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jacobsaunders

Martin Mathias Fichtl Vienna, Large Cello

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11 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

including watching a lot of football at the moment.

Is that still going on? Does this mean my Brit coworkers aren't really sick?

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17 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

You needen’t worry. I have plenty to do, including watching a lot of football at the moment.

Difficult to know who you support now that Germany have been knocked out ?

England ?

Switzerland ?

By the way,I bumped into a Nottingham forest supporter last week and he told me there on the way up at last.

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

The Viennese Archive sent me the probate record, which I could (try to) post here should there be interest-

Sorry, I forgot again! here is the scroll:

Foto 2.JPG

Foto 3.JPG

Foto 4.JPG

Foto 5.JPG

Thank you very much! Indeed this scroll matches the impressive style of the bodywork, the toolmarks underline it. Just wondering, if the last were an evidence for a rather cheap and fast workshop produced instrument (in opposite to "fine" and more expensive) indicating that bass orchestra players weren't that well paid during the period like violin soloists. Not much different from today.B)

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12 hours ago, Delabo said:

Difficult to know who you support now that Germany have been knocked out ?

England ?

Switzerland ?

By the way,I bumped into a Nottingham forest supporter last week and he told me there on the way up at last.

 

 

 

A astonishing (american?) misconception is the asumption that Vienna and Austria as a whole is part of Germany. This might be rather offending for a real Austrian, especially in football affairs, we discussed it at some point before.

For oversea watchers the European football organization might be real confusing; especially that the UK doesn't play in one team, but is separated in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and possibly Shetland Islands as well. This can explain why none of this teams has won anything since 1966.

 

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2 hours ago, Blank face said:

A astonishing (american?) misconception is the asumption that Vienna and Austria as a whole is part of Germany. This might be rather offending for a real Austrian, especially in football affairs, we discussed it at some point before.

For oversea watchers the European football organization might be real confusing; especially that the UK doesn't play in one team, but is separated in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and possibly Shetland Islands as well. This can explain why none of this teams has won anything since 1966.

 

Actually, although a football post is off topic, it actually pertains to violins because it also involves country borders that have changed many times over the centuries.

Even in the UK it is possible to id a Scottish violin from English, or so I am led to believe.

As to border changes on the nearby continent of Europe -  the borders there are in continuing flux and quite beyond my abilities to comprehend. In the desire to id European violins,Jacob and yourself seem to have accidentally become experts on the evolving borders of Europe over the last few centuries.

As to which country a persons footballing allegiance belongs that can also be bewildering. My late Polish father-in-law seemed to support the England team rather than the nation of his birth. :)

 

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I don't think that borders are so important reg. styles of violin making; the Vogtland was since the beginning of the local violin making divided between Saxony (independed kingdom, than part of the German Empire) and Bohemia (Habsburg, Austrian K.u.K., Czechoslowakia) without any great impact on common stle. OTOH, it's true that Cremona like big parts of Northern Italy once belonged to the Austrian Empire.

 

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Fichtl_probate-1.thumb.jpg.289344cfa5598554a56de80f11f6f415.jpgFichtl_probate-2.thumb.jpg.67df6f995ac8517bee8bd27f3fafbc46.jpgFichtl_probate-3.thumb.jpg.7e6a7fa9212aa00048b2343cd4d1d1fc.jpgFichtl_probate-4.thumb.jpg.89ef2b4c8e426069ffa8c708987c1c57.jpg

Source: Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv (WStLA), Verlassenschaftsabhandlungen 525/143

 

These are the probate documents that are in the Viennese "Stadt- und Landesarchiv". I will leave them uncommented for the Moment, incase anybody would like to admire the handwriting, and could comment later.

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4 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

 in case anybody would like to admire the handwriting,

There is increasing evidence (alarming) that folks born in the last 15 years cannot read cursive writing.

So only 'old farts' will appreciate this document.

