Kueng Marsyas and Moeck Rottenburgh

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    Alessandro Zanino

    Dear all,

    I already own an Alto Pearwood Denner from Mollenhauer and i’m now considering purchasing a Grenadilla recorder.

    My two options are actually a Moeck Rottenburgh and a Kueng Marsyas. I know that the difference in price is huge but i want to buy something that will stay with me for a long long long time. My problem is that there are no videos, no reviews, nothing at all about the Marsyas. The description Kueng wrote for this series is charming… seems exactly what i’m searching for (responsive to gentle blowing, easy to play, good for both beginners and advanced users) but i want to understand if the difference price is justified.

    Unfortunately I have no chance of trying any of them. There are no specialized shops here in Italy

    I would like to ask an opinion to someone who ever owned a Marsyas.

    I’m also wondering why there are no informations, reviews, videos around about them.

    Thank you in advance

    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 —

    Alessandro Zanino

    Thank you for your answer, I heard the same warning about the low pressure required to properly play a Marsyas and, thinking about my “blowing Style”, I’m a bit frigthned.

    Regarding the Rottenburgh, how do you compare it with a Denner from Mollenhauer with reference to the ease of playing clear notes avoiding awful sounds even in the high register?

    Unfortunately I have to shoot in the dark as you said but I usually buy instruments from Thomann, in Germany who allows the purchasers to return instruments within a month. At first, I will probably give a try to the Granadilla Rottenburgh.

    Thank you

    Ken In Dallas

    Point by Point:

    My Yamaha Ecodear Alto is what I feel is a low-pressure instrument. I don’t know how it would compare to the Marsyas, but I sometimes feel that I’m unable to hold my breath back long enough for some phrases when I’m playing the Yamaha. I guess I’m saying that I’m not someone that would seek out such an instrument.

    On the ‘clarity’ of high notes comparing Moeck and Mullenhauer, both are absolutely perfect for the entire two primary octaves. I find Ebony and Grenadilla more suited to the highest notes. I cannot give you an absolute comparison as my Moeck is older to the point that I believe it received more handwork back then at the factory. The lower amount of handwork that I understand instruments get these days is what led me to investigate the issue of revoicing and ultimately to improve the sound of my Mullenhauer Pearwood Alto to where I now do really enjoy playing the instrument. Both get the G and A above that highest F. The Moeck get the following B, which the Pearwood Mullenhauer – goes quite flat on. I don’t think it’s fair though to compare instruments of different makers and woods.

    I’m glad to hear you’re thinking to start with the Grenadilla Moeck. Their Alto is an instrument I’ve been repeatedly acquainted with since the early 1970s through friends, my own purchases, and those of my students. Not one ‘bummer’ in the whole lot. All kept and played on to this day. Yes. Mullenhauer is the Recorder ‘du jour’ right now. That’s why I bought mine. I wish I knew the backstory on why some vendors won’t carry Moecks. I suspect it’s pricing. What’s nice is that both are fine instruments to my knowledge and experiences.

    Hey, let us know what you buy and how your journey goes.

    One more comment about “awful sounds.” With enough wine, even the best can play worst.



    Diana K.

    I really appreciate your thoughts on this – I’m looking for a workhorse!

    I was looking at the Marsyas also. It bothered me that I couldn’t find many on-line reviews of this instrument. Your comments – and on-line reviews of the Moeck Rottenburgh swayed me to decide on it – I ordered a soprano in olivewood. What a pretty little instrument! Maybe later in my recorder journey I’ll look at the Marsyas….but for now, I’ll explore and enjoy the Rottenburgh!

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