1835 – Tulou, 2d Grand Solo

In his report about the 1835 concours Fétis writes in the Revue Musicale on 23 August: „Mr. Tulou has done wonders this year; four of his students have received distinctions. Two prizes and two accessits were given in his class. It is unfortunate that the same superiority was not found in all the wind instrument classes.“

Jean-Michel Forestier, born on 9 August 1812 in Udine, Italy, was 23 years old when he won the first price at the 1835 concours. He was one of the oldest students in Tulou’s class who finished their studies. He later played flute in the Théâtre Italien and was conductor of the Orchestre de la Garde Impériale. Only little is known about his concert career.  In 1853 he became member of the Association des Artistes Musiciens, a society that supported musicians. Forestier had five children. Two of his daughters, Fanny and Jeanne, had both a relationship with the comedian Firmin Léautaud, known for his numerous affairs and regular ‚guest’ in the Parisian press. Jeanne and Firmin are the parents of the writer and theater critic Paul Léautaud.

Jacques Joseph Henricet, born on 21 February 1815 in Bourg, was 20 years old when he won the second price at the 1835 concours. A year later he won the first price. He continued private studies with Eugène Walckiers who dedicated his op. 70, published in 1838, to him. Henricet was later employed to the 8. Légion Garde Nationale. In the late 1840s he moved to Napoléon-Vendée (today La Roche-sur-Yon), a small town in western France, nearby his hometown Bourg, were he worked as music teacher. In 1851 he founded the cercle musical, a concert series for distinguished amateurs and professional musicians. His son, a pianist, lived there as well. Jacques’ brother Nicolas, who studied the French horn at the Conservatoire and played first horn at the Opéra comique, joined them some years later. 

Louis-Antoine Brunot, born on the 16th November 1820 in Lyon, was 14 years old when he got the first Accessit at the 1835 concours. Two years later he won the second price, and in 1838 he finally got the first price. According to Pontécoulant (1840) Brunot abandoned the Boehm flute after having studied it. He might have adopted it later (in 1856 he played a solo by Boehm „perfectly“ – a hint?). Brunot played in the Orchestre du Palais-Royal, and from 1850 on he was first flute at the Opéra Comique. He also played in the Concerts Pasdeloup. Brunot published a few compositions for flute, of which only a handful is known today: two fantasies about airs of Webers’ opera Oberon (op. 6,19), a fantaisie originale op. 7 and arranged airs from Oberon for flute. There is a manuscript of an Adagio in the National Library of France (bnf). Although he appeared in the press from time to time, nothing was written about his playing, except the fact that he was an excellent flute player. 

Paul-Mérédic Constans, born on 20th April 1821 in Versailles, was 14 years old when he got the first Accessit at the 1835 concours. One year later he won the second, and in 1837 the first price. I didn’t find any information about his further career.

The five-keyed flute used in that video was made by Clair Godfroy aîné (no° 1737) around 1832. Its third octave is extremely light and very comfortable to play. This, however, comes with a price. The flute has a very weak low octave, and its intonation is quite difficult. Alternative fingerings do not always help, sometimes none of Tulou’s fingerings work. For example, he gives three fingerings for the F# third octave: XXO/XOO as the usual one, XOO/XOO/o and XOX/XOO as leading notes. On many French flutes the usual F# is low, but here the fingering is extremely low, just as the other fingerings are extremely high. As I wanted to stick to the historical fingerings I had to correct the intonation with the embouchure instead which was not always comfortable but possible. Other notes could not be corrected with alternative fingerings such as D2 (extremely high), E2 and A2 (very high), or F#1 and F#2 (very low), so I constantly had to turn the flute in and out. After two weeks of practicing (next to five other original flutes) I got used to it, and very much enjoyed playing the instrument.

The piano is a 1829 Pleyel.