For some reason, artists can become “much collected” artists. Remarkable life story, scarcity of records made, a record company more interested in fast bucks rather than taking care of their legacy (hello EMI :-) and voilà, people are willing to pay a small fortune for an original recording of that artist. Especially if it’s someone with a distinctive own voice and performance style.
“All of the above" cumulate in the Italian violinist Gioconda de Vito.
De Vito, born in 1907, started playing music on the mandolin, but quickly transferred to the violin.
Although she was almost kicked out for being unable to carry a tune in singing (!), she studied at the Pesaro conservatory and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome.
In 1932 she won the International Violin Competition in Vienna, but did not ambition a big international career. Instead, she became a teacher at the St. Cecilia Conservatory of Bari.
When she finally decided to record some of her repertoire (something she would
be reluctant her whole career, rare-vinyl record dealers bless her for ever about this...!)
she went to London and.... fell in love with David Bicknell, director of HMV division of EMI Records.
They married in 1949 and Gioconda de Vito thus acquired British citizenship.
In 1961, she decided it was enough, and devoted her life to housekeeping.
As a true Catholic, she found this role far more suited for her then her occupation on
the violin. Even a a plea from the Pope (!), for which she had regularly performed,
could not help. Gioconda de Vito died in 1994. Her unique, personal voice shines
through the noise of the 78RPM, which I have put on youtube. Glimpse of the record (and actual transfer of the record) are visible too in this video. Hope you will enjoy it!!
Gioconda de Vito (22nd Jun. 1907 ~ 14th Oct. 1994)
Romance for violin & orchestra No.2 in F major, op.50
29th May 1948, Abbey Road Studios, London
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Alberto Erede.