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Virtual Tour of
"Beethoven & Berlioz, Paris & Vienna:
Musical Treasures from the Age of Revolution & Romance

Bassoon by Jean Nicolas Savary jeune, Paris, 1823

NMM 2418.  Bassoon by Jean Nicolas Savary jeune, Paris, 1823. Stamped on bell: * / Savary / jeune / A PARIS / *. Tiger maple. Brass mounts. Eleven brass keys. SATW. Two wing joints, of which one has two mechanical brass tuning slides. The butt joint also has a tuning slide. The long joint has one extension. Wing joint 420 mm; butt joint 423 mm; long joint 499 mm; bell joint 330 mm; height 1252 mm. Octagonal wooden case, fitted for 5 joints and the bocal.

A splendid example of cutting-edge experimentation in Paris at the time, this marvelous bassoon is a one-of-a-kind example, featuring mechanically operated tuning slides on each joint, an extra wing joint, and a "tip-up" butt that allowed the tubing to be extended there, as well, all contained in a deluxe mahogany case. Savary was a famous French bassoonist, as well as the leading bassoon maker of his day, and a number of his bassoons survive in various collections, but this appears to be the only surviving example of this unique model, which is otherwise known only by advertisements placed in trade journals in 1823, the same date that is stamped on the instrument. As is sometimes the case, the mechanism is too complicated, making it difficult to maintain, and players must have thought it easier simply to "lip" a note up or down to play in tune. This may well have been a prototype, the only example that Savary built. Ex coll.: de Cicogna family, Milan. Board of Trustees, 1985.

NMM 2418. Bassoon by Jean Nicolas Savary jeune, Paris, 1823.

Details of Sections of the Bassoon

Bocal/Long Joint/Wing Joint
Key configuration
Butt joint

Special Mechanisms

Left and Right:  Mechanical Tuning Slide Extension

Left:  Tuning Slide in Butt Joint

Tuning slide in butt joint
Mechanical extension in long joint

Two Mechanical Tuning Slides in Extra Wing Joint

Two mechanical brass tuning slides

Source:  André P. Larson, Beethoven & Berlioz, Paris & Vienna: Musical Treasures from the Age of Revolution & Romance 1789-1848, with essay by John Koster, exhibition catalog, Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, September 12-November 2, 2003 (Vermillion: National Music Museum 2003), p. 50.

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Most recent update: February 26, 2014

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