The Strad magazine, September 2013 issue: In focus: Ferdinando Garimberti, Milano 1929
Copyright © 2013 Alberto Giordano – The Strad magazine. All rights reserved
Ferdinando Garimberti was born in Mamiano di Traversetolo, a small village in the hills around Parma on January 6th 1894; his father was a blacksmith. In 1902 the family moved to Milano and soon after Garimberti’s father quit his old job and he took over a tavern in via Trotter; Ferdinando Garimberti was introduced to violin making by chance: a regular customer of the tavern was Romeo Antoniazzi who in 1910 had his workshop a few blocks away: Antoniazzi encouraged the young boy to assist him in his workshop for a few months; then after Garimberti was addressed to the workshop of Romeo’s brother Riccardo, and he came in contact with Leandro Bisiach. Having served the army from 1914 until the end of the World War in 1918, Garimberti got back to violin making in 1920 only, thanks to the request of Leandro Bisiach to make violins for his firm: it seems he also worked in this period for Giuseppe Pedrazzini. In a few years Ferdinando Garimberti started working on his own and he grew a reputation among the musicians that allowed him to gain a good position in the milanese environment; he was winner of first prizes at the Royal Philharmonic academy in Rome for a violin and a cello in 1927, winner of a gold medal at the same competition in 1931 for a cello, and first prize in Cremona in 1937 for a cello and second prize for a violin. Garimberti worked for his entire life in Milano were he died in 1982; he was a teacher at the Cremona violin making school from 1963 to 1966.
The style of Ferdinando Garimberti is rooted in the milanese tradition of the XX century: he made use of models from Amati, Guarneri and sometimes Guadagnini, although his favorite one was from Stradivari; he had a sharp technique and very clean touch, somewhat close to the one of Giuseppe Ornati. Garimberti never had pupils working in his workshop: his influence over modern and contemporary violin making is anyway strong and especially in Cremona Garimberti’s models are still today often interpreted.
Made in Garimberti’s early period, the cello hereby focused shows a rather instinctive style if compared to his mature period’s works. Made from an external mould, the cello shows blocks made of spruce and linings made of willow: linings are quite high and consistently thinned and finished with sandpaper; the interior is labelled “Ferdinando Garimberti fece in Milano l’anno 1929” and marked with an oval firebrand inside on the back and outside on the rib joint. Archings are full and round, consistently carved in the centre bout and well connected to the borders.
The edge-work features quite a wide purfling, with the ‘black’ made of ebony and the ‘white’ made of a strong flamed maple set at 5.5mm from the borders; purfling’s corners have no extensions, scoop is of medium depth, well rounded with no tool marks visible.
Ef-holes are cut with a fast and secure gesture, the scoop in the lower palettes is deep and it is enhanced by the curve of the archings. The scroll shows in the rear and front view a strong tapering, the cut of the turns is deep and perfectly executed: the general carving of the scroll reveals a fine balance between an accomplished carving technique and an instinctive stylistic approach. The spirit varnish of a yellow colour is carefully laid over an intense and reflective ground.
Measurements in mm:
- Back length – 753.5
- Upper length – 350.5
- Middle length – 235
- Lower length – 443
- Body stop – 405