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"Beethoven & Berlioz, Paris & Vienna:
Musical Treasures from the Age of Revolution & Romance
NMM 6186. Flageolet (bird pipe) by F. Noblet, Paris, ca. 1825. A recorder-like instrument, used to train cage birds to sing. The Noblet firm, founded in 1750, was a prominent French maker of woodwind instruments throughout the 19th century. At the age of twelve, Berlioz is said to have found an old flageolet in the back of a drawer, leading him to ask his father to let him learn to play the flute. He later called it a "silly little instrument," and once went so far as to refer to it as "that leper of modern music." However, he also acknowledged "the really remarkable talent of certain virtuosi and the pleasure a well-played flageolet solo can sometimes give," particularly "in bright, sprightly dance pieces," an interesting carry-over from the 18th-century aristocratic fascination with the "rustic" life. Gift of Robert F. Cole, Montello, Wisconsin, 1998.
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. 41.
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