Two-keyed oboe after Delusse, A=430 or 415


Built by Joel Robinson & Geoffrey Burgess (2007) after originals by (Christophe) Delusse (fl. Paris 1781-89), available at 430Hz or 415Hz.

Delusse’s oboes were highly regarded for the beauty of their tone and the excellence of their intonation, Our copies are excellent two- keyed oboes, particularly suitable for late 18th-century chamber music, but also fine orchestral instruments and achieve a perfect blend with other classical winds. This instrument is copied after two originals by Delusse made in the 1780s. The originals were both owned and played by a pioneer of the early music movement, Michel Piguet, and subsequently bought in 2000 by Geoffrey Burgess and Mary Kirkpatrick. The one owned by Burgess is shorter and is made of at least two species of the Dalbergia family: a denser-grained timber (kingwood or palisander) for the top joint and lighter and more porous timber for the middle joint and bell (Honduras or Brasilian rosewood). Kirkpatrick’s oboe is made of cocuswood (Brya ebenus) with a substantial ivory repair at the top of the top joint made sometime in the late 20th century. We discovered experimentally that the middle joints of the two oboes were remarkably similar and that the bell of the one owned by Burgess had been modified—probably around 1800 at the same time that a long tuning key was added to close one of the bell holes. In order to establish the most accurate copy of the instrument as originally conceived by Delusse, we used the bell of the Kirkpatrick oboe as the basis of the present design. Another discovery was that while the shorter oboe played around 430Hz, substituting the longer top joint of Kirkpatrick’s oboe produced a workable oboe at 415Hz. This is of great benefit to oboists needing to play classical music at the lower pitch, as this model has all the same playing characteristics—light articulation, easy high register and “transparent” Classical tone—as the 430 model. For our copies we use a combination of tembers: kingwood (Dalbergia ceanrensis), African Blackwood (Grenadilla, Dalbergia melanoxilin) or Cocuswood (Brya ebenus) for the top joint and Honduras rosewood (Dalbergia stevensonii) for the rest. The rosewood is left its natural colour of stained, depending on the colour of the timber used for the top joint. The tone varies somewhat depending on the timber. All have proven very stable and resilient against modern performance conditions. Two reeds are supplied with the oboe.