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My philosophy on recorder making

 

Apart from personal style matters - I like to make my instruments with a relatively open windway to have as much flexibility as possible - it is beyond any doubt that the recorder should work well in all registers and be well in tune - no need to say really!

Of course I make my instruments after historical models found in museums and in private collections. It is very inspiring to have the opportunity to see and sometimes play the originals, as I could in the case of the Terton soprano and the Debey alto in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. I think the art of instrumentmaking today, and thus of recorder making, is to find out what the playing- and sound characteristics of the instrument are, keeping those intact, and for matters such as pitch, tuning. To 'improve' possible weaknesses in the original model (because it is old and time has left its traces when it comes to the today quality of the instrument). We have to make a translation to nowadays demands and performance practice. In other words: I don't want to say that I make copies. I couldn't even do that, because nobody knows what the originals sounded like, played like, what the measurements were inside (windway, bore) in their times. Besides, I think it's not so creative to copy what has already been done in often such an excellent way. Plus last but not least: we live now, have heard The Beatles, Beethoven, Stravinsky etc. and our ears have developed. We travel a lot, play in bigger halls, play chamber music in concerts instead of playing chamber music to entertain a dinner party, as they did in the past. Because of all these kind of matters I am not so much for making copies, I believe we have to admit that there's no point denying changes in life and cultures over the centuries. And my opinion is that we, both players and makers, have to use our intelligence to make logical translations towards our time, respecting what the old masters have done.

Having said all this I am nevertheless always surprised how much difference there is between let's say a 'copy' of an alto after Denner, Debey or Stanesby. To me it is evident that it does indeed matter which original you take to work from, and that some characteristics are will always stay.

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Apart from making a high quality instrument for you, I consider helping you as an important part of my work, also after you have bought your instrument. After all wood is subject to change while being played on and so is your recorder. When buying an instrument, people sometimes forget how important it is that the maker is also there after the purchase, and one can get tempted to buy an instrument impulsively because one falls in love with it, fair enough, but don't forget that the instrument will change, so ask yourself the question also what happens then. Will the recorder be as nice again as it was in the beginning? Is it played a bit or brand new? In other words: will it be a bit stable or do you need to go back to the maker after a week? All these questions are as important as the 'falling in love' with the recorder when it comes to making a choice, so therefor I also am aware of my role as the maker of your instrument. This implicates that my work doesn't stop at the moment the recorder is delivered; on the contrary, only then the life if the recorder starts. So revoicing, retuning, reaming; for all afterwork I find it very important that you can rely on me. After all being a player myself, I know how frustrating it is to play on an instrument that was once beautiful but now merely problematic.

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