Hotteterre - Ornaments in French music for Flute and Recorder

Flute by Stefan Beck - Photo: Michael Dollendorf

25-26 March 2023

Jacques-Martin Hotteterre le Romain (1674-1763)

The Hotteterre family was famous all over Europe for woodwind instruments they produced, especially recorders and transverse flutes, but also bassoons and oboes. Jacques is almost the same age as Peter Bressan (1663-1731), who brought the new French style instruments to England. The music in Versailles at the court of Louis XIV and in London the the court of William & Mary is unthinkable without these fine woodwinds. Besides his employment at court he also ran a music publishing business and was a teacher thought after by the citizens of Paris. The younger generation of flute players like Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755) and Michael Blavet (1700-1768) could build on his achievements.

Many players are scared of the French scores which are so detailed about ornaments and style. All these 'Figures des agréments' are an essential part of the music, not just flourishes that can be left out at will. Therefore it also make little sense to study them by themselves. One of the first printed collections that gives all the fine detail is Jacques Hotteterre's Opus 2 'Premier Livre de Pièces pour la Flûte Traversière', originally published in 1708 and reprinted in 1715. We recommend the 1715 edition. In the seven years in between music printing advanced. The earlier print is done in 17th century block print while the later one is a beautiful engraved version, much easier to read and to follow.

The music is available on IMSLP. It would be great to work from the facsimile. You can sometimes also find a modern transcription, but that looses the elegance of the engraved music.

A very good way to become more familiar with the style is also his 'L'art de préluder', Op.7 from 1719'Art_de_pr%C3%A9luder_sur_la_fl%C3%BBte_traversi%C3%A8re,_1719.pdf

Edition Walhall has published an excellent translation into German.


Hotteterre's Opus 3, the Sonates en Trio, Paris 1712, we can look at for beautiful ensemble music:





Hotteterre - Ornaments in French music for Flute and Recorder | Michael Dollendorf - Early Music


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