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ARCHITECTURE IN MUSIC

INSTRUMENTS OF THE NEW ZEALAND STRING QUARTET

Photographing priceless instruments

Charles Brooks, a renowned cellist turned photographer, seamlessly melds music and visual artistry in his captivating series, Architecture in Music. Drawing on his extensive musical career, Brooks infuses his photographic practice with a profound comprehension of music's drama and emotion. The series delves into the inner sanctums of the world's finest musical instruments, capturing their spaces with exotic probe lenses and specialized processing techniques. Through Brooks' lens, these instrumental interiors transform into expansive concert halls or contemporary architectural wonders. Each image is a meticulous blend of dozens to hundreds of individual shots, skillfully combined to create a convincing illusion of space.

Museum-quality prints

Museum-quality prints and high-quality poster prints of Charles' work are available to purchase through his website.

Limited Edition, handcrafted museum-quality prints on Hahnemühle archival paper, offering exceptional color reproduction and detail. With a lifespan of up to 200 years, they represent the highest possible quality in photographic prints.

Stunning posters on heavy 250 gsm pearl paper. A beautiful bright white paper with a subtle texture and attractive sheen. Available in two sizes, 10"x15" or 14"x21". Shipping is free worldwide.

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Instruments from the golden age of luthiery

We're proud to have had all four of our instruments photographed by Charles. Our instruments span the complete golden age of Italian violin making, from the Amati family in Cremona who standardised the style of violin that we know today and taught their skills to luthiers such as Antonio Stradavarius, through to Storioni, considered the last of the great Venetian school of Luthiers.

High-quality prints and posters of all four of our instruments are available to purchase through the Architecture in Music website.

A portion of the profits from all prints and posters purchased using the links on this page will come back to the New Zealand String Quartet Trust. By using the links on this page to purchase a print or poster, you will help us continue providing transformational chamber music experiences for all New Zealanders. Plus, use the code NZSQ at the checkout to receive 15% off your order!

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1619 AMATI

These instruments were born into a revolution in classical music. The 1619 Amati Viola was witness to the shift from Renaissance to Baroque. Built in the age of Montiverdi and Cavalli, it was already 80 years old by the time Bach came on the scene! The instrument itself would also change with the times, being cut down in size sometime around 1800 to better facilitate the technical demands of complex new music by composers such as Beethoven and Brahms. 

Generously loaned to the NZSQ by the Adam Foundation and currently Played by Gillian Ansell.

A portion of the profits from all prints and posters purchased using the button above will come back to the New Zealand String Quartet Trust. By using any of the buttons on this page to purchase a print or poster, you will help us continue providing transformational chamber music experiences for all New Zealanders.
Plus, use the code
NZSQ at the checkout to receive 15% off your order!

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1705 GOFFRILLER

The 1705 Goffriller cello emerged in the era of Marcello and Scarlatti. An exceptionally fine instrument it would influence the works of composers from its inception, inspire Ernest Bloch to write his Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque in 1915, and continues to influence composers to this day with constant new works written for the New Zealand String Quartet.

Currently Played by Rolf Gjelsten of the NZSQ.

A portion of the profits from all prints and posters purchased using the button above will come back to the New Zealand String Quartet Trust. By using any of the buttons on this page to purchase a print or poster, you will help us continue providing transformational chamber music experiences for all New Zealanders.
Plus, use the code
NZSQ at the checkout to receive 15% off your order!

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1730 GUARNERI

The 1730 Guarneri emerged in Venice at a time when the great Castrati singers such as Farinelli were the superstars of the day, and Vivaldi’s music was creating a storm. Already a famous instrument at this time, it may have premiered some of Vivaldi’s or Albanoni’s concertos.

Currently played by Helene Pohl of the NZSQ.

A portion of the profits from all prints and posters purchased using the button above will come back to the New Zealand String Quartet Trust. By using any of the buttons on this page to purchase a print or poster, you will help us continue providing transformational chamber music experiences for all New Zealanders.
Plus, use the code
NZSQ at the checkout to receive 15% off your order!

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All Storioni Prints.jpg

1785 STORIONI

And the 1785 Storioni Violin would be one of the last great violins from this golden era of luthiery. Emerging in the time of Mozart and Haydn, political pressure would eventually close the luthier’s guilds, and war would make fine wood difficult to source, hailing the end of the finest era of violin building that the world has ever seen, or will likely see again. 

Generously loaned to the NZSQ by the David Duncan Craig & the Lily Duncan Trust and currently played by Monique Lapins.

A portion of the profits from all prints and posters purchased using the button above will come back to the New Zealand String Quartet Trust. By using any of the buttons on this page to purchase a print or poster, you will help us continue providing transformational chamber music experiences for all New Zealanders.
Plus, use the code
NZSQ at the checkout to receive 15% off your order!

BEHIND THE SCENES

PHOTOGRAPHING PRICELESS INSTRUMENTS

These photographs are captured with remarkable precision using a Lumix G9ii camera and specially modified Storz endoscopy lenses. Each photo is created by merging over 240 images taken at different focal distances. This technique produces a stunning, cavernous effect, making it seem as if the instrument transforms into its own concert hall.

DONT DROP THE LIGHTS...

As a former concert cellist, Charles understands the importance of safeguarding these exceptionally rare instruments. In his photography process, he ensures that no alterations are made to the instruments beyond what would occur in a routine servicing. Both light and temperature are meticulously and continuously controlled to prevent exposing the instruments to more heat than they would encounter in a typical concert setting. The photo sessions are thoughtfully organized to depict the instruments in a state ready for performance, including having the sound post correctly positioned.

THE ILLUSION OF SPACE

The expansive sense of space in Charles' photography is actually an optical illusion, achieved by altering three key elements that our brain associates with small objects. The first element is the depth of field. In standard macro photography, only a tiny part of the subject is in focus, with the background being significantly blurred. However, Charles merges hundreds of photos to ensure everything remains clear, from the wood grain at the front to the distant neck-block at the back. The second element is the use of wide-angle lenses. While uncommon in macro photography, these lenses produce strong leading lines and exaggerated perspectives similar to those seen in architectural photography. The final element is lighting. Charles positions the lights to mimic the sun's placement, enhancing the illusion and making the viewer feel as though they are walking through a tangible space.

THANK YOU

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Charles Brooks Photographer

Thank you to Charles for including us in this incredible series of work. These are just four of many instruments in the Architecture in Music series. Browse Charles' complete gallery of string, wind, brass, and percussion instruments.

The Adam Foundation

The 1619 Amati Viola is on permanent loan to the NZSQ thanks to the kind support of the ADAM Foundation.

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David Duncan Craig & The Lily Duncan Trust

The 1784 Storioni Violin is on loan to the NZSQ thanks to the David Duncan Craig & the Lily Duncan Trust.

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