Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
August 21
Can You Guess?
We talk about the operetta Pirates of Penzance below.  In it Frederick's nanny, Ruth mistakenly (due to her poor hearing) apprentices him to a pirate. Can You Guess to what professional she was supposed to apprentice Frederick until he was 21?

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.

Bonus Question:
Why couldn't Frederick end his apprenticeship when he was 21 years old?
What Else
Happened
Today?
1627 - Death of French composer and lutenist Jacques Mauduit in Paris.

1893 - Birth of French composer Juliette Marie Olga Lili BOULANGER in Paris. Prolific composer in her short life of 25 years. Sister of teacher Nadia.

1919 - Birth of Canadian-English composer, violinist and harmonica virtuoso Tommy REILLY.

1938
- The classic song Ain't Misbehavin' was recorded by Fats Waller.

1965
- Barry McGuire's Eve Of Destruction was released.

1965
- The Lovin' Spoonful's Do You Believe In Magic was released.

1976
- It was announced by RCA Victor records that the sales of Elvis Presley records passed the 400 million mark.

1980 - Debut of American pop singer Linda Ronstadt on Broadway in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.
Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri was born August 21, 1698 in Cremona, Italy.  He was born into a family that already had a great violin-making tradition.

Guiseppe's Great-Grandfather, Andrea Guarneri (1626-98), was the apprentice of Niccolo Amati.
Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri
1698 - 1744
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The violinist is that peculiarly human phenomenon distilled to a rare potency--half tiger half poet. 

Yehudi Menuhin
Did You Guess?
Frederick's father wanted him to be a ship's "Pilot" not "Pirate."

Did you see the color clues?

Bonus Answer: Frederick was apprenticed until his 21st birthday.  He was born on February 29, which only comes every four years.  So when he was 21 years old he had only had 5 birthdays.
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violin shirt menuhin quote
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Andrea's son Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Guarneri (1666-1739?) crafted violins in Cremona.  His elder brother, Pietro Giovanni Guarneri (1655-1728), settled in Mantua and is known as Peter of Mantua; his instruments are particularly highly regarded.

Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Guarneri also had two sons. Pietro Guarneri (1695-1765?), became known as Peter of Venice.  He broke from the Cremonese school of violin making, and utilized some features of the Venetian school.
But the most illustrious member of this famous family of violin makers was Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri (Cremona, Italy, 1698-1744).  He is more commonly known as Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu.
Giuseppe kept the basic design of Antonio Stradivari with only slight changes.  He flattened out the back of the violin and the belly (or table).  This may have been inspired by instruments made by Maggini.  Giuseppe's f-holes are more elongated than those of Stradivari.  The body length of his violins was almost always 13 7/8", but was sometimes shortened by 1/16".  And his varnishes were oil varnishes which were orange or orange brown, which took on a reddish tinge at times.  In all, Giuseppe probably never made more than 250 violins, of which about 150 still exist.  He also apparently made several violas and at least one cello.

The work produced instruments with a very rich tone.  Among violinists who have treasured Giuseppe's instruments is Nicolo Paganini.

Below is a scan of a label placed inside a Guarneri del Gesu violin.
Giuseppe added "del Gesu" to the name out of respect for Jesus Christ, and all of his labels contain the letters IHS, which is the Greek abbreviation for Jesus (IHS) beneath a cross on the labels indicate reverence for the Holy Name.
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