“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”
In 1796, Paul Revere gathered with a group of friends at the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston, Massachusetts. As they sat around drinking tankards of ale, they created the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association to celebrate invention, artistry, and mechanic ability. Founding members included a vast array of inventors, mechanics, and innovators, including tailors, hatters, goldsmiths, watchmakers, bookbinders, silk-dyers, ship wrights and curriers. In the years that followed, they hosted Massachusetts Mechanics Fairs and almost a century after that first meeting, it is here that violin maker Asa Warren White was awarded many silver and gold medals for his beautifully made instruments. How Mr. White ended up in the company of a large mechanics guild remains somewhat of a mystery, but his place in this famous organization, is part of what makes his violins not only beautiful, but fascinating to players and collectors alike. Here at Huthmaker’s we raise our tankards to the fine men of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association for recognizing the beauty of Asa Whites violins. If you want to raise your own glass to the MCMA, The Green Dragon Tavern is still open for business.
It has been said that the sweetest music to be found may come from the smallest hand. Andreas Kempter, a luthier from Dilligen, Germany knew that all too well. He loved to make instruments and spent his life branching out in all directions. Whether it be a lute, a viola d’amore, a bassato or a bass viol, Herr Kempter made them all with dedication and skill. However, somewhere along the way he was inspired to make this sweet violin. We will never know who inspired this beautiful instrument…the daughter of a wealthy merchant? Or perhaps the love of his life, his wife Anna Maria Bair?
Whoever she was, she must have been truly lovely to move him to create this 7/8 size violin. The body is perfect for a petite frame and delicate hands and the sound, while being warm and sweet, projects and carries beautifully.
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.