Claude Laurent

Paris, France

Stamp: Engraved on headjoint socket: (caps) C. LAURENT A PARIS 1822 / (script) Brevete

Marks: No marks visible under keys.

Manufacture Date: Made 1822, per date on flute. This instrument is flute #82 in our inventory of 122 known or rumored crystal flutes. This instrument carries ID # L1822.81

Hallmarks: Hallmarked on trim and keys with the rabbit's head of silver purity, Paris, used 1818-1838, and the diamond maker's mark: J-crown over pineapple-D . This is the mark of Jean Dupin and son as follows: Jean Dupin pere: Bijouterie. 6 Rue du Roule, 57 rue St. Honor� (1818), 50 Palais Royal (1821). Registered 21 march, 1807. Mark a pineapple upside down with a crown above. Dupin jeune, Bijouterie: le sertie (stone setting) et autres. 10 rue des Vielles-Etuves-St. Honore. Registered 1817. Mark a pineapple with a crown. There are five Laurent flutes known with this mark, the earliest of which is dated 1821, the very year that Dupin pere moved to the Palais Royal. Laurent had moved there around 1815.

Comments: The 1820's were an exciting time for musicians in Paris. The disaster of the royal restoration had softened somewhat, and the Conservatoire was being renewed, culminating in the formation of the Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire in 1828. The flutes were being transformed into true Romantic instruments, and Laurent remained in the vanguard of innovate flutemakers, even if his flutes were too expensive for professionals. By 1832 Laurent was such a respected flutemaker that Theobald Boehm made a special visit to Laurent's shop to show him the new ring-keyed flute. The instrument presented here was clearly a respected flute. The key touches show typical wear from use, yet the instrument was never dropped or mishandled. This flute must have been very well maintained for it to have been in use yet remain in such good condition. This instrument has been little touched since her glory days in Paris. Although the old pads forbid a full scale, the left-hand notes are available and give a full, bold, and clear tone with even pitch (c. A=440).

Material: This Laurent flute is made of crystal glass, with silver keys and trim. The cork is a fitted disk of glass, which is not fixed (they usually are glued tight). The crown is blue glass. The springs are steel. The pads are flat leather and are very old. They are two layers of leather disks. The little catch on the headjoint socket is silver over steel. The glass design is fluted, with a frosted interior. This texture given to the glass holds the moisture evenly around the inner tube, which turns the flute transparent while in use.

System: This is an eight keyed flute with foot to C. The keywork is extremely sophisticated for this period, with guides for the long keys, specially shaped steel springs, and a footjoint mechanism of great creativity. The headjoint is fitted with a small tuning slide, possibly establishing the French tradition of a partial slide. The midjoint's lower tenon is a threaded bronze (?) screw-in design, introduced by Laurent around 1819. This flute represents the second great period of Laurent's keymaking, characterized by creative ways to deal with the footjoint keys, the tenons, and the tuning slide. The D# key is still articulated. The C and C# footjoint keys are made with a sophisticated square swivel, allowing lateral motion but no rotation of the pad. By 1826 it appears that another keymaker worked in the shop, and the swiveled D# was abandoned. This design period extends roughly from 1819 to 1826. These are also the years in which Godfroy and Bellisent were establishing their reputations, and also experimenting with key design.

Condition: This beautiful flute is in excellent original condition, with some signs of wear from use, and some modest scaling of the glass (environmental wear). Someone within the last fifty years cleaned the silver bits with a sharp tool, and minor scratches appear here and there. The embouchure is perfect. There are no breaks or cracks in the glass. The A tone hole has a tiny chip. There is curious wear to the metal disk on the top of the midjoint upper tenon, almost looking like water-corrosion from considerable playing. The keys look well used, with finger-polishing where one would expect on the silver touches. All the keys are in excellent function. The pads are very old, if not original. Only the long F pad is new. This flute has been well used and well loved. It was clearly considered an excellent and useful flute, during the days when Dorus was a student of Guillou at the Conservatoire.

Pitch: Pitch seems to be A=438-441 with slide compressed. Individual playing dramatically affects the pitch of these flutes.

Sounding Length: Sounding length 587 mm.



Case: In modern case; wooden case available if desired.

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