Presentation by the President of the Italian Violinmaking Association Anna Lucia Maramotti Politi
I have always thought of the A.L.I. as a cultural organization that would allow violin making to take flight beyond the localisms that so humiliate it when they want to impose an unrealistic superiority of this or that school. In truth, Italian violin making is great because it has developed in a patchwork of territory, characterizing itself in various ways and allowing different artistic personalities to emerge.
In fact, to speak of violin making means to speak of artistic personalities, of masters who are such insofar as they achieve, through personal skills, a unique and unrepeatable expression, a mark of their own that manifests itself in the timbre and form of the instrument.
In fact, this is art: while the instrument offers music a potential function (precisely the timbre), it manifests a formal beauty that combines tradition and expressiveness.
that combines tradition and expressiveness. Violin making art is like architecture: beautiful to live in as much as it responds to the function of living. To take flight, then, for violinmaking means having the opportunity for comparison, for comparing the results obtained, for recognizing one’s own paths, for valorizing traditions that do not close themselves off in a noble past, but regenerate it. Even in the observance of a professional scruple, each luthier manifests his own personal mark.
Therefore, themes such as the safeguarding of schools, themes such as the proposal to try one’s hand at making “copies”, themes such as “restoration” and “the development of subsidiary studies to violin making” become the object of confrontation and dialogue among violin makers and among those who pay particular attention to this art.
The A.L.I. has its own specificity and achieves its objectives when it nourishes this internal potential of violin making. A.L.I. takes flight when it promotes those skills that enrich violinmakers and allow them to reflect on an activity that passes through the tool only after having passed through the intellect and the heart.
In these months of my presidency I have repeated these reflections several times in public. In a socio-economic context that is not always easy, maintaining the specificity of each school is a first defense against the homogenization of a globalizing market.
Helping people to understand how excellence is in variety avoids attributing to the model, whatever it may be, the character of the archetype. Art is the child of imagination, it is not a merely rational product. Reason is an instrument of imagination and not vice versa: this is the great difference between arts and sciences. It’s good not to forget it!
But once the dialogue in Italian violin making has been set up in this way, it becomes necessary to develop skills and knowledge in a continuous comparison, whatever disciplinary sector they come from. Knowledge is a horizon to which the more one looks out, the more it expands. The need to take the ALI and overcome those peaks that delimit the boundaries returns.
In this perspective I thought that my presence could be the continuity of that of the architect Sergio Renzi who has spent his life on these topics.
The hope is not to become complacent about a past that, certainly not in a presumptuous way, can be considered glorious, but to work so that Italian violin making has something to suggest to music and to those who enjoy it, to the material culture that in an object such as a musical instrument shows inventiveness and leaves a deep mark: evidence of the unique and unrepeatable personality of the violin maker. It is on the basis of these reflections that I am pleased to publish this presentation, which is first and foremost a reverent and affectionate testimony of my respect for Italian violin making.
Presentation by the president of the Associazione Liutai e archettai professionali Gio Batta Morassi
The Italian Violinmaking Association was founded in Cremona in January 1980 for the exclusive purpose of providing cultural and technical assistance to its members, bringing together professional violin and bow makers, luthiers, scholars, experts and lovers of the art of violinmaking, and amateurs, and is open to all those who accept its aims. The ALI’s official organ is the magazine “Liuteria, Musica, Cultura”, which publishes cultural, musical, scientific and technical articles on violin making and reports on the most important national and international events. The group, composed of the most qualified exponents of the Italian violinmaking world, has already established itself in the most prestigious national and international competitions, continues to carry out promotional activities in Italy and abroad with numerous exhibitions and maintains contacts with foreign institutions and associations for a useful exchange of experiences. It has to its credit the drafting of professional ethical rules, the publication of an indicative price list of national character and a publication with curriculum and photos of an instrument for each author. I believe that, working on these sound principles animated by great passion for their work and continuing on the path taken, we can maintain and strengthen the noble examples that we have inherited from the glorious Italian violinmaking tradition.