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Coming late to the party I can't help feeling more depressed by some of the musician's comments than the quandary of whether to inflict permanent vandalism to the instrument. The truth of the matter is that there are instruments out there that end up getting modernised one way or another because the historical market will not support the sale and use of them. This may at times be a factor of price - something that has only been inferred in this situation, but also about fashion. One musician who has commented on this post claims to have a bona-fide 17th century bass violin, but on what basis if he doesn't actually know who made it - the absence of evidence doesn't make it a truth, just an assumption - whereas this one seems damned because it was made a few years later than musicologists find evidence for. We've seen similar intellectual disconnects in the Deconet argument of old, where it is inconvenient to understand that person who doesn’t appear as a violin maker on paper could have made the many instruments he clearly did - likewise a leading maker in Vienna saw fit to make this instrument and musicians saw fit to buy them, without regard for whatever paper trail of scholarship we are privy to, so it is not good enough to ignore the instrument because it doesn't fit what the 20th century books say.

If this was without a label or Jacob's scholarship, it would likely as not be doing the rounds as anon 17th century too, without the slightest notion of any inconvenient truth, but more to the point, what purpose can it serve - is erroneously tuning a gut-string to Bb on an inappropriate instrument really equal a sin as cutting the thing down? To read this thread you would think so. 

There have been a couple of times when I have struggled to sell 1820s British instruments of a sort that have original features that are entirely in line with making from a century before hand and earlier - because of the prejudice of the date without the musicians stopping to consider what the instrument is in reality. If musicians can't have the imagination to work around the small inconsistencies that are found in every original instrument, then ultimately what choice do we have then to work on them until they are in a condition that can find a market.  That final sentence is not to support Jacob in the slightest. Of course, he can flip the instrument as-is into auction and make it someone else's problem, remaining blameless and ethically aloof when it eventually reemerges a fraction shorter. 

I would prefer to ask why this tradition perpetuated in Vienna, when it was largely gone from the rest of Europe some decades earlier. 

 

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On 7/4/2018 at 8:28 AM, jacobsaunders said:

Fichtl_probate-1.thumb.jpg.289344cfa5598554a56de80f11f6f415.jpgFichtl_probate-2.thumb.jpg.67df6f995ac8517bee8bd27f3fafbc46.jpgFichtl_probate-3.thumb.jpg.7e6a7fa9212aa00048b2343cd4d1d1fc.jpgFichtl_probate-4.thumb.jpg.89ef2b4c8e426069ffa8c708987c1c57.jpg

Source: Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv (WStLA), Verlassenschaftsabhandlungen 525/143

 

 

Here is what the probate document, posted in original above, says (mistakes possible), and below, what it (IMHO) means:

 

Sperr = Relation

Todten = Fall

Beym Fr.Fr. Misericordiae

Namen des Verstorbenen.Martin Mathias Fichtl

Condition: Geigen & Lautenmacher

Stand: Verheyrath; dessen Wittwe Nahmens Maria Anna, vorher Eheligte Kuppäschin

Wohnung in der gewesten Löwen Apotheke in Schlosser Gässl

Sterbetag 24= Juny dieses 767 ten Jahres

 

Nachgelassene Kinder

Groß-jährig

= =

Minderjährig, , und wo sich selbe befinden

Martin Conrad Fichtl in 17ten Jahr seines Alters, bey der Mutter

Testament.

Wo befindlich

= =

Nächste Anverwandte männlichen Geschlechts

Zu seinem Gerhaben wird vorgeschlagen Joseph Hellmer bürgerlicher Trexlermeister im Grossen Waaghaus

 

Vermögen

Gar keines vorhanden, vorwegen er in der Armen Bürgerin Laäds Verpflegung stünde, und zu eingangs gedachter Barmherzige eingebracht wurde.

 

 

Euer Gnaden Relationiren und mich empfehlen sollen

 

Euer Gnaden

 

Curat: Hochwohlgeboren Dr. Camesina

 

Gehor

 

Jacob Franz Cantes

Geschr. Rathes Diener

 

 

(Deckblatt/Front cover):

Stadt-Rath

Sperr-Relation

Martin Mathias Fichtl

Bürgerlicher Lautenmacher

Beym Fr.Fr. Misericordiae

Seeligen Todenfall

Betr. ad Reg E gegeben

 

Den in Waisensachen verordneten Hochl. Räthen zu bedenk. und referirt der Notdurft in

zuzustellen.

