lunedì 16 febbraio 2015

Henri Casadesus (Paris, 1879-1947)

Henri Casadesus, c. 1900

Born in Paris on 30 September 1879 son of Luis Casadesus and Mathilde Sénéchal
Died in Paris on 31 May 1947

He received his first musical instruction with Lavignac and Laforge. Between 1910 and 1917, he was the altoist of the Capet quartet. He also directed the "Théatre de la Gaité Lyrique" in Paris and the Liège Opera (Belgium). Charged with diplomatic and artistic missions abroad, mainly in the USA, he founded, in 1901, in collaboration with Camille Saint-Saîns, the Society of Ancient Instruments (la Société des Instruments Anciens) aimed at reviving on 17th and 18th century instruments, unknown musical works from the masters of the time. Between 1901 and 1939 , the society travelled 350 000 km, performing in many countries, including Russia and the USA. Among its members, it counted: Henri Casadesus (viola d'amore), Marius Casadesus (quinton), Régina Patorni-Casadesus (harpsichord), Lucette Casadesus (viola da gamba) and Maurice Devilliers (bass-viol).

In the course of his travels, Henri Casadesus assembled a remarkable collection of rare and ancient instruments which is currently housed by the Museum of Symphonic Orchestra in Boston.
Five children : Catherine, Jacqueline (with Renée Delerbat) Christian, Gisèle (with Marie-Louise Beetz) Bernard (with Jeanne Montange)
He authored several operettas ("Le Rosier", "Sans tambour, ni trompette", "La petite-fille de madame Angot", "Cotillon III"), melodies, pieces of film music ("Le gardian", "Les mystères de Paris", "Paris-New-York") and a book titled "Méthode de la viole d'amour".

Jàn Kral

6+6 Viola d'amore by Claude Aubert, France, XVIII Century

Claude AUBERT est né à Bétignicourt dans l'Aube le 19 septembre 1721, ses parents étaient cultivateurs. On ne sait pas où il se forma, en revanche on le retrouve à Troyes dés 1754 où il fut le seul luthier  de cette ville du XVIIIème. Sa production a été importante et variée : Quinton de 1754 du musée de La Villette, violons et violoncelles chez François Joseph POMMET luthier à Reims, guitares de La Villette.
Il a eu comme apprentis puis comme collaborateurs Claude GIRON et Alexis VILLAUME, d'ailleurs au mariage de ce dernier, ces trois luthiers troyens sont signataires de l'acte de mariage.

Viola d'amore pegbox

Viola d'Amore: A Love Story

Viola d'Amore by Pierre van Engeland, Brussels 2011

Viola d'amore tailpiece

Tailpiece at work                                                                                                                      

Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, West Virginia, USA - Viola d'Amore, Johann Franz Placht, Austria, 18th century

Viola d'amore made in 1661 by Jacob Stainer in Absam ( Austria ) - Drawing by Adolph Menzel, 1887

