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Large Italian Viola's 1680-1750 and their Makers


Tigger
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I've been doing some research on this topic and wondered if the hive mind here might have any further suggestions other than the usual suspects-

Da Salo, Amati(s), Guarneri, Montagnana et al

I'm thinking in and around the 17" size range rather than Tenors

 

Any thoughts?

Thanks

Edited by Tigger
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There is an extant large Stradivari tenor and some Brothers Amati violas that are big.

https://www.galleriaaccademiafirenze.it/en/artworks/viola-tenore/

https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/browse-the-archive/makers/maker/?Maker_ID=1693

https://www.reuning.com/violas-over-400k/lorenzo-storioni-cremona-1785-ex-harold-coletta-viola

http://collections.nmmusd.org/Violins/Before1800/Stainerviola.html

https://emuseum.nmmusd.org/objects/6524/viola?ctx=91260951-725b-4c10-a7ce-f2463fec3bf7&idx=19

https://emuseum.nmmusd.org/objects/6797/viola?ctx=95b29e79-794f-4848-9553-23614093a486&idx=24

https://images.ashmolean.org/search/?searchQuery=viola

There may be some big Testori violas.  Yuri Bashmet plays one but I don't know the size.

Manfio may have some good ideas here.

 

Sorry if all this is useless, it just caught my eye this morning.

 

I'm afraid that many of these are tenors but you could size them up or down accordingly .

 

DLB

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Just what do you mean by research on “Large Italian Viola’s 1680-1750”, since they didn’t exist in a vacuum, and presumably had a musical justification. They were also made in the Austrian area, and seem to have died out when a certain Mr. Haydn invented the string quartet, which caused the violists to do some serious practice. Curiously these large violas, when retaining the original necks, have necks that a scarcely longer than violin necks. If you extend your theme to violas from the alpine area, you will probably find out where a lot of your Italian ones come from

Here is a nice large viola from 1743 from Kastl, Heilbrunn, with original neck

Kastl_viola front back.jpg

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2 hours ago, Dwight Brown said:

Yuri Bashmet plays one but I don't know the size.

I believe its just under 16. Tertis supposedly had a 17" Testore, not sure where I read that. At one point I was shown a "Testore school" that was 17, it was a while ago and I have no idea if it was as advertised.

Tertis also famously had a 17" "Montagnana" but I think that was misattributed.  Still have to wonder what it is.

There seems to be a lot of 17-17.5 violas made north of Italy, some have probably been Italianized.

The Michael Tree Busan was around 17, but I believe its was made towards the end of the 18th century.

Just a few thoughts.

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4 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

"... when a certain Mr. Haydn invented the string quartet, which caused the violists to do some serious practice."

While we do not know who "invented" the string quartet, Scarlatti wrote some before Haydn was even born (he died 7 years before Haydns birth), so Haydn certainly didn't. Nor was he the first to treat the viola equal to the other string instruments in virtuosity. Alessandro Scartlatti - Quartetti senza Cembalo

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5 minutes ago, baroquecello said:

While we do not know who "invented" the string quartet, Scarlatti wrote some before Haydn was even born (he died 7 years before Haydns birth), so Haydn certainly didn't. Nor was he the first to treat the viola equal to the other string instruments in virtuosity. Alessandro Scartlatti - Quartetti senza Cembalo

Thanks, I didn’t know Scarlatti wrote any quartets

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/11/2022 at 9:28 AM, Tigger said:

I've been doing some research on this topic and wondered if the hive mind here might have any further suggestions other than the usual suspects-

Da Salo, Amati(s), Guarneri, Montagnana et al

I'm thinking in and around the 17" size range rather than Tenors

 

Any thoughts?

Thanks

I assume what you mean is before 1750 ... as da Salo is clearly before 1680.

So around 17" let's say length of back is between 424-436mm, from Tarisio's database from some years ago, there are:

Andrea Amati 1568 (LOB 427mm)

Peregrino di Zanetto after 1564 (LOB 429)

da Salo 1580 (LOB 436)

Maggini 1600 (LOB 424.5 and 426mm), 1610 (425.7mm)

Antonio Brensi 1610 (LOB 433mm)

Brothers Amati 1620 (LOB 430mm)

Jacob Stainer 1670 (LOB 424mm)

G.B. Grancino "I" 1707 (LOB 429mm)

Alessandro Gagliano 1710 (LOB 424mm)

G.B. Grancino "II" 1710 (LOB 424.5)

Domenico Busan c. 1750 (LOB 432.5)

 

 

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18 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

The Linarols/Micheli/Giovanni Marias, and other Brescians working in Venice were often not conceived as violas, but as Liras da Braccio, which adds to the fun.

 

Finding really early violas that are about 17” but were not cut down from something bigger has got to be pretty rare. Then there is the small viola era.

DLB

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4 minutes ago, Dwight Brown said:

Finding really early violas that are about 17” but were not cut down from something bigger has got to be pretty rare. Then there is the small viola era.

DLB

Right - if they were gonna cut em, they nearly always cut them to smaller than 17. Why bother otherwise? 17 is still bigger than most care to work with. 

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15 minutes ago, Dwight Brown said:

There are some really huge tenors at 19” or even more. Violas are an odd duck.

DLB

True, for sure. I always like to remind folks to look at Lully's ballets: even in the mid 17th cent, there was a market for three voices of viola. This is part of why violas are fun to make - so many options

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