The Cor Chaussier is a French horn between natural and valve instruments from the second half of the 19th century and as such an absolute rarity – with only one surviving original, which is now in the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels.
Even if from today’s point of view with the invention of the valves 1814/15 the course for the changeover from natural to valve horn seemed to be set, this change did not happen fluently. The acceptance of the new instrument in France was particularly lengthy. Although there was a valve horn class at the Paris Conservatoire from 1833, in which a kind of mixed form between natural horn stew technology and valve insert was taught, after the retirement of the chair holder Joseph-Emile Meifred it was repealed in 1864 and not officially reintroduced until 1903. In the meantime, compromises were made, most of which were based on the natural horn and only in exceptional cases resorted to the valve horn: In the “Cors sauterelles”, for example, a valve stick could be pushed into the natural horn (see our Inventionhorn to Raoux with Sauterelle); other experiments followed on from the already older idea of a “cor omnitonique”, a horn that combines different or all keys.
One type of these “Cors omnitoniques” is the “Cor Chaussier”, which was developed by Henri Chaussier and the millerau company in the 1880s. As part of a research project of the University of the Arts, Bern, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, it was measured for the first time by Rainer Egger and recreated in cooperation with Ulrich Hübner.
The historical research results and the replica instrument were presented in Bern in November 2012. The Symphony Orchestra Biel with Ulrich Hübner as soloist featured the copy of the instrument publicly in April 2013, in concert with Camille Saint-Saens’ “Morceau de Concert”, which was composed especially for the “Cor Chaussier”.
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