|1. Leonardo de Lorenzo: My Complete
Story of the Flute (1992).
pp.113 - 115
|Drouet, Louis Francois Philippe,
the famous flute virtuoso, was born in Amsterdam in 1792. his father, a
refugee, left France, of which country he was native, because of the turmoil
occasioned by the Revolution. As a child Drouet was regarded as a flute-playing
prodigy. He appears to have been self-taught. It is stated that his serious
study of the flute began in 1807 after a great success at a concert of
Rode’s in Amsterdam. As early as 1808, when only sixteen years of age,
he received an appointment as solo flutist to the King of Holland; three
years later he accepted an invitation from Napoleon I to become Imperial
Court Flutist at Paris.
|He soon acquired continental
celebrity and made many successful concert journeys through Europe. Although
the tone he produced was not large, his general technic was excellent and
his double-tonguing remarkably brilliant and characteristic.
|In 1815 he came to London
and established a flute-making business. This he carried on until 1819
when it was given up owing, it has been stated, to the number of bogus
“Drouet” flutes put upon the market by trade rivals.
|Drouet made his first appearance
at the Philharmonic, London, on March 25, 1816. he played at other places
in the British capital in 1817, 1829, 1830 and 1832. The 1829 visit was
made in company with Mendelssohn who joined the flutist in the concert
venture. The first appearance of this celebrity in London was made in 1841-1842,
at Buckingham Palace, on which occasion he played before Queen Victoria
and Prince Albert.
|During his active career
as a flute virtuoso Drouet was responsible for a vast amount of flute music
– concertos, fantasias, studies, duets, trios, etc., etc. His Robin Adair,
God Save the Queen, and Rule Britannia enjoyed wide popularity. It is stated
that he assisted Queen Hortense in composing the music to the song Partant
pour la Syrie. Captain Gordon (he of the Boehm – Gordon controversy) and
the King of Holland were two of his pupils.
|In 1836 in succession to
Kaspard Kummer, he became Chapel Master to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
and thenceforth his wandering about Europe was restricted. For years little
was heard from him outside of Germany. He did not adopt the Boehm flute,
indeed, it has often been said that he was opposed to its use, but no evidence
has yet been adduced to prove this. On the contrary, as may be seen hereunder,
when he became acquainted with the Boehm he was most favourably impressed
with its value as a musical instrument.
|In 1854 Drouet ceased to
be Chapel Master and during that year he visited America. In New York he
found himself in the congenial society of Philip Ernst, at that date probably
the most eminent flute-player in America. Ernst lent him a Boehm flute.
This was returned with a letter the full text of which is here given:
|To Messrs. Philip Ernst
New York June 6th, 1854.
With many thanks I would
return the instrument which you have had the politeness to lend me. Although
I have known for some time of Mr. Boehm’s new flute, it was not until now,
owing to my arduous duties as Chapel Master, that I was induced to make
a thorough trial of its superior merits.
|I find its mechanism
by far less complicated than I had imagined and the fingering remarkably
simple. But what pleases me more is the great ease with which each note
can be produced and the perfectness of tune and tone of the whole scale.
It offers also to the tasteful player the possibility of blowing loud and
soft without getting out of tune. These have appeared to me the most prominent
features of Mr. Boehm’s valuable invention and they will no doubt insure
its general adoption by our rising flutists, and especially those who would
secure a good degree of execution at the expense of as little time and
labour as possible.
|The above letter was published
together with a number of flute studies especially written for the Boehm
flute by Drouet. These flute studies were issued by Ernst to subscribers
whose names are detailed in a list within the volume. In this list the
names of the most prominent American flute-players of that date may be
found. The copy of this work which I have used was formerly the property
of W.N. Habersham, of Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.
|After his return from America
to Europe, Drouet lived in Gotha and Frankfort. He died in Berne, Switzerland,
September 30, 1873. (John Finn.)