Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have bad news and good news. After a 6-hour
visit to the emergency room night before last, occasioned by almost choking
on my own secretions, I have been found to have pneumonia, which slowly is
improving. Unfortunately, being sick like this costs me several thousands of
dollars each day, since there is no one else to do my job.
On the bright side, I received Martin Skowroneck's book in the mail
yesterday and have had time to read through it. I think it is one that many
of us will find of interest, and we owe Tilman a great debt of gratitude for
translating it into English. Most of it, of course, is of a technical nature
that speaks primarily to other makers, but there are many sections that an
amateur can understand, particularly those chapters describing Mr.
Skowroneck's philosophy of hpd making and the history of how he came to
adopt it as his profession.
The book is beautifully designed, and there is a section of color
photographs that I found fascinating. One interesting tidbit: in the
discussion of soundboard thinning, Sko observes that the Vaudry soundboard
actually is thicker at the edges than in the center, and that this may
account for its relatively thin, non-sustaining tone. I have not heard the
original instrument, and know of no recordings that have been made on it,
but I have played Sko's Vaudry that lives in Leonhardt's bedroom. Although
he does not say so, I would guess from the tone of GL's instrument, and from
Sko's remarks about the foolishness of slavish "copying," that the
soundboard of the "copy" is thinned in the more conventional manner. Tilman,
do you know?
At any rate, I recommend this book highly to makers and others interested in
the history of the revival.
James R. (Jay) McCarty, MD
Fort Worth, TX
"Sine arte, scientia nihil est"