Opus 34 - Violin

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The String Quartet

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      The Guitar
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    B artolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri (1698-1744), known as Giuseppe del Gesù, was the last and most celebrated member of a family of  Cremona luthiers. His violins are unquestionably as renowned as those of Stradivari.

      Violin - CMC 92-13.1-2/S92-3499/CD95-652
    In the manner of Giuseppe Guarneri
    By John Newton
    Desboro, Ontario
    Maple, spruce, steel
    Overall length: 59 cm;
    body: 35.5 x 20 cm;
    ribs: 3 cm

    Guarneri was no doubt influenced by his countryman, as he was by the distinguished instrument makers of Brescia, whose instruments combined the two great traditions of Italian baroque stringed instruments. He was nicknamed "del Gesù" because of the labels that appear on his violins, bearing the monogram IHS (Jesu Hominum Salvator) and a Roman cross.


    John Newton

    Toronto-area luthier John Newton has been crafting instruments full-time for ten years. His manual skill was developed, he says, by building reduced scale models and by drawing. Newton began to play the violin when he was around fifteen, and his love of music for stringed instruments eventually drew him to instrument making. After building five violins on his own, he vowed to become a professional luthier. He apprenticed under Otto Erdész, a Romanian-born luthier and master viola maker who had settled in Canada after living in New York for seventeen years. In the course of his apprenticeship, Newton learned all facets of stringed-instrument making, from wood selection, design and varnishing to final adjustment.

    Newton made several violas under Erdész's direction and became his assistant. In 1981, he received a Canada Council grant that enabled him to continue his studies and launch his career as a professional luthier. To date, he has made approximately one hundred instruments, which are widely appreciated by professional musicians and are played in major orchestras such as the Toronto Symphony, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, and the Amadeus Ensemble. Newton says that he is fascinated and inspired by the demands of his craft: balancing manual dexterity and musical understanding with artistic expression; respecting an ancient tradition while meeting the practical needs of contemporary musicians; and achieving consistent quality while bearing in mind the numerous variables inherent in natural materials.

      John Newton's label