply copying what was around them without focussing on a "cult" of del Gesu as appeared later.

 

You'll think I'm daft as a duck, but I think the first maker to build a reputation as a copyist of del Gesu - and specifically as a copyist of Paganini's fabled violin was George Craske in Birmingham (of all places) as a response to meeting and fixing his violin in 1832. Jack Lott comes on the scene a decade earlier, and although it's difficult to figure out dates for Vuillaume, but it is unlikely that he started copying Paganini's violin before 1836 when he returned to Paris... so the English win again. Rocca, the Austro-Hungarian makers all seem to post-date 1840, although I would love to be corrected on this if I am off beam.

 

Although Paganini died in 1840, I do think that the vast majoirty of the 19th-century obsession was for having a "Paganini-like-violin" as distinct from having a del Gesu.

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The general consensus seems to be that Del Gesu is given a pass.  I've noticed the same when it comes to Strad, for asymmetry, etc.  These reflect my own sentiments as well, but what I cannot understand, is why they are not applied to modern makers.  In the case of modern makers, we hear "amateurish", "unconventional", "folk", etc., but never tolerance or forgiveness, let alone praise.

I know the argument here will be SOUND, but as we know, sound is too objective to be the difference; besides, such judgements are typically made immediately upon sight, and without benefit of playability or sound comparison. 

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Aren't all Cremonese constructurally great?

 

Interestingly, on one dG I looked into through the F-s, in the presence of the expert mentioned above.  I commented that the linings that could be seen were absolutely beautifully professional.  The expert said, "What makes you think they are original?"  Spoken with a wry grin.  I took that to mean that dG's original linings might not have been up to the highest standards.  But this is anecdotal, and isn't intended to answer your question.

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