Category: mandolin history

mandolin history

William Jonas Fletcher jun. – Mandolinist – Fletcher’s Standard…

Long time ago I could buy a mandolin method – Fletcher’s Standard Mandoline Tutor. I found some information about other compositions of the same author with publishing dates in the late 19th century. The method was most probably published in 1896.

Recently I found some articles about the Fletcher family in some B.M.G. magazines from 1962. I have compiled the relevant pages in the following gallery:

Biography of William Jonas Fletcher jun.

MOST FAMOUS William Jonas Fletcher, Jr.

The eldest child and easily the most famous of this gifted family was born on October 18th, 1874. His early years were devoted to the violin; indeed, in 1895 he gained an Honours Degree from the College of Violinists.

Then quite suddenly he switched to the mandolin. No doubt, as was stated officially, this was partly for business reasons but it was roumored (though it might have merely been idle gossip) that the inequitable reward elsewhere of the gold medal in a contest had a good deal to do with this abandonment of the violin.

In after years, however, he always asserted that a working knowledge of the violin gave a mandolinist a technical advantage over players lacking such experience.

He was tall, good-looking and of slight build. Though apt to fuss a little when things went wrong prior to a concert, every one in the orchestra – and indeed throughout the fretted instrument world – loved “Will,” as he was known to all.

He was married on Christmas Day , 1901, when he was twenty-seven – his wife being Hannah Hilda Grandi, a mandola player in the orchestra. He was always the star soloist at the orchestra’s many concerts and was renowned for his expressive style, admirably clear picking in fast passages and his arched wrist. Indeed the records of his solos issued in November 1901 by the Edison Phonograph Co. were considered the most satisfactory mandolin recordings until then. I wonder if any can have survived ?

He was supposed to be the first English-born player of the mandolin to make use of the extended fingerboard.

Apart from his numerous compositions (and to a sound musical training he joined the gift of melody) his repertoire was extensive, consisting mainly of Bach and Beethoven – always from the original scores. He often appeared at the St. James’s Hall and similar concerts, (starring with Cammeyer, Farland and Obregon) and his career, brilliant as it was, presaged still greater triumphs when the world of fretted instruments was stunned to learn of his death from pulmonary tuberculosis on Sunday, 16th October 1904.


Fletcher’s Standard Mandoline Tutor is available for download from the Petrucci Library: https://imslp.org/wiki/Fletcher’s_Standard_Mandoline_Tutor_(Fletcher%2C_William_Jonas)

mandolin ensemble

The Wisconsin / Vega Project – Exploring America’s Forgotten…

The New Vintage Frets is an American mandolin ensemble based in Wisconsin. In 2018 this ensemble produced a CD titled:
The Wisconsin/Vega Project CD


This unique CD offers present day recordings of century-old mandolin ensemble arrangements thoughtfully selected from Wisconsin-based mandolin orchestra libraries. Pieces in the collection were published in either the 1890s or early 1900s. The recordings were made in 2017 and 2018 with string parts played on antique, Vega brand mandolin-family instruments.

Fencing Master (Jas Harper) – Life Performance

More information about this CD can be found on the website of the New Vintage Frets:
https://newvintagefrets.com/cds/

Playlist The Wisconsin/Vega Project

Review:
https://shepherdexpress.com/music/album-reviews/the-wisconsinvega-project-by/

Review:
https://www.wuwm.com/post/new-vintage-frets-friends-combine-antique-mandolins-vintage-wisconsin-compositions#stream/0

Website New Vintage Frets:
https://newvintagefrets.com/

mandolin history

Jean and Janvier Pietrapertosa – Father and Son –…

Jean und Janvier Pietrapertosa belong to the mandolin players and mandolin teachers that helped to make the mandolin popular in the region of Paris in France around 1900.Both have written important mandolin methods , they have composed their own pieces and and arranged the popular music of the time.

Until today not much is known about the biographies of father and son Pietrapertosa. In many cases no difference is made between the two as if it was just one person namend J. Pietrapertosa.

I have recently found a document – a dictionary about the contemporaries – that contains short biographies of both – the father Jean Pietrapertosa and his son Janvier Pietrapertosa. The book that can be found in the French National Library bnf is dated to 1906, the copy from archive.org is dated to some years later.

Dictionnaire national des contemporains: contenant les notices des membres de l’Institut de France, du gouvernement et du parlement français, de l’Académie de médecine…. T. 5 / sous la dir. de C.-E. Curinier (1906) http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k82888j.image

The same book at archive.org: https://archive.org/stream/dictionnairenati05curiuoft#page/n73/mode/2up


Father: Jean-Ferdinand-Salvator Pietrapertosa

PIETRAPERTOSA (Jean-Ferdinand-Salvator)

Musicien, né à Naples (Italie) le 10 juin 1855.

Déjà, dans sa ville natale où il accomplit ses études, M. Pietrapertosa s’était fait connaître comme mandoliniste solo, lorsqu’en 1882, il vint en France, où il acclimata bientôt son instrument, qui y était presque tombé en oubli. Il devint, peu de temps après, mandoliniste solo de l’Opéra-Comique, puis de l’Opéra.

M. Pietrapertosa a écrit plusieurs compositions pour la mandoline, dont les plus importantes sont la Nuit d’automne et la Marche du Mandoliniste. Il est l’auteur, en collaboration avec M. Alissa, de la musique de Mariage galante, opéra-comique de MM. Oswald et Boucheron, représenté à l’Olympia en 1892, et d’une Méthode de Mandoline.

On lui doit aussi l’invention d’un système perfectionné de mandoline et d’un pupitre-pédale.

Naturalisé français en 1892, M. Pietrapertosa est décoré du Medjidié et de divers autres ordres.

Translation:

PIETRAPERTOSA (Jean-Ferdinand-Salvator)

Musician,born in Naples (Italy) on Juni 10, 1855.

Already, in his hometown where he completed his studies, Mr. Pietrapertosa had made himself known as a solo mandolinist, when in 1882 he came to France, where he soon acclimated his instrument, which had almost fallen into oblivion. He became, shortly thereafter, solo mandolinist of the Opéra-Comique, then of the Opera.

Pietrapertosa has written several compositions for the mandolin, the most important of which are the “Nuit d’automne” and “Marche du Mandoliniste” . He is the author, in collaboration with M. Alissa, of the music of Mariage galante, opéra-comique by MM. Oswald and Boucheron, represented at Olympia in 1892, and a Mandolin Method.

He also owes the invention of an improved system of mandolin and a pedal console.

Naturalized French in 1892, Mr. Pietrapertosa is decorated with Medjidie and various other orders. Read more “Jean and Janvier Pietrapertosa – Father and Son – Mandolin Methods and Compositions for the Mandolin”

mandolin history

The Italian Mandolin: Its Evolution, Nomenclature and Types –…

Alex Timmerman has compiled a poster with the most important Italian mandolin models. He has asked me to help to share this poster.

On this poster you can find mandolins that have been built between 1650 and 1927. You can follow the evolution of the different models, the models are arranged according to the years when a model was built.

I have split up the picture to give you an impression of the poster, you can download the complete picture in good quality from the website of Alex Timmerman.

 

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