by Marco Cera, oboist

Bassoonist Dominic Teresi and I worked hard all summer to prepare for a new musical adventure: we will be performing on new romantic-era instruments for the first time, alongside our wind colleagues on flute, clarinet, and horn, in the upcoming program Trailblazers: Mendelssohn and Farrenc.

The idea is to play on instruments that are appropriate for the repertoire, the style, and the era of the composers featured in Trailblazers: the French composer Louise Farrenc, and Czech-born, Bavarian-educated, later naturalized French composer and music theorist Anton Reicha.

The quest for the “right” instrument always presents a challenge, especially for woodwind players. Since oboes and bassoons underwent a fast and radical evolution over the last 300 years, we players need different instruments for each musical era. 

For this program I decided to play a copy made by my friend, the Italian maker Alberto Ponchio, of a Golde oboe dating from 1850. The highly regarded German maker Karl Friedrich Golde (1803–1873) from Dresden designed an oboe with a sound characterized by a deep, rich, and warm sound.” Golde’s design would become the new Viennese oboe of the 20th century.

Over the summer I spent some time working with Alberto in his workshop in Vicenza, fine-tuning a new Golde copy and finding the right reed set-up. Alberto is privileged to have two original Golde oboes in his shop, so he can take accurate measurements and compare his copy to the originals. Hanging out at his place, among old instruments and new fancy machinery, was a sort of time travel between the past and the future.

Dominic also spent time travelling to the workshop of Peter Wolf in Kronach, Germany, maker of his new 16-key romantic bassoon, a copy of an original bassoon by the Viennese maker Johann Ziegler from around 1850. Ziegler’s workshop, established in 1821 and operating until at least 1895, was the longest-lived and most prolific of the 19th-century Viennese woodwind manufacturing companies. Its instruments were played in orchestras throughout the period in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Scandinavia, even making appearances in England and France. In our Trailblazers concert, you will see the distinctive flared bell that is a typical feature of 19th-century Viennese bassoons.

We are excited to offer you a new visual and auditory experience, a rare opportunity to listen to music and instruments that were ignored for many years and that we are finally bringing out of obscurity.

You can watch a sneak preview of Marco playing the new oboe here (and yes, that’s Marco accompanying himself on guitar!).

Maker Alberto Ponchio working on Marco’s new oboe.
The completed oboe.
A wall of original historical bassoons in the Wolf Atelier in Kronach, Germany.


Don’t miss out on Trailblazers: Mendelssohn and Farrenc, this October 28 and 29, 2022. Tickets at tafelmusik.org/trailblazers

Learn more about early music

Read our blog to learn more about baroque music, composers, instruments, our own orchestra, choir, and much more.