Ruggiero Ricci’s interest in the work of modern makers began in the mid-1990s, as he began to seek a replacement for his beloved ‘Gibson, Huberman’ Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ violin, and resulted in his release of The Legacy of Cremona in 2001, his recorded tribute to some of the best living makers, performed on 19 violins that had inspired him.
Ricci encountered the work of Frédéric Chaudière through the French soloist Jean-Jacques Kantorow, who owned a Chaudière violin. Ricci wrote to Chaudiére and asked to try one of his violins. The instrument that Chaudière sent was recently finished and Ricci bought it immediately. It was this violin that Ricci used in a private concert to mark his 80th birthday in Salzburg in 1998 and was later featured on The Legacy of Cremona CD.
The violin is based upon ‘del Gesù’s work from about the year 1735, a prolific period that produced such iconic works as the ‘Plowden’ and ‘d’Egville’. Instruments of this period are among the most refined of his output, made at a point where his own inimitable style had reached maturity but he was still following the standards of refinement held by Stradivari and Bergonzi. For the modern violin maker, this is one of the most appealing periods to copy, allowing clean and precise work to play a part in the creation of a great ‘del Gesù’ model. This 1997 Chaudière is not a copy of any specific Guarneri violin but demonstrates a deep insight into ‘del Gesù’s approach to making. It captures the spirit and expressiveness of the maker with tremendous empathy.