17ten Aug.1767

Über die von der Witwe Maria Anna dem Gerhaben Joseph Hellmer und dem Curat Herrn Dr. Camesina in der Waysen Comihsion

Vernohmen und ad Plenum münd(lich) referirten Notdurften der Pupillen Raitkammer

 

 

Zuzustellen und will ein Stadt Rat diesen Todenfall in dem Amtsprotokoll abgetun  Annordnet haben

 

31. Aug.1767

Kanjowiz

 

The meaning:

Martin Mathias Fichtl, Citizen and Lute-maker, died in the custody of the Misericordiae, leaving a widdow, Maria Anna, nee Kuppaschin on the 24 June 1767, The residence was in the Schlossergasse in the former Löwen apothecary. Schlossergasse was a small alley between St. Stephans and St. Michael.

https://www.wien.gv.at/wiki/index.php/Schlossergasse_(1)

He left no adult children, but one minor, a son, Conrad, aged 17 years, living by the mother.

 

There was no testament

 

A curator, the wood turner Joseph Hellmer was appointed

(Note;My expierience of 18th C. Probate documents, is that a curator was always appointed, should there be minor orphans. That Hellmer is also a prominent violin making name might (or might not) be a coincidence, since Hellmer is by no means a rare surname here)

 

Fichtl left no assets, and was the recipient of (baroque) social security.

 

The probate circumstances has been brought to the attention of the „Pupillen Raitkammer“ (Pupillen= orphans, Raitkammer= committee) who are asked to bear the needs in mind.

This all confirms the 18th C.Viennese violin makers protestations of poverty the I posted in the Widhalm thread here https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/339882-5-string-small-widhalm-viola/&do=findComment&comment=793675

 

 

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I only claim that my instrument is an original 17th century bass violin because that is what I have been told by many people with far more knowledge than I have, from the original 1983 auction catalogue onwards. It has also been used as a model for new instruments from quite a number of makers including Melvin Goldsmith and George Stoppani. Even you have looked at it Ben! It certainly matches what you would expect to see in one of these instruments. However when I have time I will post a few photos to see if the "identification game" produces any interesting revelations! 

I don't find the existence of the Fichtl surprising given such sources as  Quantz who writes of the need for 2 sizes of cello in the mid-18th century, one for accompaniment and a smaller one for solos.

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4 hours ago, Mark Caudle said:

I only claim that my instrument is an original 17th century bass violin because that is what I have been told by many people with far more knowledge than I have, from the original 1983 auction catalogue onwards. It has also been used as a model for new instruments from quite a number of makers including Melvin Goldsmith and George Stoppani. Even you have looked at it Ben! It certainly matches what you would expect to see in one of these instruments. However when I have time I will post a few photos to see if the "identification game" produces any interesting revelations! 

I don't find the existence of the Fichtl surprising given such sources as  Quantz who writes of the need for 2 sizes of cello in the mid-18th century, one for accompaniment and a smaller one for solos.

Exactly my point, the Fichtl would be far less controversial if one steamed out the label, and called it “anonymous circa 1685” 

It’s a very long time since I saw the instrument, but indeed, if one reads the orthodox texts about the history of the cello one would expect to believe that this kind of instrument was out of production by 1700, hence why a 17th century date is probable, but as new discoveries such as this one show, there is much more to the story. 

I’d love to know why there are so many “tenore” sized violas made in the Salzkammergut region, a century after they ought not to be made. I have speculated some archaic local church tradition... 

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13 hours ago, Ben Hebbert said:

We've seen similar intellectual disconnects in the Deconet argument of old, where it is inconvenient to understand that person who doesn’t appear as a violin maker on paper could have made the many instruments he clearly did -

You mean that the well documented street musician who has long mistakenly been thought of as a violin maker, despite copious documentary evidence to the contrary. Have you had a change of heart yet?

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2 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

You mean that the well documented street musician who has long mistakenly been thought of as a violin maker, despite copious documentary evidence to the contrary. Have you had a change of heart yet?

