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Old Documentary About Violin Making


romberg flat

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11 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

Calming to watch.  Reminds me of the kind of thing they would show to fill in gaps in TV programming sometimes back in the day.

This might be one of his violins, for a little over $800? 

http://www.njuskalo.hr/gudacki-instrumenti/violina-ivan-hus-oglas-2887570

 

Yes, most likely that is a violin by Ivan Hus, but it seems that you are mistaken about a price – it is much higher, around 2.930 $. That was asking price, but as this site is only for announcements, can’t be known if the violin was sold and for what price.

I’m glad you like a video and here is another violin by him, presented with a bit better photos: https://reverb.com/uk/item/3303243-ivan-hus-zagreb-violin-circa-1940

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On 5/13/2017 at 2:35 AM, scordatura said:

Pretty cool. The tuning fork was almost a a half tone sharp. Hearing the Tchaikovsky transposed up a half step was odd. The projector was running fast on the digital transfer. Enjoyed it though.

Plates first. Rib garland after. Interesting.

Interesting opinion about the sound. We have to consider that it was recorded with an ancient technology so the sound could be deceiving and also transferring from one media to other could distort the original.

I was told by Director, Mr. Bogdan Žižić that the movie was shot with an old-time Russian camera without zoom lenses and considering all those close-ups, the cameraman did a great job. Don’t know what is the music played on the end, but I was told that was Sarasate. 

 

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On ‎12‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 0:59 PM, romberg flat said:

 

Hope you will enjoy watching, no less than I did.

Yes I did, thanks romberg. I found his glueing and rib bending techniqes interesting. And small details, like how he puts his coat on after entering the workshop, couldn't afford heating?

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4 hours ago, sospiri said:

Yes I did, thanks romberg. I found his glueing and rib bending techniqes interesting. And small details, like how he puts his coat on after entering the workshop, couldn't afford heating?

You’re right, this documentary is rich with beautiful small significant personal details. For me, priceless is the way when camera had caught a barely-visible satisfied grin on Master's face when he looks at the just finished violin in white (could be seen around 7:30 min.).

The coat you mentioned is a kind of working clothes common at that time. Documentary was shot during warm days, it is visible that Ivan Hus on the beginning wears a short-sleeves shirt.

He surely wasn’t a wealthy man, but could afford heating. Besides making new instruments he had a lot of work on restoring and repairing old ones. At that time in Zagreb, there were four orchestras, several chamber ensembles and numerous musicians, students and pupils who occasionally needed his services. He was one of three makers (other two were Franjo Šnajder and Rudolf Sloković), and because of his special personality he was very popular, so many instruments went through his hands.

 

There are not available a lot of old documentaries about violin making. I came across only on four. The one about James Reynold Carlisle (with the young Rembert Wurlitzer in supporting role), from 1920 I found also outstanding.

Other three could be watched on YT. Titles are:

Violin Making in Nice (1960-1962)

Violin Maker (No Sound)

Hospital For Violins 1948

 

The big difference between “Praise To The Hand” and all those documentaries is IMHO in the way how it is made – with all that brilliant personalized details - which bring it much closer to our (romantic) perception of the Old Masters craftsmanship.  

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On Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 5:25 AM, romberg flat said:

Interesting opinion about the sound. We have to consider that it was recorded with an ancient technology so the sound could be deceiving and also transferring from one media to other could distort the original.

I was told by Director, Mr. Bogdan Žižić that the movie was shot with an old-time Russian camera without zoom lenses and considering all those close-ups, the cameraman did a great job. Don’t know what is the music played on the end, but he told me that was Sarasate. 

Ivan Hus learned a craft in Markneukirchen so about his building method would be interesting to know opinion by our top experts, Jacob S. and Blank face. 

The original was most likely film, at 24 frames/second. Often when transferred to NTSC standard with a telecine projector, the film would be sped up slightly to 30 frames/second to eliminate flicker. This would also bump the audio track up in pitch.

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These are always interesting and enjoyable.  Thanks for posting it.

One thing it shows is that film makers can't resist trying to make something more out of the very mundane.  It took over thirty precious "cinematic seconds" to wander in from the street and clomp through the echoey halls.  Then there were the pigeon aficionados—not one of which had the bucks to buy a Hus, or even a harmonica—who were glad, at least, that pigeons are not required for the manufacture of stringed instruments or their accessories.  "Whew, dodged another bullet, Mortimer!  Why, just the other day I mistakenly wandered into the mattress factory and had a hell of a time getting out."

What I admire about the guy is that while his approach seems disorganized he does produce an instrument which doesn't look sterile.  I am coming to the conclusion that making an interesting and charming violin may come more from working approaches than from being perfectly organized and efficient.  If I see another "award winning violin" I think I'll gag.  To quote Mel Gibson, who was supposedly quoting Wallace:  "FREEEEEDOMMMM."

 

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12 minutes ago, Will L said:

What I admire about the guy is that while his approach seems disorganized he does produce an instrument which doesn't look sterile.  I am coming to the conclusion that making an interesting and charming violin may come more from working approaches than from being perfectly organized and efficient.  If I see another "award winning violin" I think I'll gag.  To quote Mel Gibson, who was supposedly quoting Wallace:  "FREEEEEDOMMMM."

Sterile is an interesting term that pops up a lot in these discussions. I think I know what is meant by the term but maybe this should be discussed in a separate thread.

 

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12 minutes ago, lpr5184 said:

Sterile is an interesting term that pops up a lot in these discussions. I think I know what is meant by the term but maybe this should be discussed in a separate thread.

