Film: 8378

Music | 1960 | Sound | Colour


The manufacture of the recorder by Dolmetsch. Includes shots of the workshop and stars the Dolmetsch family. With Carl Dolmetsch, 1960's

The Staff of the Dolmetsch Workshop, Hazlemere, A Recorder Group from the St Maur's Convent, Weybridge

A group of school girls in uniform stand playing their descant recorders. They play from music on stands which they share one between two. Shot widens to reveal that they are being conducted by a nun wearing a black habit, and they are standing in what looks like a school hall. Shot of nun waving her hands. Close up of girl with curly hair concentrating on her music, seen through the music stand. Tracking shot of the girls as they play (possibly a couple of bays at back - or perhaps girls with short hair). [NB. There are opening titles over some of these shots].

Close up of a white dial telephone in front of a book shelf which rings. It is answered by a man wearing a brown polo neck who sits in a wooden chair. A girl (sitting opposite) gets up from her armchair and walks over to the table where he is sitting. Tree lined road. A white car (a Citroen 2CV ?) drives along and turns into a driveway marked "Jesses". The car parks in front of a detached brick house and the man and the girl get out (they've come to see Carl Dolmetsch). Shot of the stable block which is attached to the house and has been converted into living accommodation. Inside Carl Dolmetsch picks up a wooden tenor (I think!) recorder and talks about it. It is by Puis Bresson (?) - a French maker in London. He shows them an original "tutor" bought in auction at the same time dating from 1700 (it looks like a little book made of cardboard). He hands it to the girl who looks at it. The three have a riveting conversation about Carl Dolmetsch's father. Close up of the tutor - "The Compleat Flute Master". The pages are turned to reveal instructions and fingering diagrams. Carl plays a quick burst of "Greensleeves" on the recorder. He witters on a bit about Shakespeare and Henry VIII (who apparently had 76 recorders - large and small) before he plays the rest of "Greensleeves" - the version which they would have known. Doletsch picks up a modern version of the recorder and talks about the differences in the instrument. He plays a classical piece on it - close up of his fingers moving.

The white car drives and pulls up in front of the Dolmetsch workshop. Dolmetsch and the other two get out of the car and go inside. They walk into the workshop where recorders are being produced and packed. The visitors continue to ask questions of Dolmetsch as they walk around. A piece of rosewood is cut into three with a bench mounted circular saw. A hole is bored through the three pieces using a bench-mounted drilling machine. The chap explains the process to the girl. She looks interested (!). Grease is applied to the end of the spike which is used to bore the hole. The pair look at the sections of recorder which are already bored and are stored on shelves in the workshop. He picks a couple up and the girl looks through them as if they were glasses. Next the pieces are shaped on a lathe. The ivory for the mouthpiece is attached to the wood and this is shaped in a similar way. The detail of the mouthpiece is shaped using a sharp chisel-type instrument. The recorder maker plugs the bottom of the instrument and pours "banana oil" (apparently nothing to do with bananas) into it. He takes the cork out and the liquid is allowed to run through. The recorder is placed into a wooden "jig" and held while the finger holes are drilled into the barrel of the instrument. In another room a worker demonstrates how the wind way is cut into the mouthpiece. He gives the girl the piece of instrument so that she can hold it up to the light to see hole and look at the "fipple" (the step inside the wind way). He uses a band saw to cut the curved shaped into the back of the ivory on another mouthpiece. Another worker sits at a bench surrounded by hand tools. He puts finishing touches to the fipple and puts a block into the recorder (the bit in the mouthpiece) which he bashes in with a small wooden mallet.

In the office Carl talks to them about the tuning and tone of the recorder - "I have to give it a soul". He plays a scale on the recorder to listen to its voice. He removes the mouthpiece and looks through it with a magnifying glass. He knocks the block out in order to adjust it slightly. He uses a curved file to make sure that the inside of the recorder is smooth. He uses a small mirror on the end of a stick and his magnifying glass to look inside the recorder again. He uses a sharp pointed knife to remove a small amount of wood from the wind way, and checks it again. He knocks the block back into the mouthpiece and outs the recorder back together and plays another scale. He then plays a scale on a finished instrument to demonstrate the difference in tone. He shows the pair a pale wood "great bass" recorder which he stands up to play. Then he shows a darker wood standard bass. Next he plays a tenor recorder, then a descant (he mentions a treble, but doesn't play it). He also demonstrates a tiny sopranino

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