A Fine Italian Viola by Giuseppe Stefanini, 1975. 16 5/8”
Giuseppe Stefanini (1908 - 1992) was a master craftsman who produced dazzling instruments both under his own name and for several other famed Italian luthiers. Stefanini’s training began under the employ of Luigi Vistoli in Lugo, Italy. He went on to work for Nicola Utili and Pietro Borghi after World War II, the latter of which introduced Stefanini to the Bisiach family, with whom he would collaborate closely for decades. He produced many instruments for the Bisiach family. Mostly, for Giacomo and Leandro Jr. Bisiach, until his move to Brescia in 1957. He continued to produce instruments under his own banner, and for others, eventually moving to Florence in 1986, where he would begin another close collaboration with Paolo Vettori which would continue for many years. His instruments often follow forms of the great classical makers but are often personalized in subtle but characterful ways; fuller archings, oil based varnish after his move to Brescia, narrow channeling, etc. He remained in Florence until his death in 1992.
This fine Italian viola by the ex-Bisiach shop maker, Giuseppe Stefanini was made in 1975 for Mario Gadda in Modena, to whom the interior label ascribes the instrument; offered with a certificate of authenticity by Florian Leonhardt attributing it decidedly to Stefanini. With a back length of 16 5/8” the viola is manageable for most, balancing easily in the hand, and boasting a fine lyrical voice with a clear, colorful alto character - nuanced yet pronounced treble qualities, with a more sultry, woody timbre through the middle registers and broadening into the lower end. Oil varnish in the style of Gadda, with no repairs, nor any wear to speak of, less some rather light and highly aesthetic crazing to the varnish’s surface.