S. Koch

The Romantic flute that I make is the result of a one year research project undertaken in 2000-2001. During this year I examined and measured a great number of flutes made by the workshop of the Viennese maker Stephan Koch (1772-1828) and was able to both learn about their special playing characteristics and establish guidelines for dating them. Stephan Koch was the most important woodwind instrument maker in Vienna at the turn of the nineteenth-century and made czakans, flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons. Koch's instruments were very progressive for his time and he is best known for the improvements that he made to the flute and oboe. Establishing his workshop around 1807, Koch undertook a new approach to flute making. As opposed to the earlier generation of flute makers such as Grenser and Kirst, who added keys to the basic one-keyed flute model, Koch flutes were re-designed for extensive keys usage. His concept of sound was also different: he aimed for a brighter, louder sound that would carry well in bigger halls and with symphonic orchestras. His flutes were designed to produce a full, equal tone in all keys and throughout the instrument's three octaves.
This was achieved, in part, by the addition of a metal-lined headjoint and a tuning slide, as well as by an angled e-hole, which improved the volume and response of the e by allowing the player to play the e with the eb key open, as is done on the modern flute. His model was later copied by many flute makers, Viennese, German and Italian, and he is considered the father of the Viennese school of flute-making. Koch was reputed to be one of the best makers of his time, and his instruments are recommended in treatises of the period by A.B. F?rstenau and George Bayr, the Viennese flute virtuoso. My Koch model is available in two versions: an 1815 model in four parts, and an 1825 one in three parts. Both are based on several originals from various European collections. Keys are for C, Bb, G#, F (long and short), Eb, and low C#, C and B. They are pitched between A=430Hz and A=440Hz, with the optimal pitch being somewhere in the middle, around A=435HZ. It is the ideal instrument for playing Beethoven and Schubert symphonies as well as chamber music of the time. It is available in boxwood and in ebony.

The recommended fingerings for this model are the ones found in Viennese and German methods of the 1820s: Fürstenau, Bayr, and Fahrbach.