Ask anyone for the name of a violin or piano maker, and they’ll probably be able to summon up Stradivarius and Steinway. What about horns? Do concertgoers ever look closely at these instruments – noticing, perhaps, that some have four, others five valves? That there’s a bewildering range of shades and colours, from golden to silver, usually polished and lacquered or left to tarnish gracefully? Start talking to horn players and brand loyalties will quickly be established. Europeans, especially Germans, love the idiosyncratic Alexander 103, and many British players favour horns made by Paxman, now based in Southwark. The big, dark sound favoured by Hollywood session musicians might well be obtained on a vintage big-bellied Conn 8D.
Cheaper horns are mass produced, but there’s always been a market for handmade ones. Building them is an exacting, exhausting process, one which the British horn maker Tom Fisher is happy to outline in his workshop in a terraced house in a Peak District village.
Read the full article about Tom Fisher on theartsdesk.com.