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BROD, Henri (1799-1839)

The oboist, Henri Brod, was also a composer and instrument builder. In 1818, he was awarded a Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatoire in the class of Gustav Vogt. Fétis soon came to regard him as superior to his professor: “The sound he drew from the oboe was sweeter, smoother and not as forceful as that of his teacher; his phrasing was elegant and graceful; his execution of the virtuosic passages was lively and brilliant.” Second oboe at the Paris Opéra from 1819, he stood in for Vogt (first oboe) when the latter was away, then succeeded him in 1834. He had also been a member of the orchestra of the Société des concerts du Conservatoire since its foundation in 1828. Brod was one of those performing composers who wrote almost exclusively for their instrument: fantasies and variations, short pieces, numerous chamber music scores (in particular three wind quintets, seven trios for oboe, bassoon and piano). However, he also composed an opera, Thésée (based on an old libretto by Quinault), which seems to have been lost. The author of an important two-volume Méthode de hautbois (1826 and 1835), written for an oboe with eight keys, he helped to improve the design of the instrument. He made it possible for the oboe to reach low B flat, perfected the half-hole system for playing certain notes in the middle register, and designed a straighter, shorter body for the cor anglais. The jury at the Exposition des Produits de l’Industrie Française gave his bass oboe a medal in 1839, shortly before his untimely death from a fatal illness.

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  • Henri Brod (charge de Dantan)
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  • Instruments à vent – Le hautbois au XIXe siècle