1843 – Tulou, 9e Grand Solo
“The flute competition also deserves a special mention: only three competitors were vying for the prize, and the youngest of them all, a child of twelve or thirteen years of age, who started out as a ship’s boy, and who is already an excellent musician, won by a landslide over his two competitors. The piece composed by Mr. Tulou was also very pleasant.”
The young Gustave Lemou visibly impressed the author “A.Z.” of the article in the Revue Musicale from 13 August 1843. In fact, Lemou, born on 23 November 1828 in Auxerre, was 14 years old when he got the second price in the 1843 concours. In the same year he also held a first price in solfège. Lemou was an outstanding flute student as Tulou reports: „has made noticeable progress in the short time he has been in my class (1842); very good reader, easy embouchure, light fingers, gives a lot of hope; gives hope, works quite well (1843), did not work as hard this year; but nevertheless has made remarkable progress; he is in very good health. (1844)“ In 1844 Paul Smith mentions him in his report about the concours: „Flute. – First prize: Mr. Lemou, a young student barely sixteen years old, and to whom we would give at most twelve, who started out as a ship’s boy, and has only been at the Conservatory for two years.“ (Revue et Gazette musicale 11.8.1844)
As price winner Lemou could play in the concert of the distibution of prices. In the review of that concert we get more information about his playing: „The young flute player Lemou distinguished himself above all by his charming quality of tone and the elegance of his style“ (Revue et Gazette musicale 24.11.1844). Not only did Tulou highly estimate his playing, other teachers did as well. So did the horn teacher Meifred predict him a brillant future. Although his playing was very promising he later did not appear in the musical press. We only find him in several theatres such as the Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique (1845) and the orchestras of the Théâtre Montausier, the Folies-Dramatiques and the Théâtre Dejazet. He died in 1876 or 1877.
François-Émile Lascoretz was born on 14 October 1825 (or 1826) in Troyes. He came from a family of (military) musicians. His father Jean-Baptiste-François-Antoine l’aîné (1786-1854) played the clarinet and composed. He was the tenant of the Café de la Comédie and ran a music school. In 1835 he went to Paris (this could explain his son’s connection with the Conservatoire) and later returned to Troyes, where he taught music and traded in musical instruments. His younger brother Adrien-Antoine-Jean-Baptiste le jeune (1787-1857) was a clarinetist and military musician, like their father.
François-Emile probably received his first musical training from his father, and he might have received flute lessons from the flute player Arnaud, who took an active part in concert life in Troyes. When Lascoretz was 16 or 17, he entered Tulou’s class. Tulou was very positive about his new student. He reported: „fairly good musician, easy embouchure, fairly good tone, lightness in the fingers, I hope he will become a very good student” (1842). A year later, already, Lascoretz took part at the concours. He got an accessit. He might have felt some pressure to finish his studies soon, because they were financed by the city of Troyes, as we learn from an 1845 concert review: “M. Lascoretz fils, laureate of the Conservatoire, played us on the flute variations on a few motifs of the Diamants de la couronne. There is a future in this young man, who has so far shown himself worthy of the sacrifices the city has made to complete his musical education. However he is a little wary of his petulance of young age, he will be able to give more strength and fullness to tone which already does not lack sweetness and harmony.” (L’Aube 3 April 1845). Nevertheless, it will last another two years before he takes part in the concours again. In the middle of his studies, he somehow lost motivation, as Tulou reported: „quite good embouchure and a lot of ease, he would need solfège lessons (1843); has the means to do well, but his shortcomings in class and his laziness prevented the progress he should have made (1844)”. Shortly after he regained his composure and, after winning a second prize in 1846, completed his studies in 1847. Tulou was quite content: “, is fine; but no apartitude in the class (1845); has made significant progress; good embouchure, very easy, fairly good musician; but little apartitude in the measure (1846); good embouchure – bright fingers, good musician; but a lightness that unites with the good quality of his execution (1847)“ The city Troyes celebrated this success as we read in an article of the Troyes newspaper L’Aube on August 4: “The young Lascoretz, who had obtained the second prize for flute at the Conservatoire two years ago [here the author is mistaken], has just completed with dignity a work so well begun, by meriting the first prize, which has just been awarded to him in the solemn session of the August 3. While congratulating the laureate on this fine triumph, we applaud the fact that the sacrifices made by the city, in favor of this young man, have produced a favorable result. It is rare to achieve such honorable and decisive success. We are told that young Lascoretz is to settle in Troyes. We welcome this resolution with pleasure. The crowned Artist will be a useful auxiliary for the Philharmonic Society; and it is likely that with such a background he will not lack pupils.”
