When Douglas Spence donated the 1828 cello by John Corsby of Northampton he had had restored, he also gave an endowment to fund the purchase of a suitable bow for it.
For a variety of reasons it has taken until now for us identify a bow that is perfectly right for it. This search has been undertaken by Josh Salter, the cello’s current awardee with the assistance of George Ross, the previous awardee.
Josh writes: ‘I tried a range of classical bow copies from the maker/dealer Philip Brown of Newbury to find the one that works best with the Corsby. Among the criteria one thinks about are the sound colour and dynamic potential, range of articulation, strength and flexibility of the stick, and whether or not there is a feeling of balance throughout the bow’s length’.
‘In the end, the bow that suits the cello best is a modern one by Percy Bryant, which has a wonderfully warm and dark sound. In historically informed performance we are very much inspired by the ideas of music as rhetoric and speech, and this bow seems to be able to produce a whole range of vowels and consonants – vital for creating a variety of shapes and articulation. It is a wonderful match for the cello in terms of period bow style, and a vital partner for performing the great Classical repertoire to which the Corsby is so well suited.’
The Trust is tremendously grateful to Douglas Spence’s generosity, and are glad that the wait has resulted in a real partnership between authenticity and faithful reproduction that will hopefully last another 188 years, and be valued by many future generations of cellists.