Classic Notes: with Anna Brosnan

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When at school, there is always a stock group of trusty, hard-wearing instruments foisted upon pupils to play.

This sturdy little set of instruments usually includes recorders, trumpets, flutes, clarinets, violins and, in my case, a double bass (they didn’t have enough flutes in the music cupboard).

But I wonder why some instruments are so often abandoned in the routine educational quest for musical talent; things like the hurdy-gurdy for example.

I mention this interesting instrument because on February 23, Duo Piccolo e Grande, made up of Enzo Puzzovio and Stewart 
McCoy, will be giving free concerts at All Saints’ Church in Northampton (at 1.10pm) and at St Mary the Virgin in Burton Latimer (7.30pm).

At both of these venues, a programme of baroque music by composers Vivaldi, Scarlatti and Corrette will be played on instruments including the mandolino, lute, theorbo and the hurdy-gurdy.

I have never heard a hurdy-gurdy played but, according to a bit of internet research, the name suggests the sound: A warbling pitch supposedly typical of instruments which include solid wooden wheels.

Apparently its sound is produced by a turned wheel, rosined in the same way as a bow, which plays the instrument while melodies are played out on keys which press against strings to alter the pitch.

Entrance to the Burton Latimer concert is by ticket only. These can be reserved by calling Shirley Banks on 01536 725916 or emailing

Send through your information about forthcoming concerts by emailing the above address or ringing 01604 467046.