Andrea Postacchini - Luthier

INFORMATION: “the Angel of Violin” - “the Marche’s Stradivarius”

By Mr. Florian LEONHARD - The Italian maker Andrea Postacchini is often referred to as the "Stradivari of the Marches". Although Postacchini is the most famous violinmaker to come out of this region, until now little has been known about him, with much of his output being credited to another Andrea Postacchini, due to the variation in style and refinement between his early and late work. According to the archives in the Santa Maria delle Vergini church in Fermo, there was only one Andrea Postacchini and he was born on 30 December 1786 in Fermo, a hilltop town near the east coast in Italy's marches region. Postacchini spent his life in Fermo and died there on 3 February 1862, age 76. Postacchini was from a wealthy, religious family of farm workers. It was decided that he should follow an ecclesiastical career and so the young Postacchini was sent to a monastery in Fermo. Here he met a priest who made violins using primitive tools. Postacchini became fascinated with this craft and when he left, at around the age of 28, he decided to become a violinmaker. Although he was self-taught Postacchini produced many fine instruments, all with elegant archings. His output was diverse and included not only bowed-string instruments but also guitars and bows and restoration work. All his instruments were beautifully varnished with a high-quality lacquer, which was usually yellow-golden in color. Postacchini's choice of wood was excellent. He used oppio (acer campester) for the backs, sides and scrolls, which he obtained locally, and he chose spruce for the table. This was from the alpine region and was similar to the wood selected by the Cremonese and other north Italian makers of that time. The tonal quality of his wood is excellent and shows that Postacchini was not only a brilliant craftsman but that he also had a good understanding of the sound qualities required. This, together with ingenuity of style, enhanced his reputation as a fine violinmaker. During his lifetime, Postacchini received great acclaim at exhibitions and fairs. But perhaps his greatest compliment occurred at an exhibition in Fermo in 1869 when his work was acknowledged as a unique continuation in direction and style of Antonio Stradivari, an accolade which gained his the title "Stradivari of the Marches". This 1842 violin is a characteristic and well-preserved example of Postacchini's work and bears the original label. The arching flows effortlessly, demonstrating his ability to execute an elegant arching, and the edge fluting is of medium depth. The slender f-holes are set at a slightly diagonal angle and are quite close to the C-bouts, leaving little space between the f-holes and the purfling. The outline, though flowing, is not completely rounded, intimating that ultimate precision was not one of Postacchini's priorities. The corners are neither too long nor too short and are slightly tapered, with the edges giving a light appearance. The purfling is cleanly executed and in this care extra fine, while the purfling corners are long and pointed. On this instrument the blacks and the whites are made from beech, although this choice of material varies from one instrument to another. The pegbox is elegantly tapered and from the side-view the cleanly finished throat can be seen. The model of the scroll is elegant and has Amati-like qualities. The interior work is functional showing some unblended tool marks, while the material chosen for the linings and the corner blocks is beech, although this varies from instrument to instrument. The back, which is cut halfway between slab and quarter, is made from two pieces of Italian field maple with flames descending from the center joint. The ribs are made from the same wood, while the head is made from plainer field maple with strong but fine medullary rays. The table, which is made from slightly hazeled pine with medium-width, regular grain, is an excellent tonewood. The varnish is an attractive, transparent yellow-orange color over a ground, which has oxidized together with the wood to create a beautifully intense golden-brown color.

By Mr. Claudio GIOVALÈ - "He learned his first violin making rudiments from an unknown friar and was then destined to priesthood. His ecclesiastic carrier was interrupted by the Napoleonic turmoil. In 1815 he was already "an outstanding maker of string instruments", in 1824 he signed a violin as his own work nr. 214. At Fermo, in his workshop of via delle Vergini, he made string instruments, guitars, bows and also restored them. His production was characterized by the accurate choice of the woods, the elegance of the curves and the fine varnishes he used, typically gold-yellow or brown-red. This built his reputation as an excellent violin maker when he was still living; his works, much appreciated for their beautiful sound, soon commanded high prices and were traded all over Europe. His late production bears the label "Andreas Postacchini Firmanus fecit sub titulo S. Raphaelis Arcang. 18..". After his death in Fermo, on February 3, 1862, Postacchini was named "the Marche's Stradivari". He is nowadays considered as a top class Italian violin maker of the 19th century.

