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George Gemünder's Progress in Violin Making With Interesting Facts Concerning the Art and Its Critics in General   By: (1816-1899)

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[Illustration: Geo. Gemünder]




Entered According to Act of Congress, in the Year 1881. GEORGE GEMÜNDER, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress.


George Gemünder was born at Ingelfingen, in the kingdom of Wurtemburg, on the 13th of April, 1816.

His father was a maker of bow instruments, and it was, therefore, from Gemünder's earliest youth that he devoted himself to the same art and the studies connected with it.

When he left school, it was suggested to his father that George should become a school master, as he at the time wrote the finest hand and executed the best designs of any among his classmates. His father was not averse to this proposal and decided to carry it out. George was, accordingly, directed to prepare for the seminary. The plan was not, however, in accordance with his own tastes or inclinations, and he followed it for a period of but three weeks, only to abandon it finally and forever, to take up that employment which accorded with his natural gift and gave scope for the development of his genius.

After his father's death, which occurred when George was in his nineteenth year, he went abroad, and worked variously at Pesth, Presburg, Vienna and Munich. Fortune smiled upon him, and more than once an opportunity was presented of establishing a business; but nothing that promised simply commonplace results and a commonplace life could attract his eye, since his mind, aspiring to improvement in his art, was constantly impelling him toward that celebrated manufacturer of violins, Vuillaume, at Paris. He plainly saw that in Germany he could not reach in the art that degree of accomplishment for which he strove, and, therefore, he resolved to find, if possible, at Strasburg, such a position as he had had at Munich. Through the mediation of a friend he obtained a call to go to a manufacturer of musical instruments at Strasburg; but upon his arrival he was astonished to learn that the man was a maker of brass instruments! Here was a dilemma. Disappointed in his effort to find employment, winter at the door and far away from home, what could he do? The manufacturer, whose name was Roth, perceiving his perturbation, was kind enough to ask Gemünder to remain in his house until he should have succeeded in finding such a position as he desired. Gemünder accepted the profered kindness, and after the lapse of six weeks he formed the acquaintance of a gentleman with whom he afterward became intimate, and who promised to write for Gemünder a letter of recommendation and send it to Vuillaume at Paris. Meanwhile Gemünder remained in Strasburg. One day, while taking a walk in the park called "Die Englishen Anlagen," he seated himself on a bench and shortly fell asleep. In his sleep he heard a voice which seemed to say: "Don't give way; within three days your situation will change!" The voice proved prophetic, for on the third day after the dream his friend came to him with a letter from Vuillaume, which contained the agreeable intelligence that Gemünder should go to Paris. The invitation was promptly accepted and Gemünder immediately started on his journey. When he arrived at Vuillaume's another difficulty was encountered, for Vuillaume had mistakenly supposed that Gemünder spoke French. By mere good fortune it happened at the time of Gemünder's arrival that a German professor was giving music lessons to Vuillaume's twin daughters, who in the capacity of interpreter informed Gemünder that M. Vuillaume was sorry to have induced him to come to Paris, because it would be impossible to get along in his house without French. Vuillaume kindly offered to pay Gemünder's traveling expenses from Paris back to Strasburg, but said, however, that should the latter be satisfied with nominal wages at first, he would give him thirty sous a day until he should have learned enough of the language to be able to get along... Continue reading book >>

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