Roman Cornu by Brad Close

I have a really enjoyable replica made by Brad Close of a Roman Cornu. The Roman Cornu, a brass instrument from the Roman Empire, was widespread during its time. Some original cornu instruments have been preserved, with examples found at Pompeii. These instruments are often depicted in movies due to their recognizability and historical accuracy.

Brad crafted this replica specifically for me, incorporating a modular removable 3-valve cluster. This feature allows me to play chromatically on the cornu. My intention was to have an instrument suitable for the off-stage brass part in Respighi’s “Pines of Rome,” where this style of instrument is traditionally used (typically performed on a modern baritone or tenor tuba). I had the pleasure of using this cornu in a performance, alongside Brad’s cornu of similar design, and it had a great effect and was quite successful causing gawks and stares from the audience!

The valve section is also removable, transforming the cornu into a true bugle capable of reproducing the historical overtones of the original design. As Brad and I are both Star Trek enthusiasts, his maker’s mark is a sterling silver badge shaped like a Vulcan Lirpa, made famous in the Spock Kirk battle in Amok Time—because, why not!