1743 Guarneri del Gesù violin

Maker: Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri, del Gesù

Origin: Cremona, Italy

Made: 1743

Current Player: Richard Tognetti AO

Sound Notes: Rich, dark and strong, “Carravagio”-esque

Ownership

Owner: Anonymous

Date Acquired: Undisclosed

Date Loaned to ACO: 2007

About the Instrument

This 1743 violin nicknamed ‘Carrodus’ was crafted by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù during his final years in Cremona, Italy. Del Gesù (meaning ‘of Jesus’) was a more mysterious craftsman than Stradivari, and he was implicated in a variety of crimes – murder included! Despite his more controversial pursuits, he is widely recognised as one of the most accomplished violin makers of all time, having produced some of the best violins ever made.

But it wasn’t until Paganini, the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, started playing del Gesù violins that the instrument maker became as well-known and celebrated as Stradivari. In fact, part of the wood from this 1743 violin has been proven to come from the same tree as that of another authenticated del Gesù violin, known as the ‘Cannon’, which was played by Paganini. According to legend, the Carrodus is the same violin that Paganini lost while gambling.

The sound of the Carrodus is unique in that it is rougher, broader and richer than common violins. The violin scroll is particularly bold and strong, and Richard likes using gut strings to add to the richness of sound.

 

About the Maker

Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri, del Gesù (1698 – 1744) rivalled Antonio Stradivari with regard to the respect and reverence accorded his instruments, and for many prominent players and collectors his instruments are the most coveted of all. Instruments made by Guarneri are often referred to as del Gesùs. They are considered equal in quality to those of Stradivari, and claimed by some to be superior. Guarneri's violins often have a darker, more robust, more sonorous tone than Stradivari's. Fewer than 200 of Guarneri's instruments survive.


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