Emile Mennesson was a phenomenally successful maker who used the outside mold system to produce very fine violins in large quantities. This is a very good example of his “Guarini” labelled violins, based on the Stradivari Messiah.
Emile Mennesson could be seen as a forerunner of CH. JB Collin-Mézin. Both makers were extraordinarily prolific while maintaining very high standards of workmanship and tonal quality. Undoubtedly this is partly attributable to the use of the outside mold, and the fact that they stuck to very sucessful models and archings.
Here we have a lovely and very typical Mennesson, with excellent wood, a rich red varnish, and the sharp lines that characterise French making. The condition is superb, just a few minor marks to the varnish – no repairs or cracks whatsoever.
The violins that Mennesson made under the Guarini label are well known for their excellent tonal qualities, and this one is true to form. Very responsive, clear, full, focused but not strident, and with good volume. What stands out is how even it is across the register, every note individual yet coherent within the broader picture. Like a good Collin-Mézin, this is the ideal violin for the development of good advanced technique – it will give bak what you put in, and there are no strange qirks or weaknesses to find your way around.
All in all, very typical of the better French violins of the period – crisp and arresting workmanship and a very reliable and musical sound palette.
Dimensions: length of back 35.7cm, stop 130/195mm
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