J A C Q U E S    D U P R I E Z





 This is the extraordinary story of an instrument that appeared in the 15th century at the height of the creative flowering of the Renaissance but later sank into oblivion because of its very large size (75 cms !).
In the 16th century it gave way to the smaller viola and then to the even smaller and higher-pitched violin, so that by the 17th century it was almost completely forgotten.

    After four centuries, only Paganini, the great 19th century virtuoso, was able to play it — thanks to his remarkably long arms!

    However, in the 17th century Stradivarius still regarded it (despite its awkward size) as the quintessence of the “Violino da braccio”, the very first violin dating from around 1450, that was played under the chin rather than between the legs like a “viola da gamba”.

    Despite its captivating sonority, its size made it practically unplayable — alas! — except in a few Ripieno passages (secondary orchestral accompaniment), lending colour much in the same way as the background of Italian and Flemish Renaissance paintings.

    In 1690, however, Stradivarius — fascinated by its power and warmth, which far surpassed the viola in beauty and richness of tone — made a number of “Medicea violas” to special order for the illustrious Medici family of Florence, specifically for Cosimo de Medici.

    And it was on the finest of these Stradivarii that Paganini first performed the “Sonata per la Gran’ Viola” (his new name for it) in London in 1834.

Now Jacques Dupriez is restoring the Baritone Violin to its rightful place. Through his persevering efforts Jacques Dupriez has recreated the Baritone Violin in a unique form, symbolising the new reality of the violin in the 21st century. Our less conformist age is more ready to accept innovations such as altering the traditional form to produce the contemporary Baritone Violin, combining ingenious design, the desire to maintain mathematical and aesthetic balance and precision, and an innovative, ergonomic form.

    Now, in the 21st century, the new Baritone Violin (the name reflecting its range and place in a vocal or instrumental ensemble) has attained full maturity.

    Jacques Dupriez brings this instrument back to life, creating through his own transcriptions a classical repertoire and giving us back a voice forgotten for over six centuries.

    The Baritone Violin is also gaining a place in music today thanks to its fascination for contemporary composers, and Jacques Dupriez has given some twenty world premieres for the Baritone Violin.

    New century - New violin


Paris - France