The Demands of Nineteenth Century Concert Artists as Revealed Through Clients' Letters to the Gand House of Violin Making

An Inquiry into the Changing Relationships between Violin Virtuosos and French Houses of Violin Making through the 19th and 20th Centuries

  • Gael Francais


This article focuses on the correspon dence of violin virtuoso and composer Henri Vieuxtemps with the famous violin
shop of Charles Francois Gand and his two sons, during the period of 1838–1861. Not only does this series of
letters reveal the interdependence between the Maestro and one of the most famous violin makers and dealers of Paris in the 19th century but it also gives insight into their deep friendship which evolved over the years. In addition,
correspondence between other prominent musi cians of the period and the House of Gand, relating to sound issues,
set up, and supplies is discussed. These letters reveal the constant struggle musicians had in fi nding the right strings and high quality supplies for their instruments, especially in a period where touring was still quite an adventure. The article will also shed some light on the relationship between the successors of Charles Francois Gand and their ever growing clientele, a relationship which was passed on from one generation to the next.