Voice-flute (or rather: Tenor-recorder in church-pitch
in c’) in d’ after Denner,
a=415 Hz, boxwood with double-holes, Baroque (English) fingering.
Since the original is higher than the standard-pitch a=415, it was necessary
to lengthen the instrument.
The recorder is therefore in the same pitch as a Voice-flute and can be
used as one. In comparison to the Voice-flute of Bressan its sound is light
and brilliant and more agile than one would expect from a tenor recorder.
* Besides the original Dieupart-Suites No 1 - 4 you can play many pieces
composed for the transverse flute or violin on a Voice-Flute in the original
Johann Christoph Denner, Nürnberg (1655 –
mark: I C DENNER/ (in scroll with rolled up ends)
There exist two tenor-recorders in church-pitch (Chorton) at ca. a=425
Hz by Johann Christoph: One in the Brüggen collection, the other
in the “Germanisches Nationalmuseum” in Nuremberg. Externally
very similar, the bore varies from each other in an interesting way: The
Nuremberg instrument has the typical Denner bore, i.e. slightly conical
head-joint and much more conical centre - and foot-joint. The Amsterdam
recorder has a gegengebohrtes (counter bored) head-joint, i.e. the narrowest
point is at the last third of the bore.
This is atypical for all other Denner instruments. In comparison to the
sister-instrument, the middle section is wider towards the 6th finger
hole as well as the whole instrument.
Both instruments give the impression that the bore is not made to a pre-planned
design, but constructed experimentally as a prototype (perhaps to suite
a church with a very special organ-pitch). However, it would seem that
the model was never put into production since it is not marked as such.
Whatever the case this way of working was very unusual for the Denner’s!
In their present state their sound seems to have much of the characteristics
of a Renaissance-recorder: not a brilliant tone but a very round and warm,
slightly breathy one.
Johann Christoph was baptised on 3 August 1655 at Leipzig
and was buried on 26 April 1707 at Nuremberg. His childhood was spent
at Leipzig, where his parents moved between 1653 and 1654. Aged about
11 years old he moved with his family back to Nuremberg and he learned
from his father the craft of making hunt-lures and hunting horns.
Soon after his time as journeyman in 1680, he began making woodwind-instruments.
(see the above mentioned early-baroque soprano recorder). From 1694 he
called himself “Flötenmacher” (flute-maker) and received
“Meisterrecht” becoming a master woodwind maker.
Two of his sons, Jakob (b.1681) and Johann David (b. 1691) continued their
father’s craft. Jakob in particular became a celebrated maker.
Johann Christoph, together with Johann Schell, was probably the first
in Germany making “französische Instrumenta” (instruments
in the French style). We can say with certainty that this refers to woodwinds
(oboes, transversflutes and recorders) with the new late-baroque conical
bore. These innovations are attributed to the Hotteterre family of woodwind
Already in 1694 Johann Christoph delivered to the Nürnberger Rat
(Nuremberg Council) two “frantzesisches Fletten” or “Opera-Flöten”.
(French flutes or opera-flutes)
Johann Christoph is considered to be one of the most outstanding makers
of the 18th c. in Germany. (Nikkel)
Lit.: Herbert Heyde „Historische Musikinstrumente
im Bachhaus Eisenach, Eisenach 1976.
Ekkehart Nikkel, „Der Holzblasinstrumentenbau in der Freien
Reichsstadt Nürnberg“, München 1971, ISBN 3-87397-008-2
William Waterhouse, „The New Langwill Index“ London,
1993, ISBN 0-946113-04-1
Pillip T. Young , 4900 Historical Woodwind Instruments, London