Stomvi TitanPeter Roberts gives his verdict
on Stomvi's soprano cornet
Would the former ‘top sop’, Peter Roberts, still ‘have it’ when he came out of retirement to play at the recent Butlin’s Festival. Here he tells us how the Stomvi Titan Soprano aided his Grimethorpe Reunion Band concert performance.
"During the summer last year, Stan Lippeatt asked if I would consider playing with Grimethorpe Reunion again. I had reservations at the time, but thought I would like to make the effort and told Stan that I needed an instrument.
As luck would have it, I came across Donald Owen of Stomvi before the concert and borrowed a Stomvi Titan Soprano. It arrived just before Christmas; everything looked fine, but I was never into technical details. If it plays and sounds well, and is reasonably in tune - great! I inserted the mouthpiece and played a few notes. The sound was quite good and the instrument was very responsive - nice and solid in the upper register, with good intonation. could play high C relatively easily, so the instrument is free-blowing. Apparently there should have been some Maxi Clappers (‘add-ons’ to the valve bottoms) sent with the instrument, which were to arrive with Donald at Butlin’s.
The ‘add-ons’ that arrived with Donald are like flying saucers, which attach to the bottom of the first and third valves. I was sceptical! However, inside there are small tuned cymbals that vibrate against the harmonics of the instrument, making it morestable, easier blowing and more in tune - a bit akin to car engine turbo-boosters.
I attached the Maxi-clappers for Grimethorpe Reunion’s rehearsal and the difference was astounding: there was a sweet mellowness to the sound, ease of blowing and no harshness or brittleness. There seems to be a centralisation of the pitch of the notes. I played a duet with Mike Kilroy, and seasoned players remarked at the quality of sound and centralisation of the notes.
The concert was a great success, after which people talked about the sound of the sopranos - well, Gary Bates from Hammonds was the main player and also played a Stomvi with the ‘add-ons’; I just played along.
I could have done with this instrument 30 years ago!"