Giovanni Accornero, Ivan Epicoco, Eraldo Guerci
The Guitar: Four centuries of Masterpieces
2008, 272 pp.
rilegato con copertina rigida, 24 x 34 cm
An exhibition dedicated entirely to the guitar and the catalogue that documents the rich material presented.
This is the first time that an exhibition has proposed such a wealth of masterpieces: seventy instruments, covering the period from the early seventeenth century to the second half of the twentieth century, that illustrate the development of one of the instruments that, throughout the history of music, has been most loved, appreciated and played.
An extraordinary collection of guitars by means of which to analyse the transformations of an instrument that, through four centuries, has evolved considerably, adapting to the needs and changes occurring in classical music. With the contribution of prestigious international museums and enthusiastic private collectors, the rarest and most valuable guitars surviving today have been brought together to illustrate this process.
A significant number of guitars were needed to illustrate such a long time-span as that from the 1600s to the mid-1900s. They take us from Baroque guitars, magnificently decorated and inlaid with rich and sought-after materials, among which the vary rare instrument by the great violin maker Antonio Stradivari must be mentioned, to classical guitars, which emancipated the six strings from the role of simple folk instrument. The historical progression that we propose also includes experimental and transition instruments, such as the seven-string guitar, the ten-string guitar, the harp-guitar, the lyre-guitar and the lute-guitar.
Both exhibition and catalogue contain refined instruments, unique for the quality of their construction, as well as guitars that once belonged to famous people: from musicians, Niccolò Paganini first and foremost, but also virtuoso guitarist par excellence Mauro Giuliani, to royalty, in the person of Queen Margaret of Savoy.
The catalogue is subdivided into two sections: the first, the text, discusses the history of the guitar chronologically. Detailed descriptions of each instrument provide the opportunity for a complete technical analysis, with all the necessary historical references for a complete and historically-rigorous picture. The second part, the illustrations, contains images of the instruments and detailed views of significant parts. The work concludes with comparative tables of the measurements of all the instruments exhibited.
Giovanni Accornero, after studying guitar during his childhood, soon became interested in violin making, building his first instrument at the age of 18 under the guidance of luthier Pietro Gallinotti (Solero - Alessandria). In addition to building and restoring plucked instruments, he devoted himself to the restoration of stringed instruments, attending Arnaldo Morano's workshop and participating in restoration courses.
In 2002, he built a guitar for the "Palacio de la Guitarra" museum in Tokyo, the first Italian guitar to become part of this prestigious collection.
Collaboration with the most authoritative international researchers, organologists, restorers, scholars, experts and luthiers has enabled him to acquire a deep knowledge on the history of ancient and modern Italian stringed instrument making, especially Piedmontese, and his certificates of authenticity are now internationally recognized by collectors, musicians, public and private institutions.
He has also collaborated on countless publications and has been curator of important exhibitions of stringed and plucked instruments.
Since 2011 Giovanni Accomero has been a member of the association "Friends of Stradivari," which is engaged in activities aimed at popularizing stringed instrument making in the world, especially violin making from Piedmont and Cremona.
Since 2012 he has been the official advisor to the German foundation KulturFonds - Peter E. Eckes, active in patronage operations in the search and purchase of stringed instruments to lend to talented young musicians. The latter include violinist Bin Huang, violinist Giovanni Andrea Zanon and the Cremona Quartet.
In 2013, he was appointed conservator of the collection of historical musical instruments donated by Eng. Carlo Alberto Carutti to the city of Cremona, for which he edited the catalog, on permanent display at "Le Stanze per la Musica" rooms, of the Ala Ponzone Civic Museum in Cremona.
Since 2015 he has been an employee of the Lugano-based company MusicMasterpieces, committed to supporting talented young musicians through the Adopt a Musician initiative, managing the loan of string instruments from important private collections.
Born in Novara in 1967, Ivan Epicoco in 1991 graduated in Musicology from the School of Paleography and Musical Philology in Cremona with a thesis dedicated to the evolution of the guitar and its performance practice.
Subsequently, he devoted himself to the study of Piedmontese, Cremonese and Bolognese violin making, both with regard to string instruments and the guitar.
His professional contribution to the publishing project and to the coordination of the publishing house's activities is of fundamental importance.
In 1996 he began his journalistic career at RAI, working first at the Culture and Entertainment editorial office of Tg2 and later moving to the TGR editorial office in Bolzano.
Since 1999 he has been at the TGR of Emilia-Romagna, of which he is currently chief editor.
Passionate about music in general, he approaches the history of violin making through study and archival research.
Thanks to a meeting with Dr. Roccia of the Historical Archives of the City of Turin, he entered the fascinating world of archives realizing immediately the enormous amount of research work still to be done. His friendship with Giovanni Accornero and collaboration with leading international researchers and scholars enabled him to gain a deep understanding of the history of Piedmontese violin making.
With the contribution of his research, he managed to shed light on the life of Count Cozio di Salabue and some of the most important Piedmontese violin makers (Primarily Pressenda, Fagnola and Oddone). In addition, he coordinated the valuable survey work on the history of luthiers in Emilia-Romagna preparatory to the production of Artemio Versari's volume.
In another capacity, he is in charge of the field of exhibitions and expositions, taking care of the presentations, contacts with institutions and foundations, and concretizing the scientific project at all operational stages, from the exhibition idea to the realization of the event.
Below a list of exhibitions of instruments:
• Casale Monferrato (AL), Palazzo Sannazzaro, 2005
Count Cozio of Salabue. Violin Making and Collecting in Piedmont
Exhibition of Piedmontese string instruments from the 17th to the 20th century.
• Alessandria, Palazzo del Monferrato, 2008
The Guitar. Four centuries of Masterpieces
Exhibition of string instruments from the 17th to the 20th century.
• Torino Antiquaria, Lingotto Fiere, 2013
Violin Making. Masters of the Piedmontese school
Display of stringed instruments from the great Piedmontese School.
• Reggia di Venaria, Sale dei Paggi, 2018
Precious Instruments, Illustrious Names. Lutherie and Music between Seventeenth and Twentieth centuries in Europe
Exhibition of thirty musical masterpieces that narrated four centuries of violin making, between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries.
Masters of the Piedmontese school
Violin Making and Collecting in Piedmont
Esposizione di chitarre, XVII - XX secolo
Annibalotto Fagnola, Stefano Vittorio Fasciolo, Riccardo Genovese