transverse flute


Jean-Hyacinthe and Godfroid-Adrien Rottenburgh, 1751-1765 (inv. N°: 2683)

The Rottenburgh family, active at court and in the royal chapel, played a central role in the musical life of Brussels during the 18th century. The Rottenburghs were musicians, luthiers and woodwind instrument makers, and sometimes all of these at the same time. The mim is fortunate to have a very beautiful selection of 45 pieces made by members of this family, mainly wind instruments (clarinets, recorders, transverse flutes, oboes), but also several stringed instruments (violas, cellos) and fragments of instruments.

The transverse flute bearing inventory number 2683, made of burnished boxwood and with two ivory ferrules, consists of four parts: the head, upper body, lower body and the foot where a brass key is situated. This construction in several sections typifies instruments of the Baroque period, which followed flutes constructed in one piece of the Renaissance period. The instrument has two different maker's marks relating respectively to Jean-Hyacinthe and Godfroid-Adrien Rottenburgh: I.H. / ROTTENBURGH / star on the upper and lower body and foot, G.A. / ROTTENBURGH / star on the head. The latter, where the embouchure hole is located, carries additional inscriptions that indicate the value of the instrument in 1751 and its restoration in 1765. It is extremely likely that at this date, the head signed G.A. Rottenburgh replaced the original defective or damaged head.

The instrument was acquired by the mim in 1908 from the collection of Renaisien César Snoeck, thanks to a donation from Louis Cavens, a patron who made a significant contribution to the development of the museum.

Rottenburgh transverse flutes have played a important role in the rediscovery of early music on period instruments, and were among the very first to be used as models by modern instrument makers. The famous Belgian flutist Barthold Kuijken, a concert musician specialized in Baroque music and professor at the Music Conservatories of Brussels and The Hague, owns an original Godfroid-Adrien Rottenburgh flute. This instrument and other authentic specimens preserved in the mim - by Jean-Hyacinthe (I or II) and Godfroid-Adrien - have widely served as models enabling specialized builders to successfully construct reproductions or adaptations of the originals. Between the 1970s and 1990s, the Rottenburgh-style traverso was used by numerous Baroque and classical flutists and became the international reference before a wider range of models appeared at the end of the 20th century (based on Hotteterre, Grenser, Denner, etc.). But the Rottenburgh copies remain, even today, highly prized. Every music lover has no doubt heard, even unknowingly, a traverso of this type, whether in concert, at the opera, on radio or television, on albums or in some or other museum's audio guide...

flute inv. 2683
flute inv. 2683