I suppose if we accept that he locked an as-yet unknown Venetian violin maker in a basement to make instruments that he labelled as his own, then - ok, that’s a reasonable explanation to explain why instruments of a single identifiable hand routinely have Deconet labels in them :) 

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1 hour ago, Ben Hebbert said:

I suppose if we accept that he locked an as-yet unknown Venetian violin maker in a basement to make instruments that he labelled as his own, then - ok, that’s a reasonable explanation to explain why instruments of a single identifiable hand routinely have Deconet labels in them :) 

I agree with your point, that in cases where an exact date (age) of an instrument is not documented, people invariably assess (guess) that their instrument or bow is a lot older than it really is. However, you now have the exact biographical data of Fichtl, when he died, where he lived what children he had, his wealth (or lack of it), who worked for him etc, all from official govt. documents of the time, and have no need to read any fairy tales in Brompton or Henley. If the dates don't fit your pet theories, then it is your pet theory that is wrong, not the data. Similarly, it is a well documented fact that Deconet was an itinerant musician, not a violin maker, however much you wriggle

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7 hours ago, Ben Hebbert said:

I suppose if we accept that he locked an as-yet unknown Venetian violin maker in a basement to make instruments that he labelled as his own, then - ok, that’s a reasonable explanation to explain why instruments of a single identifiable hand routinely have Deconet labels in them :) 

Deconet didn't need to "lock an as-yet unknown Venetian violin maker in a basement."  There are several so-called "unknown" lauteri DOCUMENTED and registered in the Venetian tax records, one of them being Zuane Ungaro who had a close relationship with Pietro Guarneri.  That there are no existing instruments bearing an Ungaro label does not imply Ungaro is "as-yet unknown."

Considering P. Guarneri begged for tax relief and did not not leave an estate to cover his funeral expenses, the "intellectual disconnect" is on you.

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Are you suggesting, I should remove the label, and put it in an auction, in case some dope thinks it's from the 17th C.? Is this the “intellectual disconnect” you're talking about?

 

I recommend re-reading the “Deconet” thread too, and would start here:

https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/327351-michele-deconet/&do=findComment&comment=566194

 

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On 6/3/2018 at 9:13 AM, baroquecello said:

Well, the Basse de Violon proposal was to not alter the instrument at all and only a suggestion for what practical use it may serve in that state. Many famous baroque cellists don't play a "real" baroque cello anyway, but rather play an old Cello with modern neck, shortened fingerboard, baroque bridge and gut strings. A large cello like this would find acceptance in the early Music community from most cellists I know, just a few would be too puristic. However, this was said still thinking that the string length would be excessive. As I calculate again, it seems the string length would be About 70 CM, which isn't that long after all. I'd say leave the dimensions as they are, string it up with gut and hope a baroque cellist will pick it up.

Yes, yes, and yes! Love this thread!

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On 7/4/2018 at 2:26 AM, Blank face said:

Thank you very much! Indeed this scroll matches the impressive style of the bodywork, the toolmarks underline it. Just wondering, if the last were an evidence for a rather cheap and fast workshop produced instrument (in opposite to "fine" and more expensive) indicating that bass orchestra players weren't that well paid during the period like violin soloists. Not much different from today.B)

Love the chisel marks on that scroll!

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On 6/3/2018 at 9:13 AM, Mark Caudle said:

Maybe one of the holes is for a strap fixing and the other for the tailgut. I  have an old cello end-button that  has depressions for 2 chords, the upper for the tailgut and the lower, presumably for the strap. Otherwise on the Fichtl the upper hole could be for the tail gut and the lower for a short and thick wooden spike as you sometimes see in illustrations. Perhaps this is more likely.

Yup.

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The one I have is not in as good condition as this one. Please don't cut it down because it's one more that is still not cut down. For my baroque customers, we  assemble some pretty imaginative setups and we are usually successful in getting the instrument to sound the way the player wants it. But my compadres, including the Oberlin bunch, wish to preserve the originality of their instruments. It's what the baroque folks talk about, well, that and the way they feel pieces should be played! , I stay out of that scholarly fray as best I can.

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