Paul Hindemith


Kammermusik n. 6 - Viola d'amore part - Manuscript

Louis van Waefelghen

Louis van Waefelghem (13 January 1840 in Bruges – 19 June 1908 in Paris) was a Belgian violinist, violist and one of the greatest viola d'amore players of the 19th century. He also composed several works and made transcriptions for viola and viola d'amore.
Waefelghem was educated at the Athénée Royal in Bruges and then studied violin with Lambert Joseph Meerts at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Brussels. After finding success as a violinist in Germany and at the Opera House in Budapest, he moved to Paris in 1863 to pursue a career as a performer on viola and viola d'amore. He played in the orchestra of the Paris Opera in 1868 and also in the Pasdeloup Orchestra. Waefelghem was Examiner of the Viola at the Conservatoire de Paris before Théophile Laforge was appointed the first Professor of Viola in 1894. His reputation as a gifted violist quickly spread and, after the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), he traveled to London where he played in the Royal Opera orchestra and at chamber concerts of the Musical Union with Joseph Joachim, Leopold Auer, Henri Vieuxtemps, Camillo Sivori, Pablo de Sarasate, and others. From 1875 he was the violist of the Quatuor Marsick, Guillaume Rémy, Jules Delsart and founder Martin Pierre Marsick, one of the best and most famous string quartets in Paris of the time. He also a member of the Quatuor Geloso and of Ovide Musin's quartet with Metzger and Vander Gucht. Waefelghem was the principal violist with the Orchestre Lamoureux from 1881 to 1895.
along with
In 1895 Waefelghem, along with colleagues Laurent Grillet (hurdy-gurdy), Louis Diémer (harpsichord) and Jules Delsart (viola da gamba), founded the Société des Instruments Anciens. The ensemble gave their début at the Salle Pleyel in Paris on 2 May 1895 and performed throughout Europe with great success. Thereafter Waefelghem devoted himself entirely to the revival and study of the viola d'amore. He quickly became one of the greatest viola d'amore players of the 19th century, and being a highly enthusiastic researcher, restored to the world the complete library of music for the instrument which had sunk into oblivion. 

The University of Edinburgh - Musical instruments museum - Bow for viola d'amore


The round, concave pernambuco stick has copper (?) or copper-coloured thread (?) winding and ends in a modern head with an ivory headface with diagonal scratches on the face of the tip. The screw-mechanism, rounded, ebony frog has a metal ferrule with a wooden ferrule wedge, a mother-of-pearl slide, and mother-of-pearl decorative eyes.The ebony button is covered in bone and is octagonal with a rim.Weight: 83.Hair length: 601.Balance point: 269.5.Head height: 30.0.Head width: 13.4.Face length: 29.4.Tip diameter: 8.15.Frog diameter: 10.4 (measured 150 from the end to avoid the winding).Nipple range: 1.7 to 2.2.Period of oscillation: 1.35.Distance from pivot to tail: 74.85.Button length: 15.7.Ferrule width: 13.95.Frog + stick height: 31.7.Frog top length: 52.3.

The University of Edinburgh - Musical instruments museum - Viola d'amore

Soundboard of spruce; back, ribs, neck and head of sycamore; fingerboard, tailpiece and tail-gut protector of ebony; pegs and endpin of rosewood. Soundboard jointed in centre, not bookmatched, the grain on the bass side is wider than the treble. Flame sound-holes. Ebony/sycamore/ebony purfling. Varnish has been worn away where the chin rests on the soundboard. Locating holes on the soundboard at the top (plugged) and bottom (unplugged). Arch over soundboard 22mm. Golden colour varnish. Two piece back, deep figure rising from the centre to the edges. Neck length 150; fingerboard length 254, width at nut 36.0, at bottom 52.5.

The University of Edinburgh - Musical instruments museum - Viola d'amore by George Saint-George, c. 1890*:*/Maker:%22george+saint-george|||George+Saint-George%22

The University of Edinburgh - Musical instruments museum - Viola d'amore by Joseph Albanus*:*/Maker:%22joseph+albanus|||Joseph+Albanus%22

The University of Edinburgh - Musical instruments museum - Thomas Hulinzky, Viola d'amore, Prague 1782


Very thickly applied reddish brown varnish, cracked on the soundboard and head. Soundboard of spruce. Flame sound-holes. Beard marks on either side of the tailpiece. ebony/sycamore/ebony purfling around the edges of soundboard. Rosewood or ebony edging piece to protect the soundboard edge wood. 2 piece back, separate ribs for either side of lower bout. Sycamore back and ribs with medium figure, figure on back close to the horizontal but descends from the centre. Fingerboard, nut and tailpiece of ebony; neck and head of sycamore. Neck 151 long; fingerboard 246 long, 37.2 wide at nut, 55.4 wide at bottom. Interior soundpost plate width c50; fold plate width c20. Pegs of boxwood with ebony dots. Soundpost in position