Probably during his studies Lascoretz played in the orchestra of the Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique. As his father, his uncle and Tulou he was member of the Association des Artistes musiciens. Back in Troyes he played an active role in the city’s cultural life. He played flute in the Orchestre de la Société philharmonique and a few years he became their conductor. Lascoretz also became director of the Orphéon, a musical institution dedicated to singing and music education, and founded a fanfare, which was expanded to harmony music in 1859. He also composed several pieces, including Trois trios faciles et brillants for flute, horn and bassoon, a polka for piano and orchestra (1853) and a chanson politique et patriotique.
In the Société philharmonique he played and conducted the orchestra at the same time as the author of a review from May 15 1859 reported:
“One can see that he is in control, that he is sure of himself, that he no longer has to reckon with those material difficulties that often cause hesitation and deprive the performance of the brio that takes you away, the casualness that charms. (…) Emile Lascoretz, the Proteus of music by his talent, who can be a first-rate flute player, violinist, cellist and anything else you like, if necessary, did even more in Guillaume Tell; he conducted the orchestra and played the part of first flute at the same time: his instrument was a baton, his baton an instrument, and all of this to everyone’s great satisfaction, thus contributing doubly to the unquestionable success of the masterful overture. Rossini would have been pleased to see his favourite work so perfectly performed.”
Unfortunately, François-Emile did not live to be old. He died on 8 September 1860. The Musée d’art et archéologie in Troyes houses a bust of Emile. It was made in 1851 by his friend Louis-Auguste Delécole (1828-1868).
Not much was written about his playing. There is, however, a short note about the choice of music Lascoretz made for a concert in 1855 that tells us rather more about the author’s taste than about the execution: “Mr. Lascoretz, a distinguished laureate of the Conservatoire, who accidentally arrived in Bar(-sur-Seine) during the concert, and who only gave us an improvisation that was a little too fantastic, made us regret not hearing him in a well-chosen and well-prepared piece. Let’s hope that he will make it up to us at the next concert. In our opinion, the difficulties appeal to few people. As for the mass of listeners, it does not matter to them that an artist has overcome the greatest difficulties, for example, by playing the violin on a single string; by touching the piano with the left hand instead of using both hands, or by playing the flute through the nose like certain Polynesian islanders; what they want are sweet and melodious sounds, music that pleases them like that of Donizetti or Auber.” (Le Petit Courrier de Bar-sur Seine 11 May 1855)
Antoine-Auguste Bruyant, born on 14 December 1827 in Pontarlier (Doubs), changed to the oboe class of Gustave Vogt in 1843. He later played in the Orchestre de la Porte Saint-Martin, in the Opéra Comique, in the Société des Concerts and became officier de l’instruction publique in 1899. He died on 12 January 1900 in Bayonne.
Tulou dedicated the 9e Grand Solo to Monsieur P.M. Roselje de Batavia. Very little is known about P.M. Roselje and his relationship with Tulou. Presumably, Roselje was a wealthy Dutch merchant who seems to have had some affinity with the fine arts. The addition of “de Batavia” suggests that P.M. was one of the Roselje frères who had been granted a monopoly to trade in ice in the Dutch colony of the Dutch Indies, now Indonesia, in 1847. Roselje was a member of the Amsterdam society Arti et Amicitae, founded in 1839, an association that promoted the fine arts and still exists today. He was also a subscriber to the magazine Modes de Paris.
The five-keyed flute is from the Tabard workshop in Lyon. Lyon was one of the centres of French instrument making in the 19th century (more information about Lyon and its instrument makers in the excellent article by José Daniel Touroude and René Pierre). Jean Baptiste Tabard was apparently best known for his military instruments, but it is questionable to what extent his flutes were used in military music. Flutes could hardly compete dynamically with the other essential louder instruments, and illustrations show mainly small flutes (fife, octave flutes). Moreover, most of the instruments preserved today were made of precious materials, which also does not speak in favour of their use in the military. The boxwood flute played here, however, has some characteristics that speak for such a use in the military: it has a relatively high pitch, around 445Hz, and it is rather robustly made. Its tone is not particularly noble, and the extremely low F# makes playing in cross keys unpleasant. B-flat keys, on the other hand, are easy to play. It was therefore very suitable for the 9th solo in E flat major, even though it does not have a long F key. Because of the good-sounding fork fingerings, it is not necessary in most cases. One exception, however, is the following passage E#-F#-E#-D#-E# in the cadenza:
Tulou makes a detour here to C sharp major and A major before returning to E flat major. With this Tabard flute, these modulations are a real challenge.
The piano is a 1843 Pleyel.