What's new in my workshop?
Most wonderous things leave my workshop: Carved from heavy timber or glued from thin pieces of precious woods musical instruments are shaped in ways they were produced some hundreds of years ago! Inspired either by depictions or (parts of) rare originals I reconstruct instruments and sounds as were heard five or six hundred years ago. For more than thirty years I try to improve every detail in my work both stylistically and musically. The results are sound tools which bring back places and times in our imagination.
Detail: musical instruments from Giorgione's workshop in Castelfranco Veneto.
I have always loved the world of musical instruments of the middle ages. Thus I made bowed instruments from the 12th to the 15th century in many shapes and sounds over the years.
A number of large vielles were the output of this project within the last years.
At the moment (and for some more time!) I am involved in the reconstruction of strings of the late 15th and entire 16th century. These years saw the development of the violin family from the beginnings in c. 1510 to the classical shapes of Cremona. Other styles than the Amati patterns were done at the same time in other places and they deserve our love and devotion in no less quality.
The imagination and skill of these ingenious men should be our standard in the workshop.
During the winter of 2016/17 I modelled the first parts of the G. Ferrari - violin. Neck, pegbox and scroll I chose to make somehow similar to the ones of the proto-violin - that was the easy part. Finding a solution for the vaultings of both back and front was less simple: Good old Gaudenzio designed the three tops that are well visible in his artwork differently and I had to make up my mind and - while having the knives in my hands - find the overall similarities of the curvatures. I ended up with a long, steady vaulting, quite high and with a decent curve near the edge.
I decided not to add either a bar or a soundpost in the instrument. The well prepared ground got a thin layer of a transparent oil varnish for protection. When the instrument is played with a light and short in-style bow it has a crisp and at the same time neatly balanced sound.
During the 2019/20 season I worked on historic bows from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. I made a reconstruction-copy of the bow preserved in Bologna with the violetta of the Saint Caterina de Vigrí (c. 1450), complete reconstructions of early violin and viola bows (c. 1520) and, finally, the bow to the Hummel violin of 1681 - thanks to dates from the Nurnberg museum!
In 2022 I already spent many hours in the workshop. I made several new bows and also another 5-string Vielle. After that I wanted to finish an instrument I had started years ago and also convert an old instrument of mine.
The body of a Rebec - catching dust in the workshop for years - needed completion: I worked with spruce, maple, nut and holly. The rather elegant, three-string instrument of the late middle ages appears now in Renaissance style of c. 1510.
I made a reconstruction of a particular Vielle on a sculpture in Moissac in 1989 (!) when still playing with Sequentia. Many years after that I decided I wanted to make some changes in details, which I finally did: I made a new top and finger board and a new bridge that transports all the five strings over the finger board (no bordunus next to the neck). The instrument also got new pegs. At the time it has the Hieronymus II - tuning - a fourth higher.
After returning from sunny Greece I started a new viola (body length a little below 42 cms) after G. P. Maggini. The model is quite highly arched and was probably done shortly after the death of his master Gasparo in 1609. It is supposed to appear in a modern set-up.
My "old" viola, a Gasparo finished in 2021, gets a second coat of varnish as long as the sun is still hot in the garden.