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Écoles et traditions régionales (2e partie)


Claude Labrèche de Carpentras : un facteur savoisien en terre pontificale.

    Joseph Scherpereel, Maître Claude Labrèche, esquisse biographique.

Claude Labreche’s life (1642-1711) covered three roughly equal periods. He spent his youth and formation years in Savoy (Aix-les-Bains) : very few documents have come to light about it. He spent his adult years in Haute-Provence (Riez) and his mature years in the Pontifical County of Avignon (Carpentras). He lived life to the full, both professionally and familywise. Many price-conventions in his capacities as joiner, sculptor, cabinet-maker bear witness to his activity. This is also shown in documents about numerous profitable investments of his profits, about indentures ensuring the education of apprentices in his art, or concerning his role as head of a violin consortor his role teaching this instrument. We also know about his three successive marriages, his eight children, and his transmission of his several skills to his eldest son. He was an enormously gifted man, a perfect master of both his craft and his musical talent, as witness the remarkable harpsichord he made and signed in Carpentras in 1699.

    Michel Foussard, Le clavecin de Claude Labrèche, Carpentras, 1699.

The existence of a harpsichord by Claude Labrèche of Carpentras,1699 had been hitherto confidential ; it has however recently been listed as a “Monument Historique”and so has had the benefit, thanks to the goodwill of its owner, of a thorough study – we present here its salient points. It has become evident that the harpsichord of Claude Labrèche is exceptionnal in its conservation in original state and without later interventions, of all its major elements, all practically still in working order, and in its conception and construction, which do not conform to any “school” as normally defined for convenience. The Savoyard origins of its maker and his settling in Carpentras, in the Papal territories, could explain this originality, which however reflect a strong tradition of manufacture. The Claude Labrèche harpsichord challenges the idea of fixed schools, and instead suggest a wide concept of European currents which settle down and take shape according to musical and political circumstances. The comparison of this instrument and its decoration with a harpsichord in the Württembergisches Landesmuseum in Stuttgart has suggested the attribution of the latter, hitherto thought Germanic, to the maker of Carpentras.

    Christopher Nobbs, A 17th-Century French Harpsichord Attributed to Claude Labrèche.

As a companion to the study by Michel Foussard of the 1699 harpsichord by Claude Labrèche, this article describes the construction and decoration of an unsigned and undated instrument which is positively attributed to Labrèche. Curious constructional features and possible early alterations are discussed, including the builder’s deviations from his own design preserved in scribe lines. The firm of Pleyel Wolff et Cie considerably modified the soundboard ribbing, bracing and action in 1905, and the author’s restoration of 1981 was mostly concerned with reversing these changes. It is proposed that this anonymous harpsichord is the earlier of these two surviving instruments of Labrèche.

Vincent Robin, À propos d’un portrait inédit de musettiste : essai d’identification d’une variante de musette à deux chalumeaux.

A portrait of a bagpipe-player was discovered in 1999. Vincent Robin shows how this document helped him to identify three bagpipes with two chanters made according to the same technique. Thanks to one of these instruments, whose history is well-known, he suggests a hypothesis about the identity of the bagpipe-player painted on the portrait. Then he compares the three music instruments, compares them with several archives and shows that they were made in the same workshop, between 1690 and 1700. The observation of several striking instruments-making details suggests that they could have been made by the Hotteterre family, a famous wind-instruments maker dynasty of the 17th and 18 th centuries.

Florence Gétreau, Tambours-bourdons en France au XVIIIe siècle.

The word “snared drum”is used to describe the membranophone “Tambourin de Provence” and the cordophone “Tambourin de Béarn” all typically played by one musician together with a flute. They appear in the iconography as soon as early Renaissance in several European countries, and develop in the French provinces through the 17th Century. During the French Regency, the tambourin de Provence starts a career in the Opera, and knows its heyday with Rameau. It will be followed by the “Tambourin de Béarn”.Often used in Parisian bals in the 18th Century, they will return later to a more provincial and popular use.

Joël Dugot, Sonorités inouïes : la nouvelle harpe de Messieurs Krumpholtz et Naderman.

The harpist and composer Jean Baptiste Krumpholtz (1747-1790) started a new interest and development for the pedal harp with hooks. Around 1785, he devised a new damping system and added to the body five shutters driven by an extra pedal which changed the sound of the instrument a lot. Jean-Henri Naderman (1734-1799), one of the most famous parisian harp-makers, was chosen to make the new instruments. The famous writer Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-1799) wrote a detailed report on these inventions. Today, six harps of this specific model have been located. They are all particularly well-made instruments, concerning the painted parts, although all different from one another. They can all be connected with a book of adornments written around 1780 by the architect Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-1789), whose title is : Livre des Trophées d’Amour et de Musique. A rare characteristic of these harps deserves notice : all the paintings of the soundboard are exactly the same and were executed by the same workshop.

Maria Rose van Epenhuysen, Beethoven and his ‘French Piano’ : Proof of Purchase.

The Erard sales books of 1803 show that Beethoven purchased one of their pianos, shedding new light on Beethoven’s interest in this piano and French piano music. This article investigates how and why Erard’s piano for Beethoven has always been portrayed as a gift, and discusses the circumstances under which Beethoven acquired the piano, but soon after lost interest in it. Beethoven’s interest in the Erard piano is explained in terms of his relationship to Haydn (who had received a similar piano), his acqaintance with other piano virtuosos from Paris, and his own intended trip to Paris. The Waldstein sonata Op. 53, especially the expansion of the first movement and the pedalled sound of the third, may have been inspired by Louis Adam’s Sonata Op. 8 no. 2.