I bought the Helder Evo Tenor from EMS in April 2020 and have been largely delighted with the instrument. Its range is such that I can use it for the CPE Bach unaccompanied flute sonata, a piece I plan to play in a diploma recital. It uses notes in the Helder’s 3rd octave – see below.
The Evo Alto arrived just over a week ago. It has not had the very serious makeover that the Evo Tenor underwent. For example, there are no new keys and the tuning slide [see the Mollenhauer webpages for the Tenor] was added a couple of years ago. Enquiries reveal that the major changes to the design of the Evo alto are an improvement to the bore and an attempt to standardise the fingerings in the 3rd octave with those of the tenor. Thus, one should, in theory, be able to move just as easily between the Evo alto and tenor as one does between a standard alto and a standard tenor.
My alto arrived with a defective Piano Key, however the problem was quickly resolved with the help of Mollenhauer, EMS and Anthony Barrett, the recorder technician. It has a beautiful tone, using the block setting that I prefer. One can, of course, adjust the windway to produce a softer, more flute-like tone or a more breathy, rougher sound that might suit some contemporary works. There are two interchangeable platelets [windway roofs]; one in synpor, the other in rosewood. The synpor does not absorb moisture, but its surface becomes very wet. In fact, the instrument needs to be warmed up very well, before playing and, in my experience, swabbed out quite often.
The first two octaves use [pretty much] the standard ‘baroque’ recorder fingerings. To become familiar with the 3rd octave one needs, patience, diligence, perseverance and lots of practice. The Mollenhauer standard fingerings for the 3rd octave make much use of partially closed/open holes. However, by experimenting, one can discover well-tuned and full-toned alternative fingerings that lie more easily under the fingers.
Using the Piano Key and Lip Control require much practice, but their effective use brings the reward of very perceptible changes in dynamics: quite a novelty on a recorder.
The Mollenhauer webpages for the Evo alto have not yet been updated, but this is said to be happening in autumn 2021, when the alto is formally launched.
The Evo alto and Evo tenor offer a revolution and revelation in modern recorder design. They are superb, if challenging, instruments.