’It is said, by the way, to have belonged to Paganini, and to have been gambled away by him’ - John Tiplady Carrodus

1743 'Carrodus' Guarneri del Gesu violin

In the past few years, Australia has become a classical music heartland with a number of its orchestras and ensembles achieving world renown. Many of its string players now perform on world-class instruments made by some of the most respected luthiers ever to have lived. The Strad Calendar 2023 celebrates some of those collections, with top instruments played by members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony, Australian String Quartet and some of the country’s greatest soloists.

1743 ‘Carrodus’ Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ violin

The 1743 ‘Carrodus’ violin by Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ is regarded as one of the supreme achievements of the luthier’s career. With a sound richer and broader than most violins, it is now on loan to the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) from anonymous benefactors and is played by ACO artistic director Richard Tognetti. It is named after the 19th-century violinist John Tiplady Carrodus, a pedagogue at London’s Royal Academy of Music who also performed at the Covent Garden opera house.

Carrodus in fact owned two Guarneris, although this was his favourite: ‘It is said, by the way, to have belonged to Paganini, and to have been gambled away by him, and called the “Cannon Joseph” on account of its powerful tone,’ he once wrote. ‘The varnish is in splendid preservation and dark red in colour; the other violin is almost as fine in tone, but artistically not so beautiful to look at.’ The instrument was later owned by the Austrian virtuoso Ossy Renardy, and was with him on the night he died in a car accident in 1953.

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