1-key flute by G.A.Rottenburgh (repro by Jean-Luc Boudreau)

This is in a sense, I guess you could say, my 'main squeeze'. It's a reproduction of the flute by G. A. Rottenbugh which is owned and played by the remarkable musician Barthold Kuijken (whom I have had the pleasure of hearing on a number of occasions). Kuijken's Rottenburgh is probably the most often reproduced of all 'baroque' flutes... and not without reason, for it an exceptionally flexible and charming intrument, lending itself to repertoire from pretty much the whole of the 18th century - it can play Couperin without seeming really inappropriate, but at the same time it is quite apt for playing the works of Stamitz or Mozart (most of Mozart's flute pieces, anyway). This reproduction was made to order for me by the Montreal maker Jean-Luc Boudreau (perhaps better known for his recorders), and I could not be more pleased with it.

This instrument is made of boxwood (stained). It's dominant characteristics are lightness, flexibility and sweetness. It sings and moves easily, and is, as I say, well adapted to almost any 18th century repertoire. Although, perhaps, having some 'classical' attributes, it is still a 'baroque' flute to the extent its most natural home is more in the lower and middle register. It is possible to play all the way up to a''' (required, for example, by Bach's flute sonatas) on it - but it certainly requires more effort and care to play the notes in the third octave successfuly than it does to play the very bottom notes well... and this tends to be reversed to some degree in what might be seen as more purely 'classical' flutes (that is to say, they are happier up in the third octave than they are at the bottom of the first).

I play all sorts of things on this flute, and it's likely to be my first choice for playing together with others (so long as they are playing at A=415, which is the reference pitch of this flute). Its ease and flexibility make it a natural choice, since they enhance my (somewhat shaky) confidence. Its tone is, however, fairly light, and it is not well suited to trying to compete with modern intruments (such as the metal Boehm system flute or the concert grand piano... which play ensemble with an instrument such as this about as readily as an elephant might dance with a gazelle).

This flute certainly seems perfectly at home with J. S. Bach and Telemann. But it's also completely comfortable with the Mozart's flute quartets, or Carl Stamitz's flute concertos, or Anton's charming capriccios. Or indeed with C. P. E. Bach's interesting flute works. And you can certainly play Devienne's works on it too (pieces I'd recommend to the attention of any flautist), albeit an instrument a little more 'classical' in nature might make those easier to handle. I guess my thoughts tend to turn a little more towards the latter half of the 18th century rather than the early part when I pick up this flute.

If you have any questions or comments, or related experiences you'd like to share, or whatever... email me at xorys@idirect.ca.

Back to main Flutes Page

Back to main Early Music Page