Ref :   0908

A good French copy of a 1739 cello by
Domenico Montagnana
Mirecourt, 2014

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Everything about this cello is pleasing - from its visual appeal to its tonal properties which can be described as rich, sonorous and responsive. Its most outstanding quality, commented on by several professional musicians who have tried it, is its unusually easy response over a wide dynamic range. It is very easy to play - even the most difficult and complex passages are much easier on it. Added to this, the tone is of soloistic quality - balanced with good carrying power and penetration.

Rather than following the Stradivari model, this cello is based on the Montagnana pattern - preferred by many cellists for its wider structure which has been associated with deeper and at times richer sonority. The instrument has also been antiqued to have the appearance of an 18th century cello - very nicely done and very much a norm in lutherie today, to the extent that antiquing is a requirement and a criterion in some international violinmaking competitions such as the Violin Society of America Competition.

Close examination of this instrument shows remarkably tidy work with meticulous attention to detail - take a look at the photos and in particular the cornerwork which shows impeccable mitres and finish to the corner shape. The scroll is exceptionally balanced and elegant. Throughout this cello gives evidence of craftsmanship of a high order.

The two-piece back and sides are of well-flamed maple with an distinct regular straight narrow curl that truly appeals. Material for the top is also well-chosen - high grade tone spruce with medium to wide growth lines at the centre line narrowing considerably to the flanks. The neck and scroll are a repeat of the material used in the back - the neck is unusually nicely flamed, all the way into the scroll (see photos). The deep red-brown varnish is characteristic of French work and beautifully compliments the wood, adding a rich lustre to the appearance.

In this instrument the objective was strong tonal properties. The result is a cello representing an amalgam of excellent workmanship and an excellent choice of materials resulting in excellent tonal properties which competes with the best output of some leading master instrument builders.

This cello convinces as a serious instrument that conforms to the qualities one would expect from a professional cello.


Dimensions :
  Standard full-size, based on the Montagnana model.
Length of back: 74.8 cm
String stop length: 69 cm.

Condition :
  Impeccable. Brand new.

Provenance :
  Selected and imported by Johan Grobbelaar, who owns this cello.

Price : Withheld


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