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The Project (hier für deutsche Version)

In the years between 1585 and 1594 the chancel of Freiberg cathedral was given
a glamorous redesign as the burial place of the House of Wettin following layouts
of artist Giovanni Maria Nosseni (1544 – 1620). As part of this, instruments were
placed in the hands of the putti at a height of 12 meters, just under the dome. Those
30 wind, plucking, string and percussion instruments at the time, more than 400
years ago, were largely fully functional. Their original, almost unchanged condition
makes them one of the only original 16th century ensembles in the world, as well as
a unique document of Saxon renaissance. The partly even signed instruments were
all made in Saxony.
Under the leadership of Eszter Fontana and Veit Heller of the Museum for Musical
Instruments Leipzig, a large research group consisting of renowned scientists and
researchers works on this treasure of historical instruments. It is equally invaluable
for both musicology and the cultural history of Saxony. With the aid of the newest
methods, an extensive documentation of the instruments was achieved. This paved
the way for the reconstruction of playable musical instruments whilst staying true to
the original and using old construction techniques.
The construction of copies of the five violins and the two surviving bows was given
to violin maker Hans Salger in Bremen and bow maker Hans Reiners in Berlin.
The internationally highly-regarded research project is located at the institute for
research on musical instruments “Georg Kinsky” (registered society). It opened a
new avenue by handing the copy instruments to specially selected musicians versed
in historical performance practice. It also helped in researching the music performed
in Saxony around 1600 and in engaging with the until then unknown sound
timbres and performance habits of the time. It was thus crucial in reviving the old
playing techniques.
Susanne Scholz was asked to oversee the performance on the
five violins. In 2005 she founded the ensemble chordae freybergenses,
which only plays on the copies of the renaissance
string instruments.

Veit Heller
(Museum for Musical Instruments of the University of Leipzig)