Kotato and Fukushima new Low Flutes
After many years of instrument making experience, wisdom and creativity the makers Kotato and Fukushima have once again hit a high point with their clear and responsive low flutes. During a visit to Japan last August (2011), I had the great opportunity to perform on the new range of low flutes from these makers with over 40 years experience.
From their clever new design called Be-Mode, a tone hole inches away from the embouchure that creates a fantastic colour change, to the construction of the refined mechanism on both bass and contrabass flutes, to the over all range of the entire collection, I was honestly quite astounded.
A clear precise pitch clarity, with great agility of response and a wide range of tone timbres. The mechanical precision is truly remarkable. One of the finest altos I have tried. The low register was full and round yet quite nimble in it's articulation and ability to speak. The middle register is warm and inviting with a hint of clarinet timbre it desired. The third register is in tune and once again accurate. The hand position-spacing for my hands seemed to sit fine, though may be a bit too wide for some. I am sure the maker could adjust if desired. A fantastic instrument for orchestral or solo purposes. A distinct tonal colour and an even well rounded overall range.
The newly designed bass flutes are really ground-breaking by far! Their evenness of pitch and tonal quality along with their agility, made me begin to rethink my own bass flute playing. These instruments glide up and down the range and are more than willing to be pushed sonically. A fine tone centre with opportunities for refined control, these instruments will redefine what is possible on the bass flute. A concerto comparable to the Ibert could be played on this fine flute with success. Wow!
Contrabass in F (also known as contra-alto flute)
A fine model with immediate tone and flexibility. A refined mechanism enables a higher standard of technique and control. A truly beautiful sound. Stunning!
Contrabass in C
The contrabass flute now speaks clearer and quicker. A wider bore has given the instrument a rounder tone with a true sting-like quality. The mechanism has been reworked for a better evenness and the lower register can been pushed like a saxophone. All that tried this instrument at the Flute Festival made an immediate full sound. A must for the serious low flute performer.
Subcontrabass in F
I must say this is one of the finest low flutes I have tried in years. With a full bodied sound similar to a tuba, this flute can do abnormal feats........
A silver head with a mixed sliver body, the sound will give the player great confidence and a sense of power like no other. A rich low register, the second octave tends to thin a bit, though with more time, I am sure one can find the embouchure to work on this slight set back. The response is excellent and the pitch is controllable with diaphragmatic support. It is the quality of the sound that will intrigue, entice and somewhat bewilder the ear. This is a flute that sounds two and a half octaves lower than a C Flute. A true miraculous feat of musical engineering.
Double Contra in C
Kotato mentioned to me how he has been working on the response for this instrument. You can really hear it. It plays like a contrabass flute, maybe even quicker. A most interesting low register (3 octaves below middle C), the quality is revolutionary in both colour and pitch. I had the honour to listen to this instrument played in the Hirose Flute Ensemble and I was amazed and emotionally moved by it's gentle yet projecting sonic strength. What an instrument!