By Mr. William HENLEY - In his late work, Postacchini used "generous proportions, very slight gradient, deepish ribs, deep cherry red varnish with a touch of brown impregnating through, elastic and as smooth as foulard. Most skillful modeling with no imperfections to be criticised by the keenest eyes. Players fastidious in tonal matters should welcome these superb violins as an invaluable economy of time when assiduously practicing for rapid fingering clarity."

By Mr. Tarisio “COZIO ARCHIVES” - Violin maker (1786 - 1862) Until rather recently, the existing work of brilliant Marche violin maker Andrea Postacchini was thought to be by two different makers. After his father's death during Postacchini's infancy, he was sent to a religious order where he picked up violin making from a monk who made instruments in his spare time. Like many of his contemporaries, Postacchini was thus largely self-taught, and his rough early work bears little resemblance to the splendid examples that were yet to come. Around the age of 28 Postacchini was forced to re-enter secular life, and he began to build the stylistically varied, beautifully executed instruments on which his reputation rests. His production displays a sure approach, superb materials, and thorough craftsmanship, with deeply carved scrolls, long corners, and widely spaced f-holes.

By Mrs. Carmela MARANI - "The International Violin Competition is named after this Andrea Postacchini, who was born in Fermo, lived there between the 18th and 19th centuries and was already considered in his time as "the Marche's Stradivarius" or "the angel of violin". We can still admire his outstanding violins, with their powerful and smooth sound, and also his violas, cellos, contrabasses, guitars and bows. Born on November 30, 1781, he worked at his creations in the workshop of number 3 of via delle Vergini, making refined instruments both for their esthetical beauty and the characteristics of their sound: soft, round but at the same time potent and selective. Qualities much valued by soloists at his times as well as nowadays. The original label that Postacchini applied to his late works, the most appreciated and valuable, bring the wording "Andrea Postacchini Firmanus fecit sub titulo S. Raphaelis Arcang. 18..". Like those of Stradivarius, some of Postacchini's techniques and "secrets", making his works unimitable, are still ignored. We refer in particular to the original elastic varnishes, of beautiful brown-red and gold-yellow colours and still in perfect conditions after 150 year, whose formula has gone with him to the grave."

By WIKIPEDIA - Andrea Postacchini (1788 - 1862) was an Italian violin maker born in Fermo, known as the "Stradivari" of the Marches (a region of central Italy). Postacchini was born on 30 December 1786 in Fermo, a hilltop town near the east coast in Italy's marches region. He came from a wealthy, religious family of farm workers. The young Postacchini was sent to a monastery in Fermo where he met a priest who made violins using primitive tools. Postacchini became fascinated with this craft and upon his departure (age of 28), he decided to become a violinmaker. Although he was self-taught, Postacchini produced many fine instruments, all with elegant archings. His output was diverse and included not only bowed-string instruments but also guitars and bows. The tonal quality of Postacchini's wood was excellent. During his lifetime, Postacchini received acclaim at exhibitions and fairs. At an exhibition in Fermo in 1869, his work was acknowledged as a unique continuation in direction and style of Antonio Stradivari, which gained him the title "Stradivari of the Marches". Raphaele 1823-1892) was Andrea's son and pupil. Postacchini spent his life in Fermo and died there on 3 February 1862, age 76. In 1993, the Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition] was organized in Fermo. The Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition was organized (in Fermo, Italy) to carry on the legacy of the genius of Andrea Postacchini the "Stradivari of the Marches".