One of the stranger highlights of 2017 was conversation with the brilliant violinist Daniel Pioro about how to create more etherial sounds for elements of Daniel Day-Lewis’s Phantom Thread, an outstanding film with a yet more outstanding soundtrack, but at times it needed a different timbre from what the violin can naturally give.
The result was loan of a viola d’amore for the recording sessions whose sympathetically resonating strings proved unexpectedly perfect: A superb example by Uldrichus Eberle, made in Prague in 1744. Historically, tunings for viola d’amore were widely varied, so there is no fixed concept of how it should be played. As a result, tuning the upper four strings G-D-A-E with the lower playing strings tuned harmonically to increase the resonance provided an ideal platform for performance. Judge for yourself by listening out for it in the film.