After the turn of the century, in a small village near Mirecourt, France, noted violin maker Charles Delignon had a son. Young Louis grew up at the feet of his father, spending his childhood among the maple shavings and ebony dust. He started with simple jobs, roughing-out backs and sweeping the floors, but quickly grew in talent and skill. From his fathers bench, he went on to study with a ‘who’s who’ of the French violin world…Georges Apparut, Lucien Francais, Louis Billotet and Collin Mezin. He was only 27 years old when he struck out on his own to establish a workshop. This violin is a warm, chocolate brown with a stunning one-piece back and has a tone every bit as rich as the makers heritage.
“Sun, sea, breeze. Conviviality, social relationships, warmth, folklore… This is the Neapolitan aura that I was leaving.
Fog, plain, stuffiness, coldness … This is the Po Valley aura that I was expecting.
…But then, beyond all the stereotypes and clichés, what did I find to greet me?
I found Andrea Varazzani’s workshop, where the noise of gouges, scrapers, rasps, chisels, planes, the colours of the wood, the odours of fresh paint blend together in a wonderful synthesis.
And so, passion, dedication and cure give shape to the shapeless.…paying homage to the refined art of sounds”
Have you every rubbed elbows with someone famous? Taken a breath of the same rarified air as a celebrity? Emile Hermann spent his whole life doing just that. In the late 1800’s, his Berlin violin shop was the go-to place for the finest instruments in Europe. He spent his days teaching and working with famous luthiers like Simone Sacconi and Hans Weisshaar, while commissioning many of the best German makers to make instruments for him. And his clientele was no less famous. Most of the top players of the day came to Hermann’s shop for adjustments, restoration work and, of course, purchases. His most famous client was Jascha Heifetz, to whom he sold his now-famous Guarneri Del Gesu in 1922.
Emile’s standards were the highest, and he expected instruments bearing his name to be able to sit side by side with the golden Stradivari, rich Amati, and powerful Guarneri violins that his shop sold. This is one such violin. Made for Herr Hermann in 1922, it is in beautiful condition, with a warm, carrying sound, perfect for everything from Vivaldi to Stravinsky.
And yes, it sat side by side with that famed Heifetz Guarneri, breathing in that rarified air of Emile Hermann’s magnificent shop.