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Author Topic: Carlo Benvenuti, San Giovanni in Croce -- mixte in G / F#  (Read 1601 times)

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pgroff

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Carlo Benvenuti, San Giovanni in Croce -- mixte in G / F#
« on: November 15, 2013, 10:59:41 PM »

Hi all,

Here's an interesting small accordion with the label of Carlo Benvenuti, of San Giovanni in Croce (Cremona, Lombardy).  (Second and third photos attached below).

I've been curious about the tradition of interesting instruments made in this town, especially from 1860 to the 1920s, as mentioned in this thread:

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,13595.0.html

Although various museums, private collections, accordion history books and websites feature an accordion from San Giovanni in Croce, and there are definite stylistic features that many of them have in common, they seem to vary a lot also, especially in the bass systems.

As I have been working with Pierre Monichon's book, "L'Accordéon,"  that I have on loan at present, I noticed that he illustrates an accordion that may possibly be relevant to this manufacturing tradition, on p. 71.  Monichon does not give many details about the instrument -- does not list the maker's name or town, and no label is evident -- but he describes it as "one of the first Italian mixte models."  The first photo attached below is the same photo as in Monichon's book, as found on another site (the accordion that has no window for a maker's label).

http://www.organetto.it/media/Accor_4.JPG

From Monichon's caption it would seem that this accordion has a 2-row diatonic melody keyboard (no keys listed) and a "chromatic" (unisonoric, possibly mini-stradella) bass.  So it makes an interesting comparison with the 2-row Dallapè boxes (possibly in C/C#) that have  a 16- key (possibly mini-stradella) bass, as discussed here:

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,11386.0.html

The Benvenuti shown below turns out to have its melody rows essentially in G (outside row) and F# (inside row), with most of the 21-button melody keyboard arranged in a relationship that is a transposition of the Irish-American D/C# system, or the C and B rows of a GCB mixte accordion.  This makes an interesting comparison with the idea of a 2-row C/B melody keyboard, that triskel and I have recently been discussing:

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,13600.0.html

Benvenuti seems to have been active from 1909 to 1922.  Since this accordion has brass-plate reeds, possibly it might date from before World War I. 

I would appreciate hearing from anyone else who has a Benvenuti, or who can tell me more about this maker.  Or about the maker, city of origin, and/or date of the accordion in the first photo.  Thanks!

Paul Groff


« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 12:34:34 AM by pgroff »
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pgroff

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Re: Carlo Benvenuti, San Giovanni in Croce -- mixte in G / F#
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2013, 09:32:02 AM »

Here's a Dallapè from Stradella, listed now on ebay, that's very interesting to compare with the first photo above (the "early mixte" of unknown maker, illustrated in Monichon's book).  This Dallapè might be perhaps another candidate for "one of the first Italian mixte accordions:"

http://www.ebay.com/itm/171184960526

Photo is attached below, because the auction link will eventually expire.

The seller has recently added some information suggesting that the box is a "fisarmonica semidiatonica."

Again we have a box with 2 melody rows -- for this time and place, each row is likely to be diatonic.  Assuming that is true, the melody rows might likely be tuned either a fourth apart or a semitone apart (like the G/F# 2-row Carlo Benvenuti). 

If the description as a "semidiatonica" is correct, the bass side may possibly be a very early and minimal Stradella bass, with 6 basses and 6 major triads.

Like the 12 bass box shown in Monichon's book (and above), this Dallapè has the pallet-cover / grille attached with a small hook rather than with screwed clamps at top and bottom.  Like several of the San Giovanni in Croce boxes, this Dallapè has substantial turned brass feet (cabinet drawer pulls, as triskel has observed), and also has nicely formed moldings around the decorative windows or mirrors.  See also the Bozzetti and the "semitonata" of unknown make, in links I provided in the thread about San Giovanni in Croce, both of which have decorative metal corner protectors on the casework like this Dallapè.

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,13595.0.html

The current ebay Dallapè has a stamped metal grille, like the larger one in this museum collection, which also has a rectangular pallet cover:

http://mediatheque.cite-musique.fr/ClientbooklineCIMU/zoomify/zoomify.asp?INSTANCE=MULTIMEDIA&EID=MFIM000036160&TYPEDOC=MFIM

It would be very interesting to know if this small Dallapè might be tuned in G/F# like the Benvenuti, or C/B, or in C/C# as with the later Dallapè "chromatic" boxes sold through Vickers and discussed here:

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,11386.0.html

PG
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 12:49:50 PM by pgroff »
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pgroff

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Re: Carlo Benvenuti, San Giovanni in Croce -- mixte in G / F#
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2019, 09:27:30 PM »

Many thanks to Vittorio Nolletti, who has recently contributed to this research!

1. Vittorio has confirmed that Benvenuti was most likely the family name of this maker. (Both "Carlo Benvenuti" and "Benvenuti Carlo" are known spellings, and both "Carlo" and "Benvenuti" are known as surnames).

2. Vittorio has located a document connected with a possible identity for this maker. Quoting Vittorio (personal message to P. Groff):

"I found on online archives  a birth certificate of Carlo Giuseppe Camillo Benvenuti, October 24th 1902, born in San Giovanni in Croce. It was the only result between 1850 - 1950; anyway, that archive lists people born until 1904.
Just to see it:

http://dl.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Cremona/Stato+civile+italiano/San+Giovanni+in+Croce/Nati/1902/1613/005584470_00056.jpg.html

"

The online chronology of Italian accordion makers cited below* lists Benvenuti Carlo as active from 1909 to 1922. However, I know from Aldo Mencacini that children often began working in the accordion workshops at age 6, in Italy at this time. Thus it's possible that Carlo Benvenuti, born in 1902, could in a sense have been "active" by the age of 7 in 1909. However I suspect that the G F# accordion documented here is probably somewhat later work - possibly made closer to 1914 or even after the war.

*
http://www.accordions.com/articles/chronology.aspx





« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 01:35:06 AM by pgroff »
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