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The instrument is a precious document of the centuries-old musical tradition of the ducal chapel and was made by the Brescia lute-maker Gasparo Bertolotti, known as da SalÚ (1542-1609). The Procuratia of St. Mark's purchased it around 1791 and donated it to the best bassist in its chapel, Domenico Carlo Maria Dragonetti (1763-1846), who became one of the most famous in the world and whose name was to be permanently linked to this instrument.
Venetian by birth (10th April 1763), he is nicknamed "the Paganini of the double bass" because of his virtuosity in playing the Gasparo da SalÚ, afterwards renamed "the Dragonetti". Since 1787 he is the chief double bass of the basilica orchestra, his performances in the basilica and in the churches and theatres of Venice give him great fame and excellent offers from abroad.
Domenico Dragonetti and his Gasparo da SalÚ astonish the musical world in those times. The most important characteristics of this union are the vigorous and whimsical temperament of the Venetian master and the particular sound quality of the instrument, famous for the beauty and softness of the high registers.
On the death of the artist, in 1846, according to his last wishes, the celebrated double bass was returned to St. Mark's basilica.
Gasparo da SalÚ Double Bass
Brescia, Gasparo Bertolotti named da SalÚ