For a long time Giovanni Dollenz’s rare ability as a maker has been attributed to some connection with Storioni – such stories sell violins! Whatever his influences, he was a maker with a dashing and individual style. The violins in the 1850s were made in collaboration with his son Giuseppe, who is regarded as in every way the equal of his father.
This violin is just so Italian! The model is highly personal, the wood is full of character, and the scroll is brave – somehow crude yet refined at the same time. The ground and the varnish have incredible depth and are highly refractive. These days everyone churns out their tedious copies of classic Strads and del Gesus – why not follow your own path like Dollenz or Scarampella?
The condition of this instrument is pretty tidy – back ribs and scroll have no issues, but there are a few well repaired cracks on the table, including a post crack and patch. The repairs are very neatly done, and there’s no missing or replaced wood. The original varnish is an exemplary state of preservation.
We always try to offer violins which sound great, but as the price goes up this becomes a sacred duty. Yes of course, if you buy a historic Italian violin you are paying for the name and the geographical origin, but the sound must surely justify the price tag. I’m pleased to say this is a fantastic sounding violin, every bit as inspiring to play as to look at. The sound is big, very rich, articulate, with a wide dynamic range – warm and enveloping in overall character, but with plenty of sparkle in the upper harmonics. From the moment I put a bow across this violin I loved it – very rare to find this kind of power without any hint of shrillness.
So a top recommendation from me – 10 out of 10.
Length of back 35.2cm, stop 131/191mm
Certificate: Dmitry Gindin 2012
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