Wooden't It Be Lover-ly: FIN!
|A much younger, thinner me with my Abell. :-)|
|The Abell flute in pink ivory wood!!|
And, not that I am even *remotely* in these two fabulous players' league, but here's me playing the Mendelssohn Midsummer Scare-zo on my Abell:
Like myself, Alexander was also originally a violist...you *have* to like that in a fellow! :) (He is also an extremely accomplished player of the Bulgarian kaval, which he also builds; the balalaika; and the cimbalom!)
|The Man himself, working on one of his flutes! (Which appears to have a one-piece body/foot)|
As with several of the other flutemakers we've discussed, I like very much that Eppler offers a variety of woods to choose from (namely grenadilla, cocuswood, and *snakewood*, which is very adventurous indeed! Snakewood is notorious for splintering, but Mr. Eppler has devised a proprietary method of treating the wood that prevents this from happening).
Perhaps my favorite thing about his flutes, both wood and metal, is that every flute is built standard with a C# trill key. A man after my own heart, I tell you! One-piece bodies are also available, and he does absolutely exquisite repair and restoration work, so if you are the owner of an older wooden instrument (a Rudall Carte, perhaps, or a Lot or a Mollenhauer), he is THE man to send it to to get it back in tip-top shape!
His wooden headjoints are also widely sought after by flutists for their metal instruments, and having played on several of them, I can certainly see why. They are extremely rich-sounding, with incredible projection and really quite fine craftsmanship.
It's proven difficult to find video footage of an entire wooden Eppler flute being played, but the renowned Seattle flutist Felix Skowronek (who was quite close with Eppler, and in fact inspired him to start making wood flutes) played a cocus Eppler head on his cocus Rudall Carte body, and I've just stumbled across some fantastic footage from the mid-80s of him playing it in his quintet, Soni Ventorum (with Bill McColl, who played a custom-built BOXWOOD Buffet clarinet with gold keys! :) :) :) )
Find out more about them at the Eppler Flutes website!
That about does it for the States, I think...let's head back 'cross the pond and check out some more!
First up, we have the...
FLUTEMAKERS GUILD OF LONDON
Officially formed in 1961 by 7 flutemakers from Rudall Carte who wished to continue the tradition of handmade flutes as RC was being absorbed by a larger corporation, the FMG has turned out some extremely impressive examples of the wooden flutemaker's art. Though they've made numerous flutes in silver and gold, what really sets FMG apart, at least in my estimation, is the quality of their wooden flutes and headjoints. There are few instruments that feel quite as organic and "alive" in the hands as a FMG wood flute, particularly those that were created with a one-piece body/foot. Though their works has largely been in grenadilla, there are FMG flutes and heads out there in cocus, and I've heard tell of a few in various other woods, though I've not seen them.
I would love to point you to the FMG website, but there seems to be a bit of confusion right now as to exactly *who* is currently making up the Flutemaker's Guild...I am under the impression that current FMG work is done by Michael Allen, who is (I believe) the craftsman of the handmade FMG headjoints that are currently offered by the venerable English flute shop Trevor James on their top-tier Recital model flutes. (Though Andrew Oxley may also still be involved?) Past members of the Guild include Howel Roberts, who we saw earlier, in part 2; Harry Seely, Ewan McDougall, Martin Gordon, Roger Harris, Chris Bouckley, and several others, all who have gone on to great renown as makers of flutes and heads in their own rights.
However, I digress (though I would LOVE a clear history of the FMG, so if anybody reading this can shed some light, please do!)...let's have a looksee at some FMG wood flutes!
This gorgeous cocuswood FMG flute is from the collection of Felix Skowronek, who we discussed just a bit ago in the Eppler segment. A great lover of the wood flute, he amassed quite a collection of them, and this beautiful example is currently for sale via David and Nina Shorey of AntiqueFlutes.com. (Photo credit: David and Nina Shorey, Antiqueflutes.com)
This one, as you can see, is in standard 3-piece head/body/foot configuration. FMG is also well known for making flutes with a one-piece body/foot, as the one below (also via Antiqueflutes.com) :
And no, thine eyes do not deceive you, this is yet another flutemaker who offers their wood flutes with a C# trill key! :-)
There is a GORGEOUS FMG wood flute in one-piece body configuration, with an additional Alexander Eppler headjoint, currently for sale via Anne Pollack at YourFluteWorks.com (FMG Wood Flute w/Eppler head!) Contact Anne to try and buy this amazing flute! I would myself in a heartbeat if I had $14K laying around :-D
Let's take a listen to the gifted and stylish Elizabeth Walker play some Bach on her FMG (one-piece body) wood flute!
|The magical Snakewood Sakurai!|
|Sakurai flute in "Complite" composite, tulip-wood finish, with artificial ivory tonehole inserts|
|Sakurai in true ebony wood (with artificial ivory toneholes)|
|Sakurai flute in kingwood, with sterling silver tonehole inserts|
Listen to that high register! It's like butter up there!
The New Voice flutes are only around $1,000, and available in a wide variety of colors. (I prefer the color of the flute I'm playing in that video, which looks almost like aged boxwood from a distance).
Hear some lovely CPE Bach performed on a Grenaditte C flute! (Note that they also produce piccolos, G treble flutes, and bass flutes in this material! :) )
Should you have an interest in any of the Guo flutes, they are available from nearly EVERY flute retailer on the planet these days. Some of my personal recommendations of shops to deal with should you want a New Voice or Grenaditte are:
Flutist's Faire - Betsy Winslow Trimber
The Flute Farm - Robert Strouf
I do hope this has been as fun for you to read as it was for me to write, and I wish you all the best and as always happy fluting! (And welcome to the World of Wood!)
Stay tuned as we next talk about wooden headjoints and all of the different woods that are used in making woodwind instruments!