Recorder, alto (treble), boxwood, made by Arnold Dolmetsch, England, 1905-1939
This is a very rare example of a reproduction Baroque recorder made by Arnold Dolmetsch. Dolmetsch has been widely acknowledged as one of the main exponents responsible for the revival of early music during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, working not only as a musical instrument maker but as a musician, researcher and passionate advocate of early music. This instrument is possibly a copy of an original Bressan recorder which was acquired by Dolmetsch in 1905, and so is an important example illustrating the revival of early instruments and music at the beginning of the 20th century.
Dolmetsch initially worked for his father's piano and organ firm in France before studying composition, piano and violin in Brussels. He then moved to London in 1883 continuing his musical studies and personal interest in early music where he began researching the music of instruments that had long been abandoned as ancient relics such as viols, lutes and keyboard instruments including spinets and harpsichords. This interest lead to making copies of early instruments or restoring original examples. By 1925 one of Dolmetsch's sons, Carl, was put in charge of recorder production, overseeing the making of the now widely known Dolmetsch recorder. This example however pre-dates this period.
Brian Blood; The Dolmetsch Story, Dolmetsch Online, http://www.dolmetsch.com/index.htm
Margaret Campbell; Dolmetsch: the man and his work, (Hamilton, London, 1975).
Carl F Dolmetsch; "The Recorder or English Flute" in Music & Letters, Vol.22 No.1 (January 1941) pp.67-74.
Mabel Dolmetsch; Personal Recollections of Arnold Dolmetsch (Rutledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1957).
Nicholas S Lander; The Recorder Home Page, http://www.recorderhomepage.net/
W. McNaught; "Arnold Dolmetsch and His Work" in The Musical Times, Vol.81 No.1166 (April 1940) pp.153-155.
Curator, music & musical instruments
This recorder appears to be a reproduction Baroque recorder possibly copied from an original instrument by Bressan. Arnold Dolmetsch purchased an original Bressan recorder in 1905 (now in the collection of the Horniman Museum, London) which may be what this instrument is modelled on.
Very few instruments of this type were made by Dolmetsch prior to 1939. They apparently did not have serial numbers like later instruments and so are difficult to date with complete accuracy from surviving company records. From 1926 recorders, of a different type to this instrument, were made under the direction of Carl Dolmetsch. It is also from this date that more modern-style Baroque recorders were made by Dometsch which were pitched at A = 440Hz.