Raffaele Calace

Raffaele Calace mandolin from 1909


Raffaele Calace, born in 1863 and died in 1934, was an Italian composer, performer, teacher and luthier who left an indelible mark on the history of the mandolin. His contribution to the evolution of this plucked string instrument is recognized as revolutionary.

Photo by Raffaele Calace.

(Source: www.alchetron.com)

Calace grew up in a musical family and began playing the mandolin at a young age. Endowed with exceptional talent, he quickly stood out for his technical skills and his sense of musical expression. However, he was not only a virtuoso, but also developed a deep interest in violin making.

At that time, the mandolin was mainly used as an accompanying instrument in musical ensembles. Calace set out to push the limits of the instrument by transforming it into a virtuoso instrument intended for soloists. He developed new playing techniques and explored the expressive possibilities of the mandolin.

But Calace didn't stop there. He also brought major innovations to mandolin violin making. He simplified the construction of the instrument, making its mass production easier. He also invented new variations of the mandolin, such as the mandolyra and the cantabile lute, which offered new sounds and musical possibilities.

Calace's impact on the mandolin was immense. His work helped elevate the instrument's status from a simple accompaniment to a respected solo instrument. His virtuosity and his compositions have also inspired many other musicians and composers to explore the possibilities of the mandolin. Thus his influence on the mandolin and music in general remains undeniable, making him one of the most significant figures of the history of this instrument.

In this dynamic, it is notable that Calace was also very gifted in commerce. He is particularly recognized in Japan, where his influence still persists today.

But he will know also distribute its instruments across Europe, particularly in France and Belgium. Thus in these countries only one dealer will obtain the right to resell Calace mandolins. The latter will be Jérome Thibouville Lamy who will obtain the sale of 3 types of Calace mandolins between 1909 and 1912 (at least).

Extract from Jérome Thibouville Lamy's catalog of 1912, page 111, mandolins by Raffaele Calace.

(Source: http://www.luthiers-mirecourt.com)

Here for sale is a mandolin by Raffaele Calace made in 1909 for sale in France through Jérome Thibouville Lamy. Witness to the special relationship between Calace and France, this mandolin, beyond its manufacturing, aesthetic and sound quality, reflects a time when Italians and French mingled to support the very popular demand for the mandolin.

Technical characteristics :

  • Top: Spruce
  • Base: Cédrat (Lemon tree)
  • Sides: Rosewood (rosewood edging)
  • Neck: Rosewood veneer
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Width at nut: 27 mm
  • Radius: Flat
  • Frets: 18 frets
  • Scale: 330 mm
  • Profile: Neapolitan
  • Pickguard: Varnished rosewood
  • Country of manufacture: Italy, Naples
  • Year: 1909
  • Finish: Natural
  • Decorations: 5-ply ivory-ebony purfling on the table edge and 9-ply fillets on the soundhole edge / White mother-of-pearl circle inlay key markers
  • Details: Normal traces of wear given its age / Very good condition

Like all our instruments, this mandolin has been completely restored and carefully adjusted.

In addition, it has very pleasant playing comfort, with a low action, flexible playing without losing the dynamics of the sound.

With a subtle, balanced sound, rich in harmonics and with a good projection which reflects all the sonic generosity of this instrument, this mandolin is ideal for all enthusiasts, collectors and/or mandolinists.

Recently seen