Built by Joel Robinson & Geoffrey Burgess (2007) after originals by
(Christophe) Delusse (fl. Paris 1781-89),
available at 430Hz or 415Hz.
Delusse’s oboes were highly regarded for the beauty of their tone and
the excellence of their intonation, Our copies are excellent two-
keyed oboes, particularly suitable for late 18th-century
chamber music, but also fine orchestral instruments and achieve a
perfect blend with other classical winds.
This instrument is copied after two originals by Delusse made in the
1780s. The originals were both owned and played by a pioneer of the
early music movement, Michel Piguet, and subsequently bought in 2000
by Geoffrey Burgess and Mary Kirkpatrick. The one owned by Burgess is
shorter and is made of at least two species of the Dalbergia family:
a denser-grained timber (kingwood or palisander) for the top joint
and lighter and more porous timber for the middle joint and bell
(Honduras or Brasilian rosewood). Kirkpatrick’s oboe is made of
cocuswood (Brya ebenus) with a substantial ivory repair at the top of
the top joint made sometime in the late 20th century.
We discovered experimentally that the middle joints of the two oboes
were remarkably similar and that the bell of the one owned by Burgess
had been modified—probably around 1800 at the same time that a long
tuning key was added to close one of the bell holes. In order to
establish the most accurate copy of the instrument as originally
conceived by Delusse, we used the bell of the Kirkpatrick oboe as the
basis of the present design. Another discovery was that while the
shorter oboe played around 430Hz, substituting the longer top joint
of Kirkpatrick’s oboe produced a workable oboe at 415Hz. This is of
great benefit to oboists needing to play classical music at the lower
pitch, as this model has all the same playing characteristics—light
articulation, easy high register and “transparent” Classical tone—as
the 430 model.
For our copies we use a combination of tembers: kingwood (Dalbergia
ceanrensis), African Blackwood (Grenadilla, Dalbergia melanoxilin) or
Cocuswood (Brya ebenus) for the top joint and Honduras rosewood
(Dalbergia stevensonii) for the rest. The rosewood is left its
natural colour of stained, depending on the colour of the timber used
for the top joint. The tone varies somewhat depending on the timber.
All have proven very stable and resilient against modern performance
Two reeds are supplied with the oboe.