Making a Cello, and Florence: the Restoration of Books
DVD1976 82 Minutes
Alec McCurdy makes a cello from start to finish also the skilled restoration of books damaged by floods in Florence.
1. Making A Cello This film shows the skill and care that go into making a cello, from the felling of a 250 year old spruce in the Jura Mountains to the workshop in Berkshire where Alec McCurdy makes instruments. He follows in the footsteps of men like William Morris in his belief in respect for materials, integrity of workmanship and fitness for purpose. His skill, care, dedication and enthusiasm come over very strongly as the cello takes shape. Directed by Roger Hill, the film includes excerpts of solo cello works by Imogen Holst, Bach and contemporary composers Camera: Roger Hill. 1976. Running time: 38 mins
2. Interview: A lively interview with Alec McCurdy, made while he was demonstrating cello making at the Colston Hall, Bristol, during an International Cello Festival in 1975 1975. Running time: 7 mins
3. Florence - The Restoration of Books: Shows the enormous task of restoring many thousands of manuscripts and priceless rare books which had been immersed in the Florence floods of 1967. The explanatory narration is by the bookbinder, Peter Waters, spoken by Roger Hill, using the expertise of Roger Powell, the well-known bookbinder. Peter Waters was a well known bookbinder in his own right, even having a binding bought by the British Library when he was only 21. In the USA he has been dubbed the father of American library conservation, the work in Florence being the inspiration for the emergence of a new profession of library conservation. Camera: Roger Hill. 1967. Running time: 37 mins
This film was made in 1976, so the film and sound quality is not to modern standards. This should not diminish its value as a historic record.