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Peter Bressan (1663 - 1731) was one of the most important baroque recorder makers.  He was born in France and  baptized Pierre Jaillard. In 1678 he was apprenticed to a wood turner in Bourg for two years; he then left Bourg, but it is not known where he learnt instrument making, although this was most probably in Paris. His treble recorders are similar to those of his contemporary Jean-Jacques Rippert. He came to England in 1688, and is first mentioned as Brazong or Bresong in English archives in 1691 as one of the 'hautboys' who accompanied William III to Holland. The James Talbot Manuscript (GB-Och Music 1187, c1695; see Baines) shows that he was already a leading London maker of flutes, recorders and oboes.

 

In the 16th and 17th centuries Bressan's residence had been the town house of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, although by Bressan's day it had been divided up; this explains the use of the red rose of Lancaster in his mark (P I/Bressan/cinquefoil rose).  Bressan was a friend of James Paisible, who in 1721 appointed him an executor of his estate in England (the other was Peter La Tour, later Bressan's principal creditor).

 

Bressan published violin sonatas by Castrucci (1718) and violin or flute sonatas by Barsanti (1724). He subscribed to J.C. Gillier's Receuil d'airs francois (1723) and to J.E. Galliard's Hymn of Adam and Eve (1728). His house contained a room large enough for exhibitions. In 1725 John Byrom, author of the epigram on Handel and Bononcini, bought a flute from Bressan, which cost five guineas. The London newspapers of about 6 May 1731 report his death in Tournai, describing him as 'that celebrated artist in making flutes'. An inventory of his house shows that he made all the contemporary wind instruments, and indicates his interest in the fine arts, itemizing some 76 pictures, prints, portraits and busts.

 

As to Bressan's instruments, some three flutes and 48 recorders survive. The recorders consist of one 4th flute (B), 20 altos (F), ten voice flutes (D), 11 tenors (C) and six basses (F). Except for the basses most are scaled in total external length in the ratios B: 3/4; F: 1; D: 6/5; and C: 4/3.

 

(abridged and adapted from Grove's)

Maker Recorder Model Recorder Size Pitch Material Pieces

Holes

Fingering

Comments

List Price

Our
Price

Ralf Ehlert Bressan
Ralf Ehlert Bressan Soprano A415

 
Soprano 415 European

Boxwood

Three DoubleEnglish New - Excellent tone! Incredible combination of power and subtlety. Very responsive! $1950$2150
Takeyama Bressan

Tenor
440 Curly MapleThree Double English Used in As New Condition! Excellent tone and projection! $1550 $1250
Beha-Gibbons Bressan
Alto 440 American Dogwood Three w/hard case Double English Used - Mint Condition! Fine, hand-crafted instrument for baroque music! $2150 $1550
Paul Richard Bressan
Paul Richard Bressan Alto Boxwood A415
Alto415European Boxwood Three DoubleEnglish New - Lovely Bressan short-foot model with outstanding tone and response! $1850$1850
David Coomber Bressan

Alto

415  European Boxwood Three Double English New -  Beautiful instrument by the New Zealand maker David Coomber! $2450 $2350
Martin Wenner Bressan


Alto 415 European Boxwood w/Artificial Ivory Mounts Three DoubleEnglish New - Professional quality instrument. Marvelous sound! Hand-picked at the 2015 Boston Early Music Festival! $2250 $2450
David Coomber Bressan

Alto

415 Stained European Boxwood w/Ivory Mounts Three Double English New -  Beautiful instrument by the New Zealand maker David Coomber! $2950 $2750
Ralf Ehlert Bressan
Oblinger/Ose Keller(X)
Eloy Cortinez/Bach(X)
Alto
415Lightly Stained Boxwood ThreeDouble English New - Perfect for Purcell, Handel, Corelli, and Hotteterre! Solid low g and f with no burbles! $2500$2750

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

A. Baines: 'James Talbot's Manuscript, 1: Wind Instruments', GSJ, i (1948), 9--26

E. Halfpenny: 'The Bass Recorders of Bressan', GSJ, viii (1955), 27--31

E. Halfpenny: 'Biographical Notices of the Early English Woodwind-making School, c.1650--1750', GSJ, xii (1959), 44--52

M.A. Byrne: 'Bressan', GSJ, xxxvi (1983), 2--28; xxxvii (1984), 102--11

W. Waterhouse: 'A Case of Flutes by Mr Bressan', GSJ, xlvi (1993), 162--3

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