The Graz Hotteterre flute was probably made
in the workshop of Martin Hotteterre (d1712) or perhaps
by his son Jacques, known as Hotteterre-le-Romain (1674-1763),
who also wrote the first method book for the baroque flute.
The instruments of the French court in the late seventeenth
and early eighteenth century were deep-toned and rich in sound,
and this flute is no exception. It can easily hold its own
with with lute, harpsichord and viola da gamba, even in large
rooms, and is remarkably easy to play in "difficult"
keys, especially those with flats in the key-signature. Original
flutes stamped HOTTETERRE in Berlin and St Petersburg previously
believed to be authentic turn out to be nineteenth-century
of a lost original.
We might expect this to be the instrument for
playing the sweet, languishing airs so popular at the French
court, but it also sounds well in the Italianate music of
Jacques Hotteterre, Michel de la Barre, and other Frenchmen.
It is hard to imagine the earliest German flute music of the
18th century being played on any other type of instrument,
especially by a French virtuoso such as Pierre Gabriel Buffardin,
first flute of the Dresden court orchestra and the teacher
The sound sample illustrates an Hotteterre-like
instrument in olivewood, played by Ardal Powell, with Spencer
Carroll, harpsichord, in a live performance of pieces originally
composed for lute by Robert de Visee, on 19 July 1991 at the
Indianapolis Early Music Festival.