Each era of Italian violin making has produced a handful of makers whose work is today rated far higher than that of their contemporaries. Hence Nicolò Amati, Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri 'del Gesù' dominate the classical period, Giovanni Francesco Pressenda and Giuseppe Rocca are considered the greatest 19th-century makers, and in the 20th century we have Annibale Fagnola and Stefano Scarampella.
Scarampella (1843-1925) fully deserves his reputation as one of the finest 20th-century makers. Those familiar with the great Italian masterpieces find themselves seeking similar artistry in other instruments, and many of Scarampella's models satisfy that craving. A fine Scarampella is perhaps the youngest instrument to meet a soloist's demand for a projecting yet noble tone. Not all his instruments find equal favor with collectors due to a tendency at times toward haste and crudeness, and the occasional use of inferior materials, but his best works speak for themselves. Time will tell whether they can compete with the best 18th-century instruments, but it already seems highly likely.
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