About makers

 

Jakob Denner, Nurenberg, 1681-1735
One of the most famous woodwind makers of the Baroque period, from Germany.

Denner was one of two sons of Johann Christoph Denner (a woodwind maker and the inventor of the clarinet).

C. Denner and Jacob Denner manufactured a variety of types of woodwinds, such as
recorders, flutes, bassoons, clarinets and oboes, of course.
Luckily for us, a lot of oboes made by Jakob Denner have survived to our times. Many of them are still in very good, playable condition.

I make a copy of the instrument from c.1720.
It has – as all the known originals – only one double hole and three keys. The fact is that in this case a single “f” hole is all that we need. On Denner’s oboes (and so on my copies, too) a single “f” hole works very well for f#. Moreover, fingerings are easier for oboists. For special request I can make double “f” hole.
These oboes have the typical German sound of the Baroque era – very delicate when we need it but, on the other hand, very strong and powerful when we want it.
“b” and ”f” from the first octave are quite strong and stable. An incredibly dynamic range… In my opinion Denner’s oboe is one of the best Baroque instruments.
Good choice for all serious players.

 

Paul Paulhahn, ca. 1720
The only one preserved original of the oboe is in possession of Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
Unfortunately almost nothing is known about the maker, exept that he worked in Germany, the most probably in the area of Nurenberg. It is known however, that he left an instrument in many respects exceptional, having a special position among the baroque oboes.
The instrument has an exeptional ability to express a variety of moods. It has a characteristic intensive and rich sound. Having mastered the instrument, one can obtain an unusual melodicity and dynamic range, from gentle, warm piano to brilliant forte, filling the largest halls. A very original feature of its appearance are the fine ornaments, some of which are only 0,3 mm width.
A specificity of this oboe is its ability to reflect to a great extent, an individual character and skills of the player. It is says, that Paulhahn oboe is so good as player who play it…

The greatest baroque oboist of our time, Jürg Schäftlein, was play original Paulhahn oboe. Many incredibly recordings with him and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, we can hear for today.
Original was made from boxwood.
Today we know also traverso d’amore by Paulhahn. It is in possession of private collector in Frankfurt. The flute is also very special instrument for many reasons. This prooves that Paulhahn was a high quality maker and great individualist.

 

Thomas Stanesby Jr. & Sr. , 1692 – 1754, London
The instruments made in Thomas Stanesby’s Sr. (1668-1734) and Jr. workshop were ones of the most excellent in England of the Baroque period. Today, the copies of the oboes made by T. Stanesby Sr. and his son are the most frequently used copies of Baroque oboes. A lot of original instruments made by the Stanesbys have survived to this day. The sound of the Stanesbys’ oboes is quite open and it is easy to produce both the lowest sounds and the top of the scale on them. The distinctive feature of these instruments is quite strong and sure sound of fork fingering notes from the first octave, even if the reed is not too good.

I also make, on request, three-key copies of oboes according to T. Stanesby Sr.

 

Johann Poerschmann , the first half of the 18 c., Leipzich
Johann Poerschmann was a famous maker of wind instruments. It was from him that another future renowned maker of classical instruments – J.F. Grundmann – learnt his craft.
Poerschmann was contemporary with J.S. Bach, he also lived in Leipzich, and was closely associated with that famous composer’s circle. He was a bassoonist in the musical group of the famous cantor, and godfather of Johann Christian Hoffmann, who was Bach’s friend and collaborator. Therefore, I am convinced that the oboes d’amore used for performing Bach’s works were the ones made by Poerschmann, not by Eichentopf, which are most frequently used nowadays.
My replicas, just like the original, have a strong, deep and, what is characteristic, round tone in the entire scale of the instrument. Their sound is dark and velvet, rather than nasal.
In my opinion, what is interesting and distinctive in Poerschmann style oboes d’amore, apart from the tone of the sound, is the fact that they ‘take in’ the air very lightly, which is extremely comfortable for oboists.

The replica of the oboe d’amore which I make is a copy of the only surviving instrument of this kind built by this maker (the original can be found in the National Museum in Poznan). The only one, because the other known specimen of Poerschmann’s oboe d’amore, which survives today in the museum in New York, differs completely from the instrument a copy of which I make. These differences refer both to the appearance and the bore of the oboe. Besides, the oboe in Poznan has survived in a very good condition, while the specimen in New York is cracked and its bore is soiled, which makes it impossible to study it thoroughly. The original from Poznan plays excellently at the pitch a’= 415 Hz.
Thanks to that, my copies reproduce the original in every detail, since their pitch did not have to be changed in order to meet the requirements of modern performers of the Baroque music.

