The Goffriller form
This cello is constructed on grand proportions and its present body length is 77 cm… The broad sweep of the lower bouts [is] a defining feature of Goffriller’s cellos. The wide arcs through the lower half of the bout continue almost uninterrupted across the lower block – whereas in most classical designs this area is flattened almost to straightness. Goffriller continues the sweep upwards into the lower corners, and the transition into the concave arcs of the corners occurs quite suddenly, giving the outline a rather high-hipped appearance.
The centre bouts are also interesting… they are very elongated and straight, giving the cello enormous width across the centre. This is absolutely crucial in producing the instrument’s profound tone.
The upper bouts have been reduced – very artistically – using the original edges and purfling… There is no real sign of disturbance, but the present outline is slightly bottom-heavy, as if seen in a distorting mirror. From the player’s point of view, however, this form is ideal, with a standard stop length of 40 cm, small upper bouts for the left arm to negotiate and huge airspace and resonance in the remaining, unaltered part of the cello.
…Goffriller’s [varnish] is normally dark red-brown and contained in a very thin, dry layer, exposing and emphasising the texture of the wood surface. This instrument, however, has a surprisingly pale hue, but the varnish is no less beautiful. It is thin and of a sandy gold colour with a soft texture, the pigment laid close to the wood.
Excerpted from a feature originally published in The Strad, December 2003 edition. Reproduced by kind permission.