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Jacques Martin Hotteterre "Le Romain" (1674-1763)

French composer, flutist, perhaps instrument maker; author of the first eighteenth-century method book for playing the flute, recorder and oboe. Descended from an illustrious family of woodwind makers and players.

1. Genealogy

2. Biography

3. Works list

4. Bibliography

5. Musical instruments (attributed)

6. New research

7. An update to my 1996 JAMS article on the Hotteterre flutes

Picart engraving, 1707 This engraving, by Bernard Picart (1673-1733), appears as the frontispiece in Hotteterre's Principes de la flûte traversière (Paris: Ballard, 1707). It is usually presumed to be a portrait of the author. The type of flute the figure is playing is made in three sections (head, body or middle joint, and foot joint). Though there are many other surviving three-joint flutes, the type depicted here has several decorative elements unique to the "Hotteterre" type.

1. Genealogy

Jacques Hotteterre "Le Romain" was one of the 6 children of Martin Hotteterre (d.1712) and Marie Crespy. Martin was himself one of the two sons of Jean Hotteterre I (d.c.1691) and Marguerite Delalande. Jacques's grandfather Jean I and his two brothers, Nicolas I (d.1693) and Louis I (d.1669) were the sons of Loys de Haulteterre (d.c.1625) and Jehanne Gabriel.

2. Biography

The details of Hotteterre's life are sketchy. He was the son of Martin Hotteterre and Marie Crespy, born in Paris on 29 September 1674. He may have have held a post in the royal music as basse de hautbois et basse de violon, perhaps as early as 1689, and officially from 1692--or perhaps the "Jacques Hotteterre" named in this post was a relative of the same name, previously employed at the English court.

The significance of the nickname "le Romain" has recently (Franci, 2002) been illuminated by the revelation that Jacques lived in Rome early in his career and spent two years (1698-1700) on the payroll of Prince Francesco Ruspoili, one of the era's most powerful Roman merchants, before adopting the moniker some time between 1705 and 1707. By 1708, according to the title page of his Pièces pour la flûte traversière, he was "flûte de la Chambre du Roy". In 1717 he inherited, conditional on payment of a very large fee, René Pignon Descoteaux's position as "Jouëur de Fluste de la musique de chambre". Jacques appears to have been a fashionable teacher of aristocratic amateurs, perhaps with an international reputation, due partly perhaps to his method book of 1707 for flute, recorder and oboe, which was reprinted, translated and plagiarized in subsequent decades. His L'Art de préluder sur la flûte traversière (1719) is a rare document of the manner in which preludes and practice studies could be improvised.

Jacques composed two books of pieces (suites) for flute and continuo, a book of trio sonatas (two flutes and bass), and three suites for two unaccompanied flutes or other instruments. He was noted as a participant in court performances in 1720 and 1721, and in 1743 was included in a list of the most famous musicians in France. He married Marie Geneviève Charpentier on 31 March 1728; the couple had six children.

3. Works list (transverse flute)

Source: Frans Vester, Flute Music of the 18th Century (Monteux, France: Musica Rara, 1985) pp. 241-43

  Graz Hotteterre flute

[H 1140] Sonates à deux dessus par le Sigr Francesco Torelio. Recueillis et accomodées au goût de la flûte traversière par Mr Hotteterre le Romn . . . et se peuvent exécuter sur les autres instruments de dessus, opera prima (Paris: Boivin, 1723)

[H 1141] Piéces pour la flûte traversière, et autres instruments, avec la basse-continue . . . livre premier, oeuvre seconde. (Paris, Christophe Ballard, 1708)

[H 1142] Piéces pour la flûte traversière, et autres instruments, avec la basse-continue . . . oeuvre second. Nouvelle édition . . . augmentée de plusieurs agréments, et d'une démonstration de la manière qu'ils se doivent faire; ensemble une basse adjoutée aux pièces de deux flûtes. (Paris: auteur, Foucault, 1715; another edition: Paris: auteur, Boivin, 1715 is H 1143)

[H 1149] Sonates en trio pour les flûtes traversières, flûtes-à-bec, violons, hautbois, &c . . . livre premier, oeuvre troisième (Paris: auteur, Foucault, 1712)

[H 1155] Première suitte de pièces à deux dessus, sans basse continue, pour les flûtes-traversières,flûtes à bec, violes, &c . . . oeuvre quatrième. (Paris: auteur, Hotteterre, Foucault, 1712)

[H 1162] Deuxième livre de pièces pour la flûte-traversière et autres instruments, avec la basse . . . oeuvre Ve. (Paris, auteur, Foucault, 1715; another edition: Paris: auteur, Boivin, 1715, is H 1165)

[H 1170] Deuxième suitte de pièces à deux dessus pour les flûtes traversières, flûtes-à-bec, violes, &c., avec une basse adjoutée séparement et sans altérations des dessus, laquelle on y pourra joindre dans le concert . . . oeuvre VIeme. (Paris: auteur, Foucault, 1717)

[H 1175] L'art de préluder sur la flûte traversière, sur la flûte-à-bec, sur le hautbois, et autres instrumens de dessus, avec des préludes tous faits sur tous les tons, dans différs. mouvems. et différens caractères . . . oeuvre VIIe. (Paris: auteur, Boivin, 1719)

[H 1178] Troisième suitte de pièces à deux dessus pour les flûtes traversières, flûtes-à-bec,hautbois & muzettes . . . oeuvre VIII. (Paris: auteur, Boivin, 1722)

[H 1180] Airs et brunettes à deux et trois dessuss pour les flûtes traversières tirez des meilleurs autheurs; anciens, et modernes . . . Ornez d'agrémens par Mr. Hotteterre le Romain. Et recueillis par M****. (Paris: Hotteterre, Boivin [c. 1721])

[H 1185] Sonates à deux dessus par le Sigr. Roberto Valentine, opera quinta [actually from his Op. 4]. Accomodées à la flûte traversière par Mr. Hotteterre le Romn . . . Et se peuvent exécuter sur les autres instrumens de dessus. (Paris: Hotteterre, Boivin, 1721)


Principes de la Flûte traversière, ou flûte d'Allemagne; de la flute à bec, ou flute douce; et du haut-bois, Divisez par Traitez. Par Sieur Hotteterre-le-Romain, Flûte de la Chambre du Roy, (Paris: Christophe Ballard, 1707)

L'Art de préluder sur la flûte traversière, (Paris: Author, 1719)

4. Bibliography

Anderies, John, "Chansons, Airs & Brunettes: The Practice of Playing French Vocal Music on the Transverse Flute" (MA thesis, Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University, 1993)

Berryman, Brian Alexander, "Jacques-Martin Hotteterre. 'Les Goûts-Reunis' und die Entwicklung der französischen Barockmelodik" Tibia 20.3 (1995), 517-31

Borjon de Scellery, Ch-Émanuel, Traité de la Musette (Lyon, 1672)

Bowers, Jane, "New Light on the Development of the Transverse Flute between about 1650 and about 1770", Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 3 (1977), 5-56

Bowers, Jane M. "The Hotteterre Family of Woodwind Instrument Makers", in ed. Rien De Reede, Concerning the Flute (Amsterdam: Broekmans & van Poppel, 1984)

Bowers, Jane Meredith, "The French Flute School from 1700 to 1760" (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1971)

Carlez, Jules, Les Hotteterre. Notes biographiques (Caen: F. Le Blanc Hardel, 1877)

Castellani, Marcello, "L'art de `transposer' sur la Flûte traversière. La pratica della trasposizione secondo Jacques Hotteterre" Il Flauto Dolce XVII (April 1987), 26-31

Dikmans, Gregory Paul, "The Performance Practice of Early 18th-century French Flute Music: A Critical Translation of Jacques Hotteterre's Principes de la flûte traversière, Commentary and Recording of Selected Works", (M.A. thesis, La Trobe University, 1991)

Franchi, Saviero, Il principe Ruspoli: l'oratorio in Arcadia, in Saviero Franchi, ