Guarneri violin and the Australian Chamber Orchestra

Posted by jerry on February 4th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Music

It might be hard to imagine a small wooden box with a handle on it being worth AUS$10million – but when it’s a Guarneri violin the sound is priceless. The un-named benefactor of the Australian Chamber Orchestra obviously knows a thing or two about violins. They have to be played in order to keep their tone and suppleness. So rather than just keep it in a museum, the mystery buyer of this wonderful instrument has decided to share it with the world. And if it hasn’t been played for fifty years, its tone will just get better over the next several months as Richard Tognetti – lead violinist of the Australian Chamber Orchestra gives it a thorough workout on a tour starting next week. The Australian Chamber Orchestra is playing in Canberra on 10 Feb.

Guarneri violin

The instrument was made in 1743 by Guiseppe (Joseph) Guarneri (1698-1744) – known as del Gesu as he signed his violins with a cross and the initials IHS – the Greek abbreviation for Jesus. Guarneri label

The “Carrodus” violin – named for one of its owners, 19th century British violinist John Tiplady Carrodus (1836-1895) was one of the last of around 250 violins known by this maker. Around 100 of these violins survive today. Interestingly the Carrodus violin was made from timber from the same tree as another authenticated Guarneri violin known as ‘the canon’ for its big sound.

Guiseppe was the grandson of Andrea Guarneri who, like Antonio Stradivari had trained under Amati, and the two rival families had workshops just a street away from each other in Cremona, Italy – both families making superb instruments, each as good as each other. The Guarneri style stayed more true to the Amati design than did Stradivarius, and the Guarneri violins tended to be less refined in appearance, but richer in tone using a soft oil varnish.

The guarnerius design

What struck me when Tognetti played a little on ABC TV was the depth of tone in the lower strings, when compared with his own $300,000 instrument. There was really no comparison.

Here is another image of a Guarneri violin, similar to the Carrodus violin.

Guarneri violin

The thought of this instrument being played again is indeed a rare treat!



Comment by nikko clarin

I have a “Carrodus 1743” copy violin. I use it in performances of our orchestra in school as a first violinist.

Posted on August 14, 2007 at 9:26 am

Comment by jerry

Congratulations I hope it has a great sound – The shape and proportions have excellent pedigree.

Posted on August 14, 2007 at 6:04 pm

Comment by nikko clarin

Thank you. are you also a violinist jerry?

Posted on January 7, 2008 at 11:34 pm

Comment by jerry

Thank you Nikko – I’m more fiddler than violinist, but I do appreciate fine instruments 🙂 I have spent many years as a professional musician in the Irish Celtic style

Posted on January 8, 2008 at 6:25 am

Comment by nikko clarin

What strings do you use? I very much like the Hora staccato.

Posted on January 8, 2008 at 7:40 am

Comment by jerry

I use Pirastro piranito – a good compromise between good sound and good stability in most conditions. I haven’t used Hora staccato

Posted on January 8, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Comment by Robin Tucker

This instrument belonged to the famed violinst Ossy Renardy–probably one of the only self-taught world class violinists. Ossy went on tour when he was a young man and then fought in WWII and returned to touring. He was killed in a car accident in New Mexico at the age of 33..Carrodus was unharmed. It is sad that this portion of the violin’s history is left out. If you listen to Renardy on his CD “Testament” he knew how to milk every bit of sound out of his instrument…even though recorded in “Mono” his rendition of “Ava Maria” sounds like a thundering Church Organ..Carrodus is remarkable and those two clearly had a relationship.

Posted on May 10, 2008 at 7:15 am

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