Cremona and the music
CREMONA AND MUSIC
The musical and lutherie history of Cremona has left very important traces in the present-day city, beginning with those related to the life of the great Antonio Stradivari like the Casa Nuziale in Corso Garibaldi 57, which was both his home and workshop since 1667, and the replica of his tombstone, presently in the public gardens in Piazza Roma, built in 1870 in the same place where the church and monastery of San Domenico, the maestro's burial place had been. Not far away from the gardens, in Piazza Stradivari, a modern statute commemorates the maestro. However, the most direct testimony of Stradivari's art are housed in the Museo Stradivariano, a section of the Museo Civico that showcases wood shapes, models, templates and tools from the maestro's workshop, which his son sold after Stradivari's death; these items were sold and transferred to various private collections and at last donated to Cremona in 1930 by luthier Giuseppe Fiorini. Purchases and donations played a vital part also in another precious and basically unique collection: the violins collection in Palazzo Comunale that makes it possible for music enthusiasts to look at some unique masterpieces of ancient Cremona lutheries made by Andrea Amati, Antonio and Gerolamo Amati, Nicolò Amati, Giuseppe Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù... all in the same room. Cremona has maintained its status of capital of lutherie still today, as testified not only by the many luthier workshops scattered all over the placid city centre streets, but also by other important musical institutions, especially learning/educational ones. For example, Palazzo Raimondi houses both the Musicology Faculty and the Fondazione W. Stauffer that promotes, amongst other things, annual refresher courses and specialised training programmes for violinists. Palazzo Pallavicino Ariguzzi, a 15th century mansion with an elegant internal portico with ogive arches, is home to the Scuola Internazionale di Liuteria and the Fondazione Stradivari Cremona “La Triennale”, a school and a foundation which both are proof of the role that Cremona still plays in lutherie and music. Inside the palace the Collezione di Liuteria Contemporanea (Contemporary Lutherie Collection) is on exhibit, a collection that consists of all the stringed instruments which won the various edition of the Concorso Internazionale di Liuteria.
CREMONA AND VIOLIN MAKING
Cremona is unanimously rated as the world capital of violin making, as here the modern version of violin was born in the 16th century.
Cremona is the birthplace of the greatest master luthiers, such as Andrea Amati (1505-1577) leader of the modern violin making technique, and Niccolò Amati (1596-1684), his grandson, who dominated the music scenario of the 17th century with his renowned instruments.
Moreover, Cremona was the birthplace of Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 1737), undisputed genius of violin making, who worked in Cremona and, during his long life, made over 1200 stringed instruments; some of them have survived up to the present day and they are real music myths of incalculable value. Stradivari took violin making to the utmost perfection: the harmony of shapes, the geometrical proportions, the acoustics principles and the invaluable knowledge of the natural properties of materials and chemicals, along with the artist’s genius, gave his instruments a celestial voice.
The great Paganini commissioned Giuseppe Guarneri from Cremona, called del Gesù (1698-1744), his favourite violin, owing to the power of sound achieved by the Cremona school of violin making in those years.
As heirs of the past values, the modern institutions have nowadays vivified the worldwide fame of Cremona’s violin making traditions. An international violin making school that attracts students from all over the world and a Triennial Exhibition of stringed instruments turn Cremona into the object of luthiers’ utmost interest. With over seventy workshops very similar to those of the past centuries, Cremona’s master luthiers make more than 1000 instruments every year, and you can find them displayed everywhere.
One of the halls of the Town Hall holds some world-famous examples of classical Cremona violin making, the violins: the "Charles IX of France" by Andrea Amati dated 1566, the "Hammerle" dated 1658 by N. Amati, the "Quarestani" by Giuseppe Guarneri dated 1689, the "Cremonese 1715" by Antonio Stradivari. The Museo Stradivariano (Stradivari Museum), located in via Ugolani Dati 4, holds over 700 relics and objects coming from the master’s workshop. A copy of the gravestone placed on the tomb of Stradivari is in the Gardens of Piazza Roma: he was really buried here when the tomb stood in this square until the end of last century.
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