 

I believe we surely must have discussed this before. I personally think it is a worthwhile endeavor to figure out why one violin looks beautiful but cold—and we get bored quickly looking at it—while another looks beautiful and we can't take our eyes off it.  And it seems to have little to do with perfection vs. sloppiness.  But I assume there are many factors;  and then there are personal preferences and concepts which make this just one more topic that will never be fully agreed to by all.   

 

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3 minutes ago, Will L said:

I believe we surely must have discussed this before. I personally think it is a worthwhile endeavor to figure out why one violin looks beautiful but cold—and we get bored quickly looking at it—while another looks beautiful and we can't take our eyes off it.  And it seems to have little to do with perfection vs. sloppiness.  But I assume there are many factors;  and then there are personal preferences and concepts which make this just one more topic that will never be fully agreed to by all.   

 

So for you personally what is the divider?

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5 hours ago, Will L said:

What I admire about the guy is that while his approach seems disorganized he does produce an instrument which doesn't look sterile.

It's funny Will, I think I see 2 different instruments in the film! The white one has especially unsterile f's placed really low, and the varnished one has cleaner,  more normal situated f's.

As you say the film makers can edit things to suit their fancy. I can't help wonder, did the guy really purfle the plates before he made the garland? Are those wormholes in his plane?

 

violin_maker.png

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On 5/15/2017 at 11:59 PM, Will L said:

These are always interesting and enjoyable.  Thanks for posting it.

One thing it shows is that film makers can't resist trying to make something more out of the very mundane.  It took over thirty precious "cinematic seconds" to wander in from the street and clomp through the echoey halls.  Then there were the pigeon aficionados—not one of which had the bucks to buy a Hus, or even a harmonica—who were glad, at least, that pigeons are not required for the manufacture of stringed instruments or their accessories.  "Whew, dodged another bullet, Mortimer!  Why, just the other day I mistakenly wandered into the mattress factory and had a hell of a time getting out."

What I admire about the guy is that while his approach seems disorganized he does produce an instrument which doesn't look sterile.  I am coming to the conclusion that making an interesting and charming violin may come more from working approaches than from being perfectly organized and efficient.  If I see another "award winning violin" I think I'll gag.  To quote Mel Gibson, who was supposedly quoting Wallace:  "FREEEEEDOMMMM."

 

:rolleyes:

While studying a craft at musical instruments factory in Markneukirchen, the factory owner liked him thanks to his talent and hard work, and wanted to marry him with his daughter. He chose FREEEEEDOMMMM…:lol:

And this is only one piquant detail from his long and turbulent life in which he was decorated WWI soldier, street musician, fugitive from French Foreign Legion, illegal passenger on the ship, sailor, merchant (drugs included) on Orient and finally pigeon (and women) lover and violin maker… in one word - Ivan Hus.  

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4 hours ago, romberg flat said:

:rolleyes:

While studying a craft at musical instruments factory in Markneukirchen, the factory owner liked him thanks to his talent and hard work, and wanted to marry him with his daughter. He chose FREEEEEDOMMMM…:lol:

 

And once, while on a wood-buying trip to Germany, I encountered a wood dealer who appeared to be going far out of his way to have me spend time around his daughter. She was plenty attractive and all, and she wound up marrying another violin maker (they are now divorced). It just didn't feel right at the time. Not that I can claim anything close to a stellar track record with marriage.

I really admire people who get married, and stay married, until death parts them.

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I posted this video on Youtube today.  It serves as a tribute to violin maker Mario Frosali, best friend of Sacconi and the person my violin making lineage comes through.   I got the VHS from Mario's son Mario, Jr. shortly before he passed away.   It won a 2nd place at the Canadian Film Festival and a 3rd at Cannes!

Here is a bit of Frosali trivia I received from Joseph Gold, famous concert violinist:

"Mr. Frosali had already been in America for a long time when he met Sacconi.  They met in 1937 when the two were stand partners in an orchestra.  Each admired the violin that the other was playing.  Sacconi was employed by Emil Hermann at the time.  He told Frosali that Mr. Hermann was going to attend the famous Stradivarius exhibition of 1937.   Hermann needed another man in his shop to be both repair man and also to take care of the counter.  Frosali was duly hired and styed with Hermann until he was hired by Wurlitzer to go to the west coast.  This was in 1940.  He lived in Los Angeles until his death in 1981.

Sacconi and Frosali remained close friends until the death of Sacconi.  In fact they exchanged interesting anniversary presents.  For Sacconi's anniversary, Frosali sent his friend a solid silver sound post setter.  For Frosali's 50th anniversary, Sacconi sent his friend a solid gold sound post setter engraved specially in honor of the event!  Prior to his employ at Hermann's shop, Frosali was an occasional violin maker.   He made his living as an important violin teacher in New York, and a professional violinist.  He played in the Richmond Symphony and sat 2nd chair to Anton Witek.  In addition, Frosali conducted orchestras in hotels.  One was the Biltmore Hotel in New York.  After he retired from Brown's Violin Shop (the successor to Wurlitzer), this as circa 1960,  he maintained his own shop in the back of his house on Ridgeley Drive.  There he remained active until the very end of his life, repairing and making instruments."

Enjoy and thanks for the thread.   J. Brown

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Thank you all for contributing. As a bonus to this short walk through film archives, I’m adding one more documentary – short film from 1962 about professor of music and violin maker Ember (Deziderius, Dezsö) Dezider (1888-?) from Sombor, Vojvodina (now a part of The Republic of Serbia).

Regardless of time flow and the different fates and personalities in distant parts of the world, skilled handwork knows no bounds, so praise to the hand. :)

 

 

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