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Chloe Robinson

The new man...or town

January 17, 2008 at 2:25 AM

Well, I said I was only going to visit temporarily to ask one question on the Discussion Boards, but I felt like I had something interesting to share, so I figured I'd throw in a blog entry while I was here for good measure. (And because I miss some of the folks I really enjoyed chatting with back in the good old days of 2003, ha)

So, at the end of a particularly good lesson yesterday, my teacher asked me if I'd like to try one of the Gagliano violins that the school owns for my upcoming recital in February. At first, I was pretty sure it was a bad idea. I play on my mom's old fiddle, and it means a lot to me to get to perform on it. Also, the Ysaye I'm playing is pretty complicated, and I was worried it would be an awkward transition between instruments. But, realizing that it would be completely stupid to pass up the chance to play on such an amazing violin, I went over to the Annex today, and picked up the violin.

It's a 1777 decorated Gagliano instrument, and oh my, it's everything I dreamed of. There's a symmetry and simplicity to the fiddle that I've never experienced in my life. The tone is unwavering and is almost glittery no matter where you play in the bow. It's a constant, warm, glowing sound. The ease with which you can produce a fluid sound is amazing...almost strange. The Eing is so crisp and the Ging sings so well. I realize I'm going on like a crazy person, but this is definitely one of the highlights of my violin career so far. I suppose a downside is that it's slightly smaller than my violin, but I am certainly not complaining about having to put a few extra hours in to get used to the difference. The hardest part will be giving it back after my recital, I'm sure!

When my mom had a violin made for her by Kurt Widenhouse in the late 90s, she said the moment she played it, her eyes welled up and she was just overcome by it. Now, I won't say the heavens opened and St. Cecilia herself came down, but it is a surreal experience to play such a fine instrument.

I need to end all of this swooning by saying I have no idea why I deserve to use this instrument. There are about 12 other violinists giving their senior recitals this year, and I am in no way more deserving than they are. It's extremely humbling to be able to play on the Gagliano, and I am so grateful for the opportunity. And now, I just hope I don't sneeze while playing and drop it! (haha)

Anyhow, I probably will not blog regularly, but I just wanted to pop in and share, what I feel, is a unique experience.

Regards (and prunes) to the oldies :)


From Pauline Lerner
Posted on January 17, 2008 at 6:48 AM
Congratulations. That's a wonderful opportunity. Enjoy it!
From Joshua Hong
Posted on January 17, 2008 at 8:06 PM
Is it an Alessandro, Nicola, or Guiseppe?

There was an Alessandro Gagliano I played about a year ago that sounded absolutely gorgeous...

From Samuel Thompson
Posted on January 17, 2008 at 11:42 PM
What a fantastic opportunity, and thank you so much for such a beautiful entry and perspective. Will you by chance post audio highlights of your recital so that we can all hear you on this instrument?


From Chloe Robinson
Posted on January 18, 2008 at 1:56 AM
Thanks for the kind comments :)

It's a Nicolaus Gagliano, by the way.

Hmm, hadn't thought about posting my recording up on the site, maybe that would be a good idea, though, thanks for suggesting it!


From Laurie Niles
Posted on January 18, 2008 at 6:18 AM
I really relate to this -- having bought my Gagliano about two years ago. I'm still madly in love with it. All my papers say is that it was one of the bro's. We joke it's "Jose."
From Trevor Kilbey
Posted on January 18, 2008 at 10:24 AM
About 40+ years ago, and an amateur, I played in a family quartet in England. I was the outsider on 1st. My friends father was an optician but a good amateur who owned a Gagliano purched in the 50's for about £500. He let me play on it a few times and as stated, it was like a miracle, so easy to make beutiful sounds. One Sunday night, when we commited some sin playing early Beethoven, father rushed in to complain and dropped, landing on the brdge. The back split from top to bottom, with the sound post poking through the split. Luffs in London took about 3 weeks to make a miracle invisible repair and he bought a Ceruti to cover the gap.
Trevor Kilbey, Switzerland.
From Ray Randall
Posted on January 18, 2008 at 3:22 PM
Way back in High School I played off and on in an amateur quartet. The guy who ran it, Ladislav Pollak, was a Physicist. However, hr had literally a closet full of old Italians, Strads, Andreas Guarneri, and several Amatis. I'd go to his house, snas violin, and he would say open the closet and grab one. Funny, I liked the Amati the best.
Ahhhh, the good old days.
From Terez Mertes
Posted on January 18, 2008 at 6:34 PM
Great descrip of how it sounds - thanks for sharing!

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