  • I am the only oboe maker who makes copies of Poerschmann’s oboe d’amore from the National Museum in Poznan, (Poland).

 

Fridrich , Prague, 18th century

A well-known Czech wind instruments maker. A few instruments from his workshop have survived to this day: oboes, recorders, clarinets.
The tenor oboe (at the pitch f) that I make is a copy of an instrument from the first half of the 18th century which is now in a private collection. This oboe has survived in an almost ideal condition. It testifies to the great craftsmanship of its maker. Its turning is extremely intricate. The original is made from uncoloured orchard plum wood (Prunus domestica).
Friedrich’s tenor oboe has a slightly nasal, but round sound. It harmonizes very well with the sound of the strings. It is characterized by a light sound emission in the entire scale of the instrument.

 

Weigel , 18th century, Wrocław/Breslau (Poland)

COR ANGLAIS and OBOE DA CACCIA

This unusual set of two instruments with additional, exchangeable da caccia bell, fitting both instruments first time I had in my hands in the Autumn of 2010, and then in January of 2011 I measured them and renovated them. These originals are in possession of Weaving Museum in Kamienna Góra, Poland.
Unfortunately, in 2015, other “conservation” of these instruments was carried out by complete dilettants, as a result of which they lost many of their musical qualities, they were also “painted” (sic!).

I am only the one, who make copies after Weigel’s cor anglais and oboe da caccia from Kamienna Góra.

All prerequisites indicate that Weigel was inventor of this kind of oboe. The oldest scores known today, mentioning cor anglais by it’s correct name, come from places located not far from Wrocław (Breslau). The term „cor anglais” ( English horn) in respect of so early instruments as these copies, should be rather substituted by term „angelic horn” , which name they most probably originally had. At that time German word ”englisch” had another, today forgotten meaning „angelic”. Thus, the original name was even not distorted but it’s primary meaning, being no longer in use , was just forgotten and lost in translations.The fact of giving these instruments such a name is not surpising, because their sound is extremely soft, silky and melodious. Considering the impression it must have made on listeners inside a church , where probably was most often used, this association is completely understandable.
Besides, baroque oboes, including cor anglais used to play together with horns , named in German „Wald horns „ or briefly „ horns”. If we consider how a French horn player holds his instrument and and how the ancient oboist had to play his curved instrument, we can see that both instruments might have had a similar look, especially from a distance. The first was called „wald horn”, so the other one, sounding softer , was called „angelic horn” (englisch horn).
Originals plays at a’= 415 Hz and made from stained sycamore wood, brown leather covered.

 

Jakob Friedrich Grundmann , 1727-1800, Dresden
J. F. Grundmann was a renowned master of his times, whose fame reached not only the German territories of that day, but also many other European countries. He was J. Poerschmann’s pupil. It is supposed that the favourite Mozart’s oboist, Friedrich Ramm could have played on Grundmann’s instruments. The sound of Grundmann’s oboes is naturally round, smooth and pure; clear.
My copies of Grundmann’s oboes, just like the originals, possess a very large dynamic scale.
It is possible to play on them a beautiful delicate piano, but when it is necessary, their forte can break through the entire orchestra. It is quite easy to achieve a very melodious sound playing on Grundmann’s oboes.

 

Johann Friedrich Floth , 1760- 1807, Dresden
A replica of an oboe from 1805. Eight-key; keys: c, c#, d#,f, f#, g#, b, octave key.
Floth collaborated with Grundmann for many years and after Grundmann’s death in 1800 he still made instruments in their workshop until 1807. The sound of Floth’s eight-key oboe is very similar to the sound of Grundmann’s two-key instruments, which is rather not surprising; although, in my opinion, the sound of Floth’s oboes is a little more round. The additional keys certainly give more possibilities of playing fluently in further keys, although the ‘basic’ chords, that is, those of the two-key instrument, still function excellently on it.
Today, because of the musician’s temptation of taking advantage of the additional keys, Mozart’s music is sometimes played on the copies of Floth’s oboes. However, it was an instrument certainly unfamiliar to Mozart, and it is definitely more suitable, for example, for playing the music of Beethoven.