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Maker of Violins, Violas and Cellos

Carlo Bergonzi Violin 1757 (Copy)

This is a copy of a Carlo Bergonzi Violin that was originally made in 1757.  It was copied around 1850.  As seen in the photographs, there are several cracks to the top which have been repaired and reinforced.  The one-piece maple back is deeply flamed.  The top is of straight close-grained spruce.  This is a soloistic instrument with a very large voice, rich resonance and excellent projection.  The sound is sweet and silvery and the strings are even across. 

 

The violin was played by Miss Helen Vogel for all of her professional career, including many years as the only female member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in the 1920s and 1930s.  It should be noted here that when her father purchased the violin for Helen, he was told that the instrument was actually made by Carlo Bergonzi himself.  One can only imagine the disappointment when many years later Miss Vogel was informed by an appraiser that her violin was a copy.  

Bergonzi worked in the shop of Antonio Stradivari, doing repairs for the great master.  During Bergonzi's career he made over 300 of the most beautiful violins on earth.  If Miss Vogel's instrument had been genuine, today it would be worth several hundred thousand dollars.

As a sign of the times, she received the following letter from the orchestra dated Feb. 18, 1931, written by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Manager of Personnel, Reuben Lawson:

"My Dear Miss Vogel:  
        It is with very real regret that we have to inform you that we shall not require your services as a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra after the close of the current season of 1930-1931.  
          In giving you this advice, we hasten to say that there has been not the least dissatisfaction with your playing, and also that your devotion to your duties, attendance upon concerts and rehearsals, your behavior and personal conduct have been above reproach.  
        As the sole woman member of the Orchestra, your position has no doubt been a somewhat difficult one, and the non-renewal of your contract is only for the purpose of removing a difficult situation and getting the Orchestra back to the status which it always should have maintained, i.e., that of a band of men musicians only.  You have our best wishes for a successful future and you need not hesitate to call upon us for endorsement of your artistic capacity.

Yours very truly,
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Reuben Lawson, Manager of Personnel
Endorsed by:  Stuart M. Thompson, Orchestra Manager"

A copy of the above letter, along with a newspaper article about Miss Vogel during that time, come with the original alligator case that protects the instrument.  

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