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Clair Godfroy, ain�


Paris, France

Stamp: On all joints, engraved: CLAIR / GODFROY, AIN� / (script) Brevet� (note: no accent on headjoint)/ (Gothic) Paris. Additionally on headjoint: 1013


Manufacture Date: Made c. 1866 (Shorey).

Hallmarks: No hallmarks.

Comments: This very lovely flute seems to have an emerging hint of Bonneville about it. There is the absolute purity of Lot and Godfroy, with Godfroy's usual slight stuffiness replaced by Bonneville's emerging vision of texture and volume. We date this flute from 1866 or so, just before the great Exhibition of 1867 in Paris. Dorus was still professor of the silver flute at the Conservatoire, and the new flute was well celebrated in Paris. The great genius Vincent Hypolite Godfroy was 59, and two years from his early passing. This instrument not only brings the sound of the very emergence of the silver flute, but, amazingly, it is a sound still entirely valid today. Rich in texture, full in volume, and pure as snow; this is a flute as beautiful, and as useful, as any made today.

Material: This flute is the model 6, silver flute with B foot. The cork screw is of wood. The pad washers have been modernized. The springs have all been replaced with gold.

System: This flute is the classic Lot/ Godfroy model, with B foot, independent G#, trill to the thumb C. The B foot is right hand pinkie operated, with all the touches on the footjoint. The body scale measures out at 220 mm, which is the classic old pitch French scale, aiming for an A at 446 or so. Nonetheless the flute plays at an unquestionable A=440, for the most part. A strobe tuner is not the correct way to approach these flutes in general.

Condition: Much of this flute is in original condition, yet it has lived through a difficult relationship with a poor restorationist many years ago. The lipplate and embouchure are perfect. The crown is sublime. The flute is in excellent and fully playable condition. A closer look reveals that the tone hole rims are actually not quite perfectly aligned with the holes in the flute body! This is a repairable condition, the result of a resoldering of the tone holes, yet in fact the instrument plays beautifully, with this secret well hidden away. The open hole keys have been closed and opened again, I suspect. The current chimneys are new, and come down from new plates on the keys, where a covering would have been. There is a successful repair on the lower body tenon. The headjoint is original, almost. The ring appears to have been moved down a bit, setting the headjoint at A=440, with a silver sleeve set in the barrel to compensate. This works, although there is definitely more affect on the high C# than the low B. A relationship with this beautiful flute is likely to be a tiny bit complicated; for me, these relationships have always been the most satisfying!

Pitch: Pitched at A=440, thanks to the lowered headjoint ring. Originally scaled at A=446, I suspect, it would be perfect for European higher pitch playing.

Sounding Length: 635 mm


Weight: 416

Case: Currently in an old case, in fairly rough shape.

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