Bressan Recorders

Bressan Recorders by Micha Silkenat - Photo: Michael Dollendorf
Model: 
Baroque recorders after Peter Bressan

Peter Bressan was born as Pierre Jaillard in Bourg-en-Bresse in 1663 and came to England in 1688, where he changed his last name to the place name he came from (like Vito Corleone 200 years later). He had been an apprentice to Jean Boysser at age 15 but might also have studied with the Hotteterres in Paris. He became wealthy in London as an oboist and woodwind maker within 15 years, was naturalized in 1723 and died in 1732.

Over 50 of his recorders survived to this day and it is easy to study his style. His instruments are famous for their free and open sound and their exquisite decorations with ivory cap and wide ivory rings, just rivaled by the German maker Heytz. Together with Rottenbourg and Stanesby his recorders mark the highest level of recorder building. Unfortunately the instrument fell out of fashion around the time of his death.


 

I tried Micha Silkenat's recorders at an exhibition and asked him to make a matching pair of Alto recorders in F at the original pitch (403-405 Hz) with an extra middle piece for 392 Hz. They are fantastic and we had a go with them at Bach's F major harpsichord concerto (like Brandenburg IV but in F and the harpsichord as solo instrument). It is so much fun when the instruments match and there are no tuning problems.

The Tenor in C came some years later, also at 403 Hz. Again a wonderful instrument and the all time favorite among my Baroque recorders. Easy over the entire range, infinite colors in the sound and perfect intonation. This is the ideal instrument to play all the oboe music but also to take over a vocal line in a duo for singers.


 

Bressan Recorders by Micha Silkenat - Photo: Michael Dollendorf
Bressan Recorders by Micha Silkenat - Photo: Michael Dollendorf
Bressan Recorders by Micha Silkenat - Photo: Michael Dollendorf