Giovanni Tononi, sold to benefit the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
The Tononi family is best known for the fine instruments made by Carlo Tononi in Venice but the greatest instruments of Giovanni and the early works of Carlo in Bologna are exceptional in their own right.
Attractively flamed maple and excellent quality spruce make this violin one of the best examples of early Bolognese violinmaking.
Our understanding of the history of the Tononi family is neatly summarised by Roberto Regazzi in an article he wrote for Cozio in 2014. We know that Giovanni was active making instruments from at least the 1680s until his death in 1713. He was assisted by his son Carlo and we know that Giovanni’s brother, Pietro Andrea, and Carlo Annibale’s brother, Felice, were also documented as makers but no instruments by them with original labels are known to survive. Giovanni died in 1713 and shortly thereafter in 1717 Carlo moved to Venice.
Lot 251 in our October New York sale is an exceptional violin made by Giovanni Tononi in c. 1701. Based on a broad model with attractively flamed maple and excellent quality spruce, this instrument is among the finest examples of the early Bolognese school.
This violin as well as lot 246, a violin by Matteo Goffriller, are being sold by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra to benefit its endowment fund.
About the SPCO
Renowned for its artistic excellence, remarkable versatility of musical styles and adventurous programming, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world. This past September, the SPCO entered its 58th season and have recently undergone several transformations with the opening of its new home, the Ordway Concert Hall, the addition of a new generation of players, and significant changes in the scope of its artistic vision. Committed to broad community accessibility, innovative audience outreach efforts, and educational and family programming, the SPCO offers the most affordable tickets of any major orchestra in the United States. Also devoted to championing new music, the SPCO is primarily an unconducted ensemble that works in close collaboration with a diverse series of artistic partners, and have commissioned 148 new works in their 58 -year history so far.
One consistent feature of Tononi instruments is the locating pins are set on the centreline for both one and two piece backs and they are set in by several millimetres from the purfling.
The narrow-set sound-holes follow an Amati pattern but stand slightly more upright and don’t follow Cremonese conventions for positioning.
The lower sound-hole wings are tapered and rather long relative to the upper wings.
The Tononi family tree: Giovanni, Pietro Andrea, Felice and Carlo Annibale are documented as instrument makers.