- Philip J. Kass
(b Milan, Italy, Aug 2, 1770; d Milan, Italy, 1844). Italian violin maker. Rivolta became active in Milan just as the collector Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue arrived in that city. Cozio took him under his tutelage as a potential successor to the Cremonese tradition, as he had attempted earlier in Turin with G.B. Guadagnini. Rivolta worked with the tools and patterns of Stradivari, acquired by Cozio in 1773; several violas, made using Stradivari’s CV form, won awards at Milanese competitions in 1816 and 1818. In later years, struggling for income, he unsuccessfully approached both the city and the conservatory for appointment as a violin maker.
Rivolta’s wood selection tends to local stocks and often shows rooty figures and even nail holes. His varnish is an attractive golden brown to reddish orange and is usually harder than classical varnishes. In addition to his fine violas, made in the smaller sizes preferred by present-day musicians, his cellos, guitars, and especially double basses also proved particularly successful....