Magazine article Gramophone

ARTISTS & Their INSTRUMENTS: Gawain Glenton on His Newly Made Cornett

Magazine article Gramophone

ARTISTS & Their INSTRUMENTS: Gawain Glenton on His Newly Made Cornett

Article excerpt

"The instruments we used on our new recording of music from the court of James I were made by an Italian maker who lives in Tuscany called Paolo Fanciullacci. He's working with us to arrive at closer copies of actual historic instruments. It's tended to be the case that a lot of the cornetts people play are 'inspired by Venetian originals'--that's the phrase used--which means they're not really based on any one instrument but share some of the characteristics of generic instruments. But specific surviving instruments actually have quite different characteristics of timbre and can vary in pitch quite a lot as well. So we're working with Fanciullacci to push things forwards and get the closest copies yet made of specific instruments that we think are worth copying. It means we get to grips more with the tonal properties of specific instruments rather than generic ones. Maybe they have characteristics about tuning which inform how we think about the way we play.

The first modern generation of cornett player pioneers could walk into museums and say 'can I play your instruments', and they'd say 'of course'--this was back in the '70s and '80s. But now instruments are going behind glass cases faster and faster, and it's become impossible for cornett players of future generations to develop the same relationship with historical instruments. So partly of necessity we have to change the way we approach working with historical instruments. We can't play them, so we have to get makers to make new ones. …

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