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878

Claude Laurent

Paris, France

Stamp: On longer headjoint: (script) Laurent/ à Paris, / 1809. On shorter head: (script) Laurent / à Paris, 1809.

Comments: This Laurent flute is a lovely player, with a fine, rich, and strong tone. The low pitch head is very slightly broader in the bore diameter, and shorter of chimney height, thus having a thinner glass tube than the shorter joint, which has a slightly narrower bore, greater chimney height, and greater overall diameter and weight. Our inventory of known Laurent flutes has been updated. We now have news of 124 instruments. Of these, 53 are in museums or other public collections, 44 are owned privately, and 27 are in currently unknown locations. Although there are 17 known Laurent flutes with extra midjoints (six from 1809 alone), this flute is the only one with two headjoints. Unless there is another five keyed Laurent with two heads and two midjoints from 1809, then this flute was reported to Dayton C. Miller by a French priest, and later Miller noted it was seen at a New York antique store. The instrument dropped from sight until recently, when it was purchased by our source at a garage sale in New Hampshire. This is our eleventh Laurent flute to pass through here (one was for repairs only). It is always a special pleasure to have a Laurent in the house, and we are especially pleased to have such a fine one to offer at this time.

Material: Made of crystal glass, with silver keys and trim. Springs of steel. Corkscrews of ivory, with wooden, silver covered crowns. Cork is of cork. Tenons wrapped in thread. The flute came with pads of uncovered felt, which do not appear to be original.

System: This is a five-keyed flute, with foot to D. The G# key is mounted on the socket of the heartpiece. The D# key is swiveled, with a round pad "cup" (there is no cup to these pads, which are flat silver). There are two headjoints, of different sounding lengths and slightly different diameters and wall thickness. The flute also has two midjoints. The available pitches with this configuration range from A=415 to A=440.

Condition: The condition of this flute is very nearly perfect. Even perfection is flawed, and in this case there is a previously repaired (long ago) break in the glass under the longer midjoint tenon. Furthermore, the crown on the longer headjoint was absent the silver covering, which we have had a jeweler replace. The little bayonet safety fasteners on both headjoints are absent. The glass is otherwise flawless, without the scaling often seen, and with no chips.

Pitch: Pitches are available from A=415 to A=440.

Sounding Length: Sounding length of: Headjoint 1 body 1:554 mm; weight 512 g; pitch c.A=417 (A=415 with headjoint out a few millimeters). Headjoint 1, body 2:543 mm; weight 507 g. pitch c. A=425. H2 B1=548 mm; w=520; p=c.420. H2 B2=538 mm; w=516; p=c. 430. Headjoint 1: 159 mm; w=168 g. Headjoint 2: 153 mm; w=172 g. Midjoint 1: 182 mm.; w=164 g. Midjoint 2: 171 mm; w=156 g. Heart and foot: 233 mm; w=186 g . Thus we have flutes at the following lengths: Headjoint 1: 574 and 563 mm . Headjoint 2: 568 and 557 mm

Measurements: Embouchures: HJ 1: 10.56 x 8.51; HJ 2: 10.84 x 8.36. Embouchure depth, right side HJ1: 4.86 mm., Headjoint 2: 5.29 mm.

Case: In the original case, fitted precisely for these two heads and midjoints. The case is covered in green leather (now faded), with the inside hinge edge still in the original colors. The case fittings are brass, including the handle and two locks. On the top of the case is an old paper stamp with the number 69 and the sign of an X with two lines through. On the rear of the case is written in ink a word with "300f", as though it was sold at a shop in Paris at one time.

Sold 1/10/2010

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Photographs (click to enlarge):

This is the only known crystal flute with two headjoints.  With the two midjoints, four different sized flutes can be made spanning the pitches from A=415 to A=440.
This is the only known crystal flute with two headjoints. With the two midjoints, four different sized flutes can be made spanning the pitches from A=415 to A=440.
The engraving of the names is in the style Laurent used to 1815.  The hallmark on the left socket was used to August 31, 1809.
The engraving of the names is in the style Laurent used to 1815. The hallmark on the left socket was used to August 31, 1809.
The longer joint is on the left, and has a shorter but wider embouchure than the shorter joint on the right.  The shorter joint has a narrower bore yet thicker chimney wall, and is just a tad wider and heavier than the longer joint.  We see from this that Laurent was clearly a creative and experimental flutemaker.
The longer joint is on the left, and has a shorter but wider embouchure than the shorter joint on the right. The shorter joint has a narrower bore yet thicker chimney wall, and is just a tad wider and heavier than the longer joint. We see from this that Laurent was clearly a creative and experimental flutemaker.
This is a transitional F key for Laurent, coming between the earlier more spatulated touch and the next design without the pointed arm.  The undercutting of the tone holes can also be seen, with the F# hole on the left more undercut than the E hole on the right, as is typical of pre-Boehm flutes.
This is a transitional F key for Laurent, coming between the earlier more spatulated touch and the next design without the pointed arm. The undercutting of the tone holes can also be seen, with the F# hole on the left more undercut than the E hole on the right, as is typical of pre-Boehm flutes.
Laurent was a genius with spring steel, as can be seen via the graceful curves on this D# spring.  The pad section is swiveled, with the degree of swivel regulated by the little silver posts on either side of the axle.
Laurent was a genius with spring steel, as can be seen via the graceful curves on this D# spring. The pad section is swiveled, with the degree of swivel regulated by the little silver posts on either side of the axle.
Here we have the first of what we call the
Here we have the first of what we call the "zigzag" G#, which Laurent mostly used in the 1814-1815 era of political zigzags.
Laurent used this ivory corkscrew with cork stopper on his earliest flutes, and it is last seen in 1815 (DCM 1400).  These are handsomely done, and much more practical than the fixed glass stoppers he eventually used exclusively.
Laurent used this ivory corkscrew with cork stopper on his earliest flutes, and it is last seen in 1815 (DCM 1400). These are handsomely done, and much more practical than the fixed glass stoppers he eventually used exclusively.
The delicate and relatively small embouchure (10.84 x 8.36) is undercut at a slight angle, such that the flute might want to be held with the bottom hole more towards the audience.
The delicate and relatively small embouchure (10.84 x 8.36) is undercut at a slight angle, such that the flute might want to be held with the bottom hole more towards the audience.
Every rose has a thorn, and in this case it is the cracking inside the socket of the long joint.  Although this joint is fully useable, it is a tad unnerving.  We have not attempted to redo an old application of white shellac, and the joint is completely stable.
Every rose has a thorn, and in this case it is the cracking inside the socket of the long joint. Although this joint is fully useable, it is a tad unnerving. We have not attempted to redo an old application of white shellac, and the joint is completely stable.