Reply To: Kueng Marsyas and Moeck Rottenburgh

Ken In Dallas

Alessandro… I own a Grenadilla Moeck Rottenburgh Alto . I have never even seen a Marsyas. These are both the top end of what some call “mid-priced” factory made recorders. In my currency (and generalizing) the Moeck is $1000 and the Marsyas is $1500. Antique Sound Workshop here in the states says the Marsyas requires extremely light breath pressure and offers to increase that if desired at the time of purchase.

My Moeck is a ‘workhorse’ in that it does everything “well.” I’ve tried better voiced and more articulate instruments priced up to near $2500. The Moeck remains my choice. Its voice is more on the flute side rather than reed. Mine has a robust low F. The low G isn’t too, too far from the voice of the rest of the notes. Mine is smooth and even transitioning between the high and low octaves. I have to play live before an audience without the opportunity to warm the instrument. Its cold voice is fine.

I also own a Grenadilla Moeck Rottenburgh Soprano and feel I can say much the same about that instrument – “A workhorse.” Perhaps for ensemble playing and blending I should have started out on Boxwood instruments, but I have a Mullenhauer Soprano and Alto for that situation. Mine are Pear and blend nicely. I also have a very old Boxwood and a newer Rosewood Tenor, the latter of which is a Moeck. While these cannot be compared, the Moeck again is reliable and a pleasure to play.

My hearing is ‘experienced.’ I agree with those that say that no two recorders sound the same. I will not buy an instrument without a trial period and ability to return it. Given what you’ve said above, I’d wait for an early music or other festival and upon playing a maker’s instrument, I’d ask for a private trial in a quiet room, best done with a selection of a few examples. Do not fear to say “No, thank you.” Our relationships with our instruments are long.

If I HAD to shoot in the dark, I’d go with a Moeck. Here in the States one shop is the factory authorized service shop and offers revoicing free for up to two years after purchase. I’d investigate that entire issue in Italy. My Pearwood Alto had a terrible voice. A factory authorized repair made it a delightful instrument that I continue to play in groups.

You are right to be cautious, you are right to seek opinions and help in places like this Forum, and you are right to want to be happy in your selection.

Well done… and best of luck. — k —