1908 - 1-key conical flute by Thomas Cahusac


This unassuming, battle-scarred flute is one of the prizes of my collection because it is the first 1-keyed instrument I ever played, aged perhaps eleven, in duets with my then teacher Christine Ring, to whom it belonged. Christine's collection of flutes at that point included two Stanesbys, and some other equally impressive instruments, but this was my favourite instrument to play, by some distance. Christine played her unmounted boxwood early Valentine Metzler flute (see instrument 1909), and we battled with Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's duets, often collapsing into fits of laughter as we tried to out-anticipate each other's tuning in the more difficult passages (of which there are plenty). Christine taught me, valuably, that no flute is absolutely 'in tune' and that it is the flautist's first job to adjust each note by ear. 

The flute is essentially unaltered, but has multiple hairline cracks in the headjoint, which were liberally wrapped in desiccated old sellotape when I inherited it. The elegant curved brass key, probably original, has been repaired, and the inner surfaces of the slot in the block have been chamfered away at some point. For the moment the flute still plays well at around A432, the gunk from the old sellotape still somehow sealing the cracks. I'm superstitious about removing it, but when the instrument eventually stops speaking I'll find a more permanent remedy. For more on Christine Ring go to Instruments/Texts.