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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 00:08:26 +0000
From: Dave Robinson
Subject: Re: [CB] Return of the Sarrusophone


Will CDs again be available?


Grant Green wrote:
> Last Saturday was the annual San Jose Saxophone Christmas, this year
> attended by 173 saxophone (and one sarrusophone) players.  One curved
> Eb sopranino, 3 basses, my contrabass sarrusophone, and the rest
> sopranos, altos, tenors, and baris.  A few of the works (I played
> from a bari part) end with a nice low (written) Bb: enough to invoke
> that contrabassoon feeling, of playing the sole pedal for an entire
> ensemble, with the next nearest note an octave above.

Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 00:07:30 -0500
From: "Samuel O. Andreyev, O.P.S."
Subject: [CB]

Today I spent a couple of hours at the apartment of a local Heckelphone
player, Stella Amar (thanks to Robert Howe for giving me her number).
I'm working on a large piece scored for chamber orchestra, and wanted to
include either heckelphone or bass oboe in my orchestration. Amazingly,
Ms. Amar has both, and she graciously allowed me to come and hear them

Ultimately, to my surprise, I preferred the bass oboe. Her heckelphone
was very beautiful and in excellent shape (made in the '30s, she said)
but seemed to have some intonation problems. I was surprised to discover
also that it didn't have a second octave key. The bass oboe, however,
(which I got a chance to play myself) seemed much easier to handle, and
to my ears it had the more distinctive color.

I had been thinking about this for a while: which of the two instruments
is the better proposition? I think now that there is no reason for the
bass oboe to lose out; although not as loud as the heckelphone, it
appeals to me as being a sort of extra-rich and deep english horn
(which, after all, is the instrument I play most often). Also, the fact
that it is about $20,000 less expensive than the heckelphone makes me a
little bit more sure I want to own one. Anyone aware of any used bass
oboes for sale?

Just my $.02
Sam Andreyev

The Expert Press - a Toronto small press publisher
53 Morningside Avenue Toronto M6S 1C6

From: "Peter Hurd"
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 23:52:46 -0800
Subject: [CB] Heckelphone vs. bass oboe query

Dear Sam,
        About the bass oboe question. Tom Hiniker,master oboe maker, repairman extrodinary,   former pricincipal oboe of the S. Dakota symphony, and  Heckelphonist (Detroit Symphony) has come up with a solution. He is making Heckelphone bocals designed to be used with a reed which could be described as a large cor anglais reed with custom staple (as opposed to the usual "bassoon" type reed commonly used for Heckelphone ). This combination allows the Heckelphone to blend in with the usual oboe choir- in effect allowing the Heckelphone to speak as a bass oboe voice , with the added benefit of greater resonance and projection if desired. I have test driven a fine Loree bass oboe for a week some time ago (one of the very few actually posessed of a good scale (to low Bb)- I was utterly disappointed in the instrument as it lacked any ability to project no matter what I tried with reeds and bocals. I do know of a bass oboe for sale, but I can not recommend that you pursue this. If I were in the market for a bass oboe, I would first look at a new Guntram Wolf baritone oboe (wider bore than the usual bass oboe , and made of black maple),  then perhaps Rigoutat (see website for Zurich Oboe Quartet) or perhaps Marigaux  (all cost about  $7500).I  firmly believe that on all counts that the Heckelphone is all around the far superior instrument. Tom Hiniker will be making his own concept of Heckelphone in a year or so , and being familiar with the quality of his work, I would have no hesitation in ordering one from him (about 3/5 the price of Heckel). You should talk to Tom in any event, as he has had experiece with bass oboe repair and voicing, and also makes bocals for the instrument, His number is 507-288-4191. Please keep me posted on your quest.
           With absolutely best wishes,
            Peter Hurd


From: Opusnandy
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 15:45:19 EST
Subject: Re: [CB](heckelphone vs. bass oboe)

In a message dated 12/18/00 11:14:19 PM, anteater writes:

<< I was surprised to discover also that it didn't have a second octave key. >>

Don't be alarmed that the Heckelphone doesn't have a second octave key; it
doesn't need it.  The octave key is automatic (like on the saxophone) and
switches to the second octave vent when you play above G#.  I have never
played a bass oboe, and am very biased to the Heckelphone (me owning one and
all).  That having been said, I would never write for the bass oboe over the
Heckelphone unless I was looking to produce simply a lower English Horn
sound.  The Heckelphone goes just as low (a note lower, actually) and has a
unique sound all it's own; part English Horn, part bassoon, part totally new.
 Unfortunately, it is much easier to find a bass oboe.  If you are looking
for a lower extension of the English Horn sound, go with the bass oboe for
practicality's sake.  But, if you are looking for a different type of sound
to play around with, throw caution to the wind and write for the Heckelphone.
 We need more literature anyway!

Jon Carreira

From: "Peter Hurd"
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 13:10:37 -0800
Subject: [CB] Bass oboe again

Dear Sam,
        Thanks for your kind note. My Heckelphones are in as new or excellent condition, having a beautifully even scale, and respond throughout the entire range with consumate ease from LOW A, to a high Bb three octaves above, with two higher semi-tones (to high C) no problem.
In your situation, I would definitely look to purchase a Wolf baritone oboe to either low Bb, but preferably low A if he will make it. This you give you the best of both worlds, and his work is absolutely first class. Contact Arthur Grossman (in IDRS Journal advertising section, I believe his e-mail is ). This is a great time to buy, as the EURO is presently quite  low in exchange value. The bass oboe I know of belongs to :
Dennis Atkinson in Edmonton (Bandwagon Music?). It is an old Cabart- I personally would not touch anything Cabart has made ( other than some of their oboes) with a ten foot pole- all of  their English horns have been absolutely (!!!!!!!!!!!!) miserable, and I sincerely doubt their bass oboes are any better. There is also a Cabart bass oboe in Vancouver (not for sale) and I have it on good counsel that it is also a poor example of bass oboe.
         If you score for bass oboe/ Heckelphone in your music, please indicate that either are possible in your
instrumentation. I would like to add any pieces you may write for bass oboe/ Heckelphone to the list on Have you ever considered writing a (melodic) piece for say 2 Heckelphones and srings? Here in the Northwest we have the Port Townsend Heckelphone Trio- great fun! Have you ever written for carillon?
Please keep me posted.
         Best wishes,  Peter

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