Simonazzi Riccardo

April 1, 2004 at 02:11 AM · How are the violins made by him in the early 1900's?

Replies (3)

April 1, 2004 at 08:31 AM · In great demand... if you can, grab one.

April 2, 2004 at 01:54 PM · I am not sure which Simonazzi it is, Amedeo or Ricardo, who studied with Scarampella in Mantua. Perhaps they are brothers and both did.

IMO, Scarampella himself is a bit overrated; his work looks and sounds rather coarse to me. Yet his instruments are accorded very high prices by dealers.

I have seen a few Scarampellas and Simonazzis sit at dealer's shops for years and remain unsold. I think it is because they are too highly priced at this time.

How much is the Simonazzi instrument you are considering? I believe you can do better in that price range and it is best to avoid the 'modern' Italian school entirely when purchasing and instrument. I don't think any of them, including Fagnola and Bisiach sr., showed any more skill as makers than many other similarly priced and less regarded makers, and most often showed less skill and creativity. For example, I think that Gand&Bernardel, Derezay, Silvestre family, and Sebastian Vuillaume are all much better makers. There are many 18th and 19th century English makers whose work is around too.

April 2, 2004 at 08:32 PM · Riccardo is Amedeo's son. His working years are unknown, but he was born around 1920.

I have an early (1927) Amedeo Simonazzi that I've owned for almost 15 years now. It's always had a beautiful sound, but I find it to be a little two-dimensional, not enough depth, especially in the low register. As a tool for my college years, though, it turned to be extremely useful -- after learning to force it to change color, it's a lot easier to accomplish the same colors on other instruments. As far as workmanship goes, Amedeo is much better than Riccardo, and with both their early violins (up to about 1950) are much better than the later ones.

I would agree with you, Kazuyuki -- in the same range, there are other instruments that have more character. In my experience, Silvestre and Derazey are probably your best bet, although Silvestre will be more expensive than your average Simonazzi.

Riccardo didn't work with Scarampella, by the way -- he learned from his father, who left the Scarampella shop sometime just after WWI.

One other caveat -- Simonazzi is one of those second-rank makers whose labels were often reproduced and placed into Hungarian or Bohemian instruments. If you have a chance, compare the violin with other examples if you can find them (for Simonazzi, auction catalogs are your best bet.)

Michael

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