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Slips through the cracks...


pahdah_hound

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It's possible there was quite a long line of provenance attributing it to Nemessanyi. Nemessanyi was well respected in his own day in Budapest, to the extent that any Hungarian violinist would be proud to own one.

You may be right. An early fiddle of mine was labelled Dezso Barany 1896 and a Hungarian teacher of mine seemed fondly attracted to it.

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It's possible there was quite a long line of provenance attributing it to Nemessanyi. Nemessanyi was well respected in his own day in Budapest, to the extent that any Hungarian violinist would be proud to own one.

 

 

You may be right. An early fiddle of mine was labelled Dezso Barany 1896 and a Hungarian teacher of mine seemed fondly attracted to it.

 

As a Hungarian myself, I'm  going to poke a bit of fun at you guys.  Let's suppose I have an old fiddle which I assume is Hungarian and love it accordingly.  We're very tribal, you know.  Now, there might be a possibility that this fiddle is an old Cremona worth 10 times or more as a Cremona.  Do I explore that possibility and destroy its Hungarian-ness?  In a heartbeat.  No hesitation.  Hungarians can be pretty sentimental.  "Hungarians celebrate by crying," the phrase goes.  But when it comes to shrewd business, nobody beats a Hungarian.

 

Thanks for letting me have some fun.

 

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...If this was Aitay's primary instrument...

 

A quick search on the Google yields the following information:

 

Apparently this was not his primary instrument.  According to a death notice on "The Strad" website, dated July 25, 2012,  Aitay "played the 1715 ‘Baron von der Leyen’ Stradivari, owned by the CSO, during his tenure as concertmaster, and also owned a Guadagnini and a Vuillaume."

 

According to his obituary published in the Chicago Tribune, July 24, 2012, "Aitay was among the tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews who survived the Holocaust because of the heroic efforts of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg."  After the war, "The violinist soon found that making a decent living as a chamber music player in war-ravaged Hungary was impossible for a man with a wife and child to feed. So the Aitays packed up their few belongings and came to America. Their sole possessions were the clothes on their backs and his childhood violin, which his mother had kept safe for him in the basement of their home in Budapest."  Perhaps this was the violin we are discussing here.

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A quick search on the Google yields the following information:

 

Apparently this was not his primary instrument.  According to a death notice on "The Strad" website, dated July 25, 2012,  Aitay "played the 1715 ‘Baron von der Leyen’ Stradivari, owned by the CSO, during his tenure as concertmaster, and also owned a Guadagnini and a Vuillaume."

 

According to his obituary published in the Chicago Tribune, July 24, 2012, "Aitay was among the tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews who survived the Holocaust because of the heroic efforts of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg."  After the war, "The violinist soon found that making a decent living as a chamber music player in war-ravaged Hungary was impossible for a man with a wife and child to feed. So the Aitays packed up their few belongings and came to America. Their sole possessions were the clothes on their backs and his childhood violin, which his mother had kept safe for him in the basement of their home in Budapest."  Perhaps this was the violin we are discussing here.

 

Thanks, Brad, for that additional information.

 

Yes, it looks like this fiddle wasn't his primary fiddle, and thus one cannot make any assumptions about its use in public or its maintenance in Chicago.

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A quick search on the Google yields the following information:

The Aitays sole possessions were the clothes on their backs and his childhood violin, which his mother had kept safe for him in the basement of their home in Budapest."  Perhaps this was the violin we are discussing here.

All the same a pretty decent fiddle for a kid to have under his bed...............

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All the same a pretty decent fiddle for a kid to have under his bed...............

Of course, this sounds to me more like a romantic story and not in any relation to the Skinner fiddle (beside that it could have been a fractional).

 

What we know by now is only what Carl Stross called "gossip" (and we have a saying: If he's right, he's right B) ), and that's what makes me wonder all the time.

 

Ain't it definitely a sensation in the violin world, when a former unknown instrument by DelGesu is recovered, and shouldn't be newspapers and magazines like The Strad full of stories about it?

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Ain't it definitely a sensation in the violin world, when a former unknown instrument by Del Gesu is recovered, and shouldn't be newspapers and magazines like The Strad full of stories about it?

Still I wonder if it's up there with the recent auction of Don McLean's "American Pie" manuscript in the eyes of many?

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Martin,

How do you know it's heavenly sounding? Maybe it isn't. After all, at the auction preview people must have played it. Yet nobody was willing to pay more than 14k. Aren't there lemons, even from the greatest makers? Your own chart on your website, detailing your own evaluations of the many instruments you've played would seem to confirm this as well as anything I can think of.

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What would have been interesting in this particular situation would have been if there had been two or more bidders to get the price up.  When the bidding "goes crazy" on a possible sleeper,  it's one of the truly fun things to see at an auction.  The whispering and looking around and the rolling of eyes, and the people getting out of their chairs to go up to the assistant with the bow tie and apron holding the violin are worth the price of getting there.  $14,000 wasn't enough to even tell if the buyer was convinced or not.

 

It makes one wonder what the winning bidder would have been willing to go.

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I would say so - the c-bouts, corner wear and positioning of the f-holes look the same.

So he obviously wasn't ashamed to have that portrait taken with his "Hungarian" fiddle.

1954 was the year Fritz Reiner hired him as assistant concertmaster, his having been concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for some time previously.

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-24/entertainment/ct-ent-0725-victor-aitay-obit-20120725_1_cso-concertmaster-victor-aitay-samuel-magad

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It's not finallly to decide by this photos

post-57937-0-02601400-1429353422_thumb.jpgpost-57937-0-75938000-1429353433_thumb.jpg

 

Some features look similar (C-bouts, wear), but ffs and waist look a bit different IMO, but this could be caused by the angle.

 

After all it still is pure speculation, and we don't know actually when and by whom the violin was attributed to Nemessanyi, nor what Ailtay himself thought about it.

Still curious for some first-hand informations.

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Not much point in debating it but look at the scratching under the tailpiece in both.

 

Circumstantial evidence would suggest there's every chance........

- same model fiddle

- we know he has one that looks like that

- the fiddle may have picked up a few more dents in the subsequent 50 years.

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  • 6 months later...

Last I heard, it was for sale at Darnton Hersh in Chicago as an authentic Del Gesu (with a replacement scroll I think) and a certificate from Charles Beare. Hersh mentioned to a mutual acquaintance that he had bought it (alone) in the belief that it was a Del Gesu, and was (unsurprisingly) very excited at the fact that it had been authenticated. I don't think anyone has been trying to keep anything secret ...

 

Another acquaintance road-tested it at the shop in Chicago but didn't like it - to be fair, he has been looking for a violin for several years and doesn't like anything! He had the loan of an Amati while at conservatoire, which is something of a curse ...

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