in Shellac is
the first disc of its kind: a solo CD of new compositions and
improvisations featuring the rarely seen or heard Stroh violin,
accompanied by its begetter: the wind-up gramophone. In addition
to programme notes, the 12-page booklet gives a detailed history
of this fascinating instrument.
Stroh is distinguished by its large aluminium horn and diaphragm
amplification system that replaces the hollow body and soundpost
of a conventional violin. It was invented by John Matthias Augustus
Stroh in London - 1899, for the early horn gramophone and phonograph
recording studios, as normal stringed instruments were insufficiently
directional. The Stroh’s construction is based on the same principle
as the sound box and horn of a gramophone.
sweet nostalgic tone of the Stroh is combined with the surface
noises of heavily worn maltreated and modified 78 r.p.m. shellac
discs, as well as sounds from the gramophone mechanism itself
in a seven-part musical assemblage. Many new sounds and techniques
of playing are incorporated that are not possible on a conventional
fiddle. Also appearing on this recording is the Transylvanian
Violinofón - a folk instrument based on the Stroh violin
still made today in a remote region of Romania.
London born, Berlin based violinist and composer Aleksander Kolkowski
calls on a varied international career in new and experimental
music and music-theatre. He is principally known as an improviser,
having appeared in major festivals worldwide and on numerous CD
releases with leading artists. This is his first solo CD which
also features Crank Start, specially composed for him by
the British composer Robin Hayward where the Stroh violin also
closely imitates the mechanical sounds of a wind-up gramophone.