Cinthius Rotundus
Anon guitarr
Minor restorations



Perhaps the most challenging, and even contentious, form of restoration is to return an instrument to playing condition. A number of the many instruments I have examined and measured over the years would be suitable for such restoration, and this has occasionally been done, temporarily. But museums are understandably wary of having these precious survivors subjected to the stresses of being brought up to playing tension, and the possibility of them being damaged by players.

Still, how I would have loved to hear just a few sounds from the past when I was learning about lutemaking. It was years before I heard an old instrument played at all, and only recently have a very few of these old lutes been heard really well played and with authentic gut stringing. Their sound is a revelation, and one can immediately understand how players of the Baroque were so very willing to pay fortunes for, in the words of Thomas Mace,’pittifull Old, Batter'd, Crack’d Things

Occasionally, suitable candidates for resurrection do come to view, often through the salerooms. One such, the ‘Rauwolf’ lute, has become quite famous through the playing of Jakob Lindberg, in particular on a superb recording of Weiss on BIS cd 1524. This was a lute in a fairly complete state on purchase. It had a very attractive and finely varnished maple back, and soundboard with many original bars, made by Sixtus Rauwolf of Augsburg, perhaps as an 8c lute c. 1590. Attached was a beautifully shaped baroque lute neck, slim and elegant, by Leonard Mausiel, Nuremberg, 1715.

Both soundboard and back were somewhat cracked, but made of strong, dense wood, and it was thought that it would be sturdy enough to make a fine 11c baroque lute. The restoration to this state was carried out by myself, the lutemaker Michael Lowe, and the violin maker David Munro. David was involved because of his violin maker’s expertise with varnish repairs, and with making invisible crack patches, and he, interestingly, predicted that it would be likely to sound excellent (in other words, those old baroque lutenists knew a thing or two…)The work was done over the course of two years, and the result was immediately a revelation, an instrument with a quite outstanding tone and projection.

Cinthius Rotundus | Anon guitar | Sellas | Rauwolf | Langenwalder | Railich | Minor restorations



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