So, I get this curious email from a German guy named Boris Richter:
I am not sure if this is a story for you, I made a drum from an old wine barrel Richard Wagner was drinking from. Here's the story and the pics and the video. Have fun ;-)
I was hooked when he mentioned Richard Wagner. It's not just any old video, though, but a beautiful film documentary about a drum building artist making a very magnificent drum from scratch out of some very historic wood and raw metal with old world craftsmanship. Even though the film is in German, there is no need for translation. You'll understand it. Drummers speak is drummer speak in any language.
Here's Boris's story behind it in his charming German English:
"The casks are from a friend of mine a winemaker in my neighbourhood.
His grand-grand-grand-grandfather was a good friend of Richard Wagner who stays a few times here at my friends winery in our small town. The local chronicle says that it was on june 1, 1862 Wagner introduced an unreleased opus while drinking some wine here...
...nowadays this opus is well known as Richard Wagner`s Valkyrie.
When I once visited my friend we talked about our historical buildings (I live and work in an old mill build in the 14th century, his winery was also build as a mill in year 1275) while drinking some wine and talking about Wagner`s visit he surprised me when he said that he still got some of the old casks from that historical day!!!!!!!! This was the hour of birth for the Richard-Wagner-Snare-Drum-Project.
I have tried to put my definition of our history into the drum.The winery was built in 1275. So the snare is 7,40" deep...... 1" for every century! The reason to build a deep shell was the powerfull musik of Richard Wagner. (For Richard Strauss a piccolo snare would be enough )
The winery is 740 years old...so I took 1" for every century... this is the reason why the snare ist exactly 7,40" deep. With my stave shell, in the tradition of our coopers who worked here for hundreds of years, I bow down to those craftsmen and their wonderful giant barrels. The staves for this drum are made just with hand tools.
The hoops are hand-forged from Iron as an reminiscence to the wine barrel hoops.
The design of the throw off system is the same double linkage system we use for our corkscrews which were fixed on the counters of our traditional wine taverns. (I am not sure if you know those old stationary corkscrews in America???? )
The snare butt end is made from the Handle of the old mess spigot (hope this is the right word."
Thank you, Boris.