HOTTETERRE: Music for Flute, Vol. 1
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Jacques Hotteterre (1673-1763)
Premier livre de Pi?¿cespour la Fl??te traversi?¿re
(First Book of Pieces for the Transverse Flute)
Jacques Hotteterre, called le Romain, isone of the most illustrious figures in the history of the transverse flute. Atthe same time a distinguished performer, an enlightened teacher and arecognised composer, he brought to the Baroque flute full respectabilitythrough his Livres de pi?¿ces (Books of Pieces), L 'Art de Prelude (TheArt of the Prelude) and his Principes de la Fl??te (Principles of theFlute). There are various confusions relating to Jacques Hotteterre, to whomthe invention of the three-section Baroque flute is often wrongly attributed,whereas he was only its populariser.
Member of a great family of instrument-makersoriginating from Couture-Boussey in Normandy, Hotteterre was born in Paris on29th September 1673. His father, Martin (1648-1712), was then a well knownmaster instrument-maker, inventor of the little chalumeau on the musette andvery probably the creator of the first German flutes in three sections, usedfrom 1681 in Lully's orchestra.
Jacques Hotteterre and his brother Jean,known as the Elder (? - 1720) had a good training and both learned the art ofinstrument-making. While the latter seems to have succeeded his father as amaker, the former preferred the ceremony of the court to the friendlyatmosphere of the workshop. He followed his father as Grand Hautbois du Roi, aposition that opened the way for him to the privileged royal musical establishment,the Chambre du Roi. From 1797 he began his musical career as a composer andteacher. It was in this year that he published his well known treatise Principesde la fl??te traversi?¿re-ou d'Allemagne, de la fl??te ?á bec ou fl??te douceet du hautbois (Principles of the Transverse or German Flute, of theRecorder or Flauto Dolce and of the Oboe), which was re-issued many times up to1765 and was translated into Flemish and even pirated in English.
In 1708 Hotteterre had published byChristophe Ballard his collection Pi?¿ces pour la fl??te traversi?¿re et autresinstruments avec la basse continue (Pieces for Transverse Flute and OtherInstruments with Basso Continuo), announcing himself as Fl??te de la Chambredu Roy (Flautist of the Royal Chamber), dedicating the work to the King.
The preface is particularly eloquent:
TO THE KING, Sire, the favourableattention that YOUR MAJESTY has deigned to bestow on me since I had the honourof playing these Pieces in your presence has today inspired my boldness inpresenting them to you. What happier success could I wish for them than that offilling some of those moments when the greatest King of the world wishes toescape from his glorious occupations. It is an advantage, SIRE, for which I amuniquely obliged to the extreme kindness of YOUR MAJESTY and it is to mark myvery humble recognition of this that I take the liberty of dedicating to youthese Pieces, flattering myself that my tribute will not be rejected, nor theprotestation that I make of being all my life with zealous ardour and thedeepest respect, SIRE, YOUR MAJESTY's very humble, very obedient and veryfaithful Servant and Subject HOTTETERRE.
The success was doubtless immediate, butbetter to understand the reason it is necessary to place the work in its musicalcontext.
The first collection published forflutes, straight and transverse, was that of Marin Marais, in 1692, Pi?¿cesen trio pour les fl??tes, violon et dessus de viole (Trio Pieces for Flutes,Violin and Treble Viol). Two years later, Michel de la Barre, also a musicianof the Chambre du Roy, presented his Pi?¿ces en trio pour les violons, fl??teset hautbois (Trio Pieces for Violins, Flutes and Oboes) to the public, whoseemed to appreciate them, as the Dutch edition in 1696, by Roger in Amsterdam,bears witness, and another French edition, again by Ballard, in 1707. A secondcollection of Pi?¿ces en trio was published in 1700 and enjoyed the samesuccess as the first.
It was not until 1702 that there appeareda collection of Pi?¿ces pour la fl??te traversi?¿re et la basse continue (Piecesfor the Transverse Flute and Basso Continuo), again by Michel de la Barre,which marked the beginning of a style of writing specifically for atreble instrument and basso continuo.
When in 1708 the collection of Pi?¿cespour la fl??te traversi?¿re (Pieces for the Transverse Flute) of JacquesHotteterre was published, flautists only had for their repertoire the suites byde La Barre. Their style, very similar, much inspired by the music of Lully,has a touch of the Italian, as the gigues L'ltalienne and LaPerousine show. Was this as the result of a journey to Rome? There is nodocument to support the suggestion that Hotteterre went to Italy, except hisnickname Le Romain (The Roman), that he perhaps had to assume to avoidconfusion with other members of his family, or, very simply, because heappreciated, more than others, Italian music, as the arrangements he made in1721 of sonatas by Torelli and Valentino show.
This first collection won public favour,since a second edition, issued this time by Foucault, appeared in 1715. Thereis virtually no difference between the two editions except for the change ofmethod of reproduction (the 1708 edition is printed and that of 1715 engraved):
1. No piece is added or omitted,Hotteterre has simply grouped his pieces into five suites (Foucault edition) instead ofthree (Ballard edition), which shows perhaps that the pieces of 1708 wereinterchangeable or a re-organization of the suite between the editions.
2. The composer has written a bass forthe two pieces for two transverse flutes, Les Delices ou Le Fargis andthe Rondeau le Champ?¬tre.
3. A number of ornaments have been addedin the second version of the collection, as the composer mentions: "augmentedwith several ornaments and a demonstration of the manner in which they are tobe played".
An introduction in both editions that isextremely valuable for anyone who wants to restore as accurately as possibleFrench music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, is placed at thebeginning. It contains precise remarks on a number of points. The firstconcerns the use of different instruments:
\Although these Pieces were composed forthe Transverse Flute, they are nevertheless suitable for all Instruments thatplay the Treble, such as the Recorder, the Oboe, the Violin, the Treble Violetc."
This is usual, except for theharpsichord:
"Some can even be played on the keyboardas Pieces, that is to say the Treble in one hand and the Bass in the other."
Further on in the preface Hotteterre shows howto play his suites on the recorder, demonstrating his lively interest in theinstrument:
"As there are some that go down too lowfor the recorder, it will be necessary to have recourse to transposition whenone wants to play them on that Instrument; one would transpose the key of D toF, of G a major third to B and E a minorthird to G."
The rest of the introduction deals withthe interpretation of the pieces in general and the manner of realising theornaments:
"This is what seems to me necessary forthe understanding of th