The finest handmade period horns:
– The foundations of the original sound
In the last few decades a new style has emerged among the new generations of musicians: The historical performance practice and the search for a sound as close as possible to that of the original instruments have become an urgent need in new performances.
New attention is paid to the instruments that are used: The baroque horn is more and more often played in its original form (without vent holes and without inserting the hand into the bell) and the performers are more careful when choosing the correct instrument for the repertoire to be performed.
It is in this context that the need to make faithful replicas of the original instruments arises!
Faithful to dimensions.
Every instrument made by the greatest workshops of the past century was made to perfection!
Perfectly made for the purpose for which it was conceived.
A Baroque horn, a classical horn or a romantic horn are instruments created in different periods that meet different musical requirements.
For this reason, it is crucial that horn dimensions are faithfully copied, so as to have an instrument suitable to serve the specific musical requirements of each repertoire.
The technique used to make an instrument has a strong impact on its sound characteristics. Therefore, to obtain a faithful copy it is necessary to use the right construction technique, that is to say, the one that was used to make the original instrument.
Construction techniques have changed over the centuries, and therefore it is important to choose and use different techniques for instruments of different periods.
This constructive choice, even if outside the modern market logic, is the only one that makes the production of excellent instruments possible.
Modern Tubing vs. Historical Seamed Tubing
Still throughout the nineteenth century it was not possible to purchase the commercial drawn tubing that is nowadays commonly used in modern instruments and in most replicas on the market. The tube was made from a flat brass sheet, wound on itself and brazed lengthwise. This special construction technique gives the instrument unique characteristics that cannot be replicated with modern drawn tubing.
How to know which instrument to copy; an important choice
Since the final goal is to make an exact copy of the instrument, the choice of instrument to be replicated becomes crucial to achieve quality results.
The criteria for selecting the model are the following:
- The instrument must be made by one of the most renowned instrument makers of the past century, and therefore it must have a historical value in the evolution of the horn.
- The instrument must sound excellent. This is very important because it is the only way to achieve quality results without having to alter, correct, or adjust the dimensions and the taper of the horn.
The Courtois model is a faithful copy of one of the instruments made by Courtois Frère, a Parisian instrument maker known as one of the Frères active from 1803 to 1845, who made a small number of instruments working independently. This is the instrument that I have played professionally since 2010. The original has survived to the present day in excellent conditions, preserved with wooden case, crooks and silver mouthpiece.
The horn has a warm and intense sound, and the shape of the bell facilitates the homogeneity of sounds and an easy hand technique.
The original horn is tuned to 430 Hz, but thanks to a second tuning slide it is possible to play comfortably at 440 Hz.
The mouthpiece receiver is small to fit the historical mouthpiece dimensions, but it is possible to enlarge it on request to fit the modern mouthpiece shank.