Fabio Ognibeni is an artisan/entrepreneur who lives in Trentino Alto Adige, and more specifically in the area in the Dolomites around Fiemme.
In order to talk about his work, it is necessary to start with him, and the "sonorous" woods of this valley, because the red fir of the Val di Fiemme and the Bosco di Paneveggio, known to instrument makers as early as the XVIth century, has always been chosen as the wood to build many musical instruments with.
For 35 years, the Ciresa firm of Ognibeni has been in the business of furnishing wood with the best resonance, and they are specialized in creating finely crafted soundboards and chains/wires for pianos and harpsichords. But this is not all: "from the violin to the harp, to the hurdy-gurdy, to the piano, our choice types of wood from the Val di Fiemme have travelled around the world. Our firm has, for example, constructed more than 180,000 soundboards for pianos. If you go to a concert anywhere in Europe, it is quite likely that you will hear the wood of our valley," Ognibeni explains.
Ciresa chooses, ages and works on this special wood to produce soundboards and resonating components of the highest quality, chosen by piano makers like Fazioli, Bechstein, Kawai, Schulze Pollmann, Blüthner, Pleyel and many more. The choice of wood is utterly rigorous: "only the wood of one or two fir trees out of every thousand is suitable for our purposes.
These fir trees grow slowly and regularly, thanks to the special characteristics of the valley in terms of humidity and exposure to sunlight. The trees we choose for our soundboards are at least 150 years old, and the wood that is cut is aged naturally for at least five to seven years ".
Besides the excellence that has made it famous, the firm has also been able to spread knowledge of its work through a recent invention: Opere Sonore, or sonorous works. Starting with the idea that with a classical instrument it is the wood – not the strings – that plays by vibrating; that is to say, the strings are only the means to create vibrations.
Thus Ognibeni thought that it might be possible to make the wood play, by itself, without being used in a musical instrument. The aim was to make an object with completely natural materials, in the cultural and musical context of the Val di Fiemme.
The Opere Sonore have become reality: thanks to Ciresa’s efforts and craftsmanship, these works are design objects that play music, piloted by a specially designed system that enables them to read the music in an iPod, a cd player, a vinyl LP or an audio system of a television, thus giving the listener a unique experience.
"So this creation is exclusive, making it possible to furnish one’s own home acoustically, offering the opportunity to listen almost live to the timbre of real musical instruments associated with the warmth of design born in the wood used by Stradivarius".