Fortune, not fake!


Lisa Grodin and her baroque violin.

Lisa Grodin and her baroque violin.

Lately I’ve become a fan of the BBC television show, Fake or Fortune? in which two journalists try to prove a piece of artwork by a famous artist is fake or genuine. So I was reminded of that series when I heard about the violin brought by our houseguest, Lisa Grodin from Berkeley, CA. She is a baroque violinist with the early music group, El Mundo, which will be giving a concert at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu tomorrow, January 26th at 7:30 pm. (The concert is sponsored by Early Music Hawaii; tickets are going fast, but can still be obtained by going to the Early Music Hawaii website.) El Mundo will be giving a concert of Spanish, Italian and Latin American music of the 17th and 18th centuries.

You see Lisa purchased a violin which was purported to be a fake. It turned out that it was authenticated as a Paolo Antonio Testore (1700-1767). In case you don’t know who that is, he was a member of an Italian luthier family who worked in Milan. Paolo was the second son of Carlo Giuseppe Testori, who was known especially for making of double basses. That was the same era of fine violin-making as Stradivarius, Guarnari, Amati and others — all 18th century violins. As I said earlier, Lisa bought her instrument because it supposedly was a fake. But the violin turned out to be authentic!

“I actually refer to the violin as a ‘mutt’ because the body is Italian and dated circa 1736, but the scroll of the violin is 18th century French,” Lisa laughs. As you can see, the violin has no chinrest like a modern violin, and it was obviously all hand-made. It is strung with gut strings and is pitched at A=415.

Say! I just found a Carlo Giuseppe Testore violin (Paolo’s brother) on the Christie’s website, sale 2298, lot 158, which is selling for $218,500! You can see it for yourself by clicking here! I don’t think Lisa paid quite this much for her violin!

BowsShe also showed me her collection of baroque bows, which you can see above. From the top down, they are:

1. A transitional bow, 19th century.
2. A French bow, tapered, 18th century.
3. An Italian bow, also called a Corelli bow.
4. A dagger bow, also called a dance bow or a Monteverdi bow. It’s used in 17th century Spanish or Italian music.

El Mundo’s concert promises to be spectacular and is not to be missed! The group consists of Richard Savino, director and guitar; Jennifer Ellis-Kampani and Nell Snaidas, soprano; Paul Shipper, Adam LaMotte, Lisa Grodin and John Lutterman, strings, guitars and percussion.

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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2 Responses to Fortune, not fake!

  1. Martin McConahy says:

    I too own a violin that has a label Carlo Testore f. Milano 1725, with the 25 handwritten in. I was recently told it is probably a German or Czech reproduction made in the late 1800’s. Can you give me any information on how this violin was authenticated. Thank You for your time.

  2. Bill says:

    I have become Lisa’s fanboy lately. Happy to hear she got such a rockin’ deal on a fiddle.

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