Updated: Thursday, 13 Nov 2008, 5:32 PM CST
Published : Thursday, 13 Nov 2008, 5:32 PM CST
APPLETON - Centuries old songs, a bit of Haydn and Beethoven, performed for
the first time on brand new instruments, and the quartet's father,
intently listening to every note.
"It's absolutely great," said violin maker Douglas Cox. "I spent so many hours at the bench hearing crunch crunch, snip snip. That's the voice of the instrument while I'm working on it. But the whole idea is to make this kind of sound."
A sound Douglas Cox is still trying to tweak and mold the day before the instruments make their debut at their permanent home of Lawrence University.
"It would be good to see about freeing the viola out," mentioned Cox during rehearsal.
Cox spent the better part of a year crafting the one-of-a-kind quartet, made up of two violins, a viola, and cello.
"The bigger challenge with these instruments was not to get them alike, but to get them different," said Cox. "To have the voices of the instruments distinctive enough so while they blend together, there is still a distinct color in each voice."
"To have four paired instruments that were made all at the same time and meant to play together is something incredibly special," said Brian Pertl, the Dean of Lawrence University's Conservatory of Music.
While Cox says his work with the instruments is done, they're still unfinished, only half-completed.
"The energy the players put into it, the experience they get is the next half," said Cox.
With the instruments having an expected life span of 300 years, it should be an experience students will be able to cherish for centuries. The custom instruments will make their concert debut Friday night in Lawrence's Harper Hall. The performance begins at 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public.