In the wonderful world of music the names of Stradivari, del Gesú and Guadagnini have for a long time evoked the idea of a famous and beautifully crafted stringed instrument being played by a world-class musician.
Turbulent tales and inbuilt mysterious qualities have contributed to their gaining an immortal reputation. There is no doubting that they have an extra something that adds a richness and deep tonality to any performance of the music they were designed to play.
In our contemporary age for a musician to be allowed to play one of the surviving superb instruments made by the creatives from Cremona in Italy Antonio Stradivari (c.1644-1737) and Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri del Gesú (1698-1744) or those by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1711-1786), who was born in Bilegno near Piacenza and worked in Piacenza, Milan, Parma and Turin, is considered both a privilege and an honour.
Guadagnini is considered the next most illustrious maker after Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri ‘del Gesu’ who was both Stradivari’s contemporary and rival in Cremona.
The hype surrounding these amazing instruments is all about their intrinsic beauty and an ability of its maker to craft from wood a box with a few strings attached that was capable of giving forth a very powerful and seductive melody.
It is one that still resonates long and loudly today, especially when a master technician plays one of these fine instruments.
In 2011 an anonymous Australian benefactor bought a $10 million violin, which was given on permanent loan to the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s principal violinist, Richard Tognetti.
Made by Giuseppe Guarneri, or, Del Gesu, known as the Carrodus, it is one of the four or five of the finest of the finest of violins in existence.
Tognetti said to the ABC reporter at the time “most violinists, you’re in awe of just getting close to an instrument like this, let alone having the incredible honour of it being my voice box”.
Since Stradivari’s time many have endeavoured to copy his style and sound, including Guadagnini, who would have known about his work and taken his renowned quality as a benchmark to model his own.
They are all violins, except for one cello that while bearing his father’s label dating 1730, is believed to have been completed by his son.
Antonio Stradivari along with Giovanni Battista Guadagnini and Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri del Gesú made a great many violins, lavishing more care on them than on any other instrument.
Today only those well experienced in recognising the many unique qualities of a historic instrument that any of this famous trio made alone can determine their authenticity.
Those surviving certainly have taken a lot of knocks after being in constant use for centuries.
Annually they present a series of free concerts in the magnificent former ballroom of Victoria’s beautifully restored Government House, which is next to the Royal Botanic Gardens. On December 6th it was my joy to attend the final recital of the year, arranged as a surprise for my birthday, by our Special Features Victorian writer Janet Walker.
Playing for our pleasure was the simply splendid multi award-winning Cavaleri String Quartet, which consists of four young British-based musicians of quite breathtaking ability.
In 2011 this passionate group of players won 1st Prize in the prestigious Royal Overseas League (ROSL) Annual Music Competition at London, which encourages career development for young people of the Commonwealth. The (ROSL) is a non-profit Commonwealth private members organisation, committed to supporting international understanding and friendship through social, music, arts and welfare activities.
It was the ROSL who sponsored their tour of New Zealand and Australia to raise funds for the Save the Children. fund.
Since its formation at London in 2008, the Cavaleri String Quartet has gained a reputation as one of the UK and Europe’s leading string quartets. Just recently British artist Martyn Jackson joined Ann Beilby (viola), Ciaran McCabe (violin) and cellist Rowena Calvert, when their founding 1st violinist left the group.
And, what a find he is.
Jackson had previously performed as a solo artist and chamber musician in the UK, Europe and Middle East and served as assistant concertmaster of the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
This meant that he had already enjoyed an experience far beyond what many young men have achieved to date. He’s not only a natural musician but also a natural leader, one whose body movements and amazing eye contact compelled his companions to follow his lead so that they could all make beautiful, exquisite music together.
The Cavaleri String Quartet enthralled the audience. They played with intensity, sensitivity and dynamism, to a point of perfection that almost defies description.
It was at the pinnacle of perfect playing.
There comes a time in every woman’s life when she comes to an important realization, shoes or bags?
Personally, I always thought of myself as a shoe girl, but in the past few years my allegiance has swayed, could it be possible I’m a bag addict?
I have found myself swooning over handbags, left, right and centre!
Right now the Chanel clear perspex “Number 5” bottle bag is what I am coveting.
But with a hefty price tag of AUSD $11,750, I doubt Santa will be leaving this baby under my tree any time soon.
Well, a girl can always dream!
A good bag is an excellent investment. If well …
Our writers, Carolyn, Jo, Janet and Helen have each contributed to The Circle’s Christmas Gift Hit List, 2013. There are many great gift picks for you to find those special somethings for family and friend. There are also culinary delights and as you can imagine, gifts that help Australian creative enterprises are very popular with us all, as are all those that keep giving back to the growth of arts, culture and society.
We hope you support those retailers and organisations we list, because they all have a great deal to offer. Beautiful boutique shops like Home and Abroad in Melbourne will enable you to find the right gift for someone you love or admire for Xmas, and many of them all year around. Helen is choosing shops in Brisbane, Jo in Sydney and Carolyn and Janet in Melbourne. Then there are all our Online suggestions as well.
We want to acknowledge and support our musician colleagues, who add such a layer of richness to all of our lives with their talent, energy, enthusiasm and love for the expansion of arts and culture in Australia. 2014 is set to be an awesome year for Music in Australia, in all its disciplines and so we have included some very special programs on offer for you to consider supporting by subscription. Buying tickets to single concerts also helps.
We also invite you to remember those who are having difficulties this Xmas by supporting our two suggested social profit organizations, Look Good Feel Better and StreetSmart Australia, whose annual initiative DineSmart in December helps out those experiencing homelessness.
We will keep adding to our Christmas Gift Hit List until December 21st. So please, check often. Follow our link to our special Christmas Gift Hit List Page Now.
In the world of music the names Stradivari, del Gesú and Guadagnini evoke the idea of beautifully crafted stringed instruments played by world-class musicians
At Government House Melbourne the Cavaleri String Quartet enthralled the audience playing with intensity, sensitivity and dynamism at the pinnacle of perfection
King Charles II made promenading in the park fashionable and within a decade English parks were places for perfect parleys, parades and promenades - Rus in urbe
Stonnington Council in Melbourne is active in the arts and culture arena planning festive end of year celebrations that continue across the summer into winter
David Hansen and the cast of Pinchgut Opera's production of Cavalli's Giasone made such sweet sounds of music they ensured that your heart sang & ached with joy