StewMac tools

Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Please put any questions about repairing your instrument or the finish on it in our Repairs section.

Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Barry Guest » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:48 am

sorsana1.jpg
sorsana2.jpg
I am doing a few things for the owner of this violin and I'm wondering if anyone has any information on Spiritus Sorsana's birth, death and history. The internet has precious little info on him other than a few sales in London and a recent sale at Christies that fetched $156,000.00. Any help would be appreciated.
Alumnus of Wood and Strings
User avatar
Barry Guest
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Barry Daniels » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:46 am

Looks like it was recently refinished or sprayed. Are you sure it's not a knock off?
MIMF Staff
Barry Daniels
 
Posts: 1734
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:58 am
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Jim McConkey » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:15 pm

If you can find a copy of the book Four Centuries of Violin Making: Fine Instruments From the Sotheby's Archive by Cozio Publishing (http://www.cozio.com/Luthier.aspx?id=74), it apparently has at least a short biography. Brompton's Book of Violin and Bow Makers also lists a Joseph Sorsano in the 1730s in Cremona, supposedly a disciple of Stradivarius, but others have questioned this name, saying it never turns up again. Maybe an alias? Or maybe a real name before he adopted Spiritus? At least it is something else to search on. Happy hunting!
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore
User avatar
Jim McConkey
 
Posts: 780
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:00 pm
Location: Way north of Baltimore, MD

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Barry Guest » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:40 pm

Barry Daniels wrote:Looks like it was recently refinished or sprayed. Are you sure it's not a knock off?


Barry, no, I think it's the real deal. Those photos don't tell the whole story, so here is a full frontal.....and back. It has not been re-finished. It has been in the one family for 120 years and they are now looking to sell it to prop up their grand children.

front.jpg
backsorsana.jpg
scroll.jpg
Alumnus of Wood and Strings
User avatar
Barry Guest
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Barry Guest » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:48 pm

Jim McConkey wrote:If you can find a copy of the book Four Centuries of Violin Making: Fine Instruments From the Sotheby's Archive by Cozio Publishing (http://www.cozio.com/Luthier.aspx?id=74), it apparently has at least a short biography. Brompton's Book of Violin and Bow Makers also lists a Joseph Sorsano in the 1730s in Cremona, supposedly a disciple of Stradivarius, but others have questioned this name, saying it never turns up again. Maybe an alias? Or maybe a real name before he adopted Spiritus? At least it is something else to search on. Happy hunting!


Thanks Jim, I'll look that up. However, I know that he worked in Cuneo (Cunei) which is 40 miles south of Turin (Torino), and lived there his whole life. He was a pupil of Cappa. His name was Spirito Sorsana, but he used the Latin on his label (Spritus). Many Italian luthiers did that, including Stradivari (Stradivarius). It wouldn't surprise if he actually met the great one, but he definitely wasn't a pupil of Stradivari.
Alumnus of Wood and Strings
User avatar
Barry Guest
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Jason Rodgers » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:23 pm

Wow, if that's the real deal, then that's some amazing provenance. What does the case look like to keep it so clean?
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
Jason Rodgers
 
Posts: 1543
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:05 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Steve Senseney » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:55 pm

Interesting!!

Does this have the shorter neck or the odd neck angle of the earlier violins.

Please educate me about the differences between the earlier violins and the more modern instruments. (besides being made in China)!
Steve Senseney
 
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Barry Guest » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:02 am

Jason Rodgers wrote:Wow, if that's the real deal, then that's some amazing provenance. What does the case look like to keep it so clean?


The case is your run of the mill leather case, not the original. It has been kept in a cupboard since 1977. In fact, it is quite dirty and has a number of cracks.
Alumnus of Wood and Strings
User avatar
Barry Guest
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Barry Guest » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:33 am

Steve Senseney wrote:Interesting!!

Does this have the shorter neck or the odd neck angle of the earlier violins.

Please educate me about the differences between the earlier violins and the more modern instruments. (besides being made in China)!


No Steve, the neck wasn't necessarily shorter, but the fingerboard is much shorter on the Baroque violin and the bass bar is generally smaller. The greatest difference, however, is the neck angle which is much flatter in the baroque. Most violins from the baroque period (1590 to 1725) were changed to compensate for the increase in concert pitch and the invention of steel strings in the mid 1800's. During the baroque, classical and some of the romantic eras in music from 1600 to 1860, concert pitch (A4) was as low as 380 Hz and as high as 435 Hz. The French were the first to pass a law standardizing concert pitch in 1859, thus causing measures to strengthen violins.
Alumnus of Wood and Strings
User avatar
Barry Guest
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Barry Guest » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:40 am

Sorry Steve, I didn't really answer your question. This violin has been changed to accommodate tension issues as stated above.
Alumnus of Wood and Strings
User avatar
Barry Guest
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Steve Senseney » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:01 am

I don't really do violins, but have heard/read a little about some of the structural changes.

I have never been around a Baroque violin and was curious if this was the original or had been altered.

And, you did answer my questions!
Steve Senseney
 
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Barry Guest » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:18 am

Thanks Steve. I've got to say that I'm in total awe of this little box made of wood. It is almost 300 years old, and even though it looks beaten up when you get close to it, holding that sort of history in your hands is a feeling that is hard to explain.

As you are probably aware, I am from Australia which wasn't even discovered when this violin was made in 1732. Hard to get your head around that one.
Alumnus of Wood and Strings
User avatar
Barry Guest
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:40 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby tony lubold » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:58 pm

It would appear that the peghead was spliced and from the photo even looks like a different piece of wood?
tony lubold
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 1:34 pm

Re: Spiritus Sorsana made in Cuneo in 1732

Postby Joshua Levin-Epstein » Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:03 am

I'm with Barry Daniels. The owners should get the instrument properly appraised. 120 years of provenance is sort of Hearsay in the violin world.

A story: Gary Karr retired from concertizing a few years ago and donated his bass to the International Society of Bassists to send around to promising bassists to play in concert. This bass was given to him by Koussevitzky's widow and was ostensibly an Amati made in 1611. The ISB thought went to have it appraised for insurance. The wood analysis (dendrochronology) showed that it was made in the 1800s and probably in France.

So a good appraisal would be a good starting place.
Joshua Levin-Epstein
 
Posts: 185
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:58 am
Location: Massachusetts


Return to Bowed Stringed Instruments and Bows

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Your purchase from these sites helps support the MIMForum, but only if you start at the links below!!!
Amazon music     Amazon books     Amazon tools     Rockler tools     Office Depot    

The MIMF is a member-supported forum, please consider supporting us with a donation, thanks!
 • Book store • Tool store • Links •