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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by olps, Oct 13, 2002.
Does anyone have any info on the luthier Maggini? Thanks alot guys.
The following is from the Smithsonian.
Giovanni Paolo Maggini (1580-c. 1630), born at Botticino (near Brescia, Italy), apprenticed with the master violin maker Gasparo da Salo. His early products show a strong Gasparo influence but are marked by rather crude workmanship. While acquiring a thorough knowledge of the various woods available to him, Maggini evolved his own style, and later, as a master, his own techniques of craftsmanship. He experimented frequently to improve the tone quality of his instruments and to perfect his construction methods; many of these improvements are still in use today. Maggini and Gasparo are considered the most important instrument makers of the Brescian school.
The instruments made by Maggini at the end of his career were his finest. They are known for the quality of the woods and unusually large sound holes (which are well curved and carefully finished), as well as for their exceptionally mellow tone. Many are ornamented on the back with such decorations as the St. Andrew's Cross, a clover-leaf device, tableaux, medallions, crests, or other motifs. Varnishes varied from a clear brown in his early efforts to a more brilliant transparent golden or reddish-brown color of rich quality in later instruments. The typical late-model Maggini has a double row of purfling and low sides.
Maggini is known to have made at least sixty violins, nine violas, two violoncellos, one double bass, and a few viols. His label appeared in the following forms:
Gio. Paolo Maggini in Brescia
Paolo Maggini in Brescia
Giovanni Paulo Megri
a Brescia, 1615
Joel Quarrington and Barry Leiberman both have Maggini's. These are the closest thing to a "perfect" sounding bass I've ever heard. Of course a lot of what I heard was because these two amazing musicians were playing them. . .
Way to provide info, Bob!
If Joel Quarrington and Barry Lieberman both have Magginis, and the Smithsonian states that he is known to have made ONE double bass, someone's math is off! Also, I have a client with a (supposed) Maggini...!?!?!?!? what gives here? Bob?
Does anyone have a ballpark figure of how much Maggini basses are worth? Or how much they've sold for in the past? Thanks alot for the info.
I can't vouch for the Smithsonian, but I would tend to trust them more that labels in basses. This wouldn't be the first case of famous instruments not made by the person that was supposed to have made it. I seriously doubt if every violin (or bass) ever made with double purfling was really made by Maggini. I have to wonder how many "copies" of master instruments were sold 100 - 150 years ago by a dealer who either knew it was not genuine or who did not have the knowledge to determine the true maker. Once it was sold (with that dealer "papers"), it will probably be resold many times over the years with the original dealer's papers of authenticity. Gary Karr's so-called Amati is a case in point. There is some pretty good documentation that Amati did not make basses period. Duane Rosendard discusses this bass in his Contrabbassi Cremonesi Cremonese Double Basse book.
I point all of this out not because I am an authority, because I certainly am not. However, I am reminded of the words of violin maker Willie Smith in a 1950's violin fraud case. Mr Smith was asked to give his expert opinion on weather a particular instrument was in fact what it had been sold as by another dealer. Mr. Smith stated to the court "I don't know, I wasn't there when it was made".
MUCH wisdom in your words, Bob. How do you police instrument fraud when the perpetarators are also the "experts"?
I almost made mention of it before Arnold posted this. The modest Mr. Schnitzer did not mention that he did a full restore on the aforementioned Maggini. I watched it progress. His work and the end result were breathtaking, no matter who made the thing.
Coincidentally, I heard it played yesterday in Carnegie Hall.
Well, counting the Maggini basses...
Mr. Klaus Stoll (Berlin Filharmonic Orch) owns
a Maggini built 1610.
Also Hornimans Museum (London UK) owns one.
This according to Mr Börje Ljungkvist,
author of a charming book about the
double basses at the Royal Opera House
here in Stockholm Sweden.
The author also performed a lot of history research
regarding the ROH own Maggini bass.
It´s asumed this bass came to Stockholm in
1652 !! And was built in 1597 !!!
Mr. Ljungkvist is doing further reasearch at the moment...
Tradition claims the Maggini is played by the
principal, today Mr. Michael Karlsson.
It would be interesting to see what W.E. Hill said about basses in his 1892 book Gio: Paolo Maggini. His Life and Works. W.E. Hill & Sons of London were considered the authority on Italian instruments. I do not have a copy of this book in my library, but perhaps some other TB member might have access to it. If you do, please let us know what it says about the number of double basses made by Maggini.
I have a Novello double bass primer written in the UK in 1934 by A.C. White & F. A. Echlin, and my copy was reprinted in 1951. The parts of the double bass and the correct playing stance are illustrated by photographs of Charles Winterbottom and his Maggini bass. Charles Winterbottom was apparently a well known bassist and teacher.
The scroll, stated to have been carved by Benvenuto Cellini, is in the form of a female head with long wavy hair. The back of the scroll is carved with a complex pattern of motifs as listed by Bob Bransetter. The instrument appears to have a double row of purfling. The back of the instrument is not shown. The bass was nick-named "The Old Lady".
Coincidentally, I just went to my music room for a quick burst on my bass and on top of a pile of bass playing magazines was issue number 1 of 'Double Bassist' featuring Winterbottom's Maggini bass on the front cover. There is a short write-up on Winterbottom on page 4.
The Assistant Principal Double Bass of the National Symphony plays a Maggini as well.
That's Rick Barber's bass. Those of us who were at the Richmond ISB a few years back got to see and hear that bass. It's pretty spectacular.
My understanding is that it came to Rick from Tom Martin by way of Don Robertson, though that story could have gotten garbled in the translation.
Joel does NOT have a Maggini. I spoke with him last year thru email and he has no clue what his Bass is or even if it's Italian. The maker, country and century of his Bass is not known, nor is it a Maggini.
Last June/July there was an Expo in Brescia with all the possible d'Salo's, Maggini's and Rogeri's as well as some others on display. Rick Barber's Maggini was there on display as well as he told me he loaned it out. While his Maggini was there, he and Bob Oppelt were borrowing/sharing my Cornerless/Storioni Bass.
There were 5 Basses by Maggini on display there. One was the small chamber Bass known as the Dumas Maggini which I had a chance to buy back in 1971 for a sum of $1,000 un-restored. The last sale price for that small Bass instrument was quoted at $80-85k.
Here is the Link for the Expo; http://www.giopaolomaggini.com/w/en/on-show/instruments-on-show/
I guess the Smithsonian is wrong. Just as wrong as they are about how many Prescott Basses there are.
It is true though that there are way more Basses called or attributed to Maggini that he ever made. Around the year 1900, writers still had his death at 1640. They also believed that Santo Maggini (Pietro Santo Maggini) was his son but in fact only borrowed the name Maggini and attached it to his own. They were not related nor had they ever met as one G.P. died before Santo was even born.
Making claims to famous names are very common in the Violin world. On Joel's Bass, not only is the Bass not Maggini, it is not even Italian in my opinion. I would suspect the British on that Bass as well as on Bob Oppelt's Testore labeled Bass which I have seen and played. I have seen one other Maggini attributed Bass and even though it is about 300 years old, it may actually be German. Recently I saw a beautiful old Bass with Violin corners that was at least 300 years old. Italian would have easily been my guess on it. I was told that it is a confirmed Fussen Bass which is the north west Tirol region in southern Germany. This region produced instruments before Mittenwald.
I have a Maggini model/copy Bass that was made c.1828-1830 by John Hart (pupil of Samuel Gilkes). Not long ago I received an email from London about another Bass nearly identical to mine that was played by a London Symphony principal for 30 years and it was purchased as a genuine G.P. Maggini. Even the British couldn't tell their own earlier domestic work from the real thing until years later when someone spotted its early 'Londini' work.
If Joel's bass is a Maggini, then so is mine!