Soplarte, enchanting glass orchestra


Soplarte is a performance by an orchestra of wind instruments built using the technique of glass blowing. Recently performed at the EMAF festival 2011 in Osnabrueck, this unique ensemble was born out of the passion of Charlotte Van Wouwe (the artist who created the work) for wind instruments and glass. All the instruments used have a conical shape but with different levels of curvature, which came out of the artist’s specific design choices but also by the arbitrary trend of blown glass to curve in different ways. Consequently, each instrument has its own particular tone and despite the use of a classical trumpet mouthpiece for ease of use (also glass), the sound variations offered by each model are quite limited. This limitation, however, is redeemed by the sounds created by the instruments. Treble trumpets are reminiscent of horns from the Balkans and they are accompanied by serious and more full-bodied tones, similar to a trombone, but softer and more distant, constantly supported by a gentle wind-like whispering. The most significant rhythmic variations also trigger changes in the position of the musicians on stage, in a well-designed harmony of bodies and sounds. The result is a charming and magnetic choreography in which musicians come together with delicate, transparent instruments, vibrating rare sounds and creating a magical refraction of light.

Chiara Ciociola