Buffet, Auguste juene - conical Boehm, 1838-9

Cottignies - Air Vareé

Cottignies - Finale from Norma

Cottignies - Bolero (Rossini)

The Buffet Coché model following the patent application of 1838.  This is the first Boehm flute patented in France. It is a different flute from the A. Buffet in the NMM which is also labeled as 1838. I suspect that the NMM model is really the 1840 model also produced at that time by Buffet Crampon. This Brevete model was evidently produced only for a very short time. http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/Exhibitions/BeethovenBerlioz/BBBuffetflute.html

As this flute is labeled “Brevete” it is probably from 1839 as the patent was issued that January. It does have a second thumb hole unlike the patent and other illustrations. I would guess this was the “deluxe version” based on the very fancy keys and other fine details. 

Note also, the embouchure which is much more Boehm influenced than the models of Buffet and Godfroy which are ore typically French. Not only is it rather square (but still quite small) but the silver lip plate is indented to assist the angle of air onto the edge similar to Boehm’s own flutes.  

The flute was missing the d# key and some springs but it otherwise quite complete and in quite excellent condition. The wide ring on the head joint is a tuning spacer that came with the flute. All fully restored now by Gary Lewis.

This is the type of Boehm flute that was used in the important “contest” at the Paris Conservatory in 1838, basically between Coché and friends on the “new flute” and Tulou and friends on his standard simple system flute. The result of the competition was that the Boehm flute was not approved to be taught at the Paris Conservatory. While both the simple system and Boehm flutes were able to perform all examples to everyone’s satisfaction it was felt that the Boehm design had not yet become standardized enough. Good evidence of this is the fact that by 1840 or so both Godfroy and Buffet made conical flutes more similar to the Godfroy 1837 design - with Buffet using his new clutches rather than the “vaulted clutches” of Boehm’s design used by Godfroy.

Much more information to follow on this flute. If anyone knows of any other extant flutes of this model. please let me know. Scroll to the bottom to see the drawing of this flute from the Coché flute treatise. At the current time this is the only example of this extremely important model whose location is known. There have been “sightings” of 2 others in the past - an excellent one seen some 30 years ago, and a less-than-perfect example at a shop in Paris (now closed). The locations of these two examples are unknown and any leads would be much appreciated.

Note the original “tuning ring.” Gary Lewis also made me two internal tuning rings, one at A=446 (matching the original ring) and another right around A=440. I think the flute works best around 446 but is quite playable at 440. 

Recent research by René Pierre and published on his site  http://rp-archivesmusiquefacteurs.blogspot.fr http://rp-archivesmusiquefacteurs.blogspot.fr indicate that the key maker was Belorgey who also made keys for some of Laurent’s most famous flutes - in particular his 1844 conical Boehm flute which has a noticeably similar style key design.

Restoration by Gary Lewis

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Coche flute from treatise

© Michael Lynn, 2014 - 2023 - some of these flutes are available for purchase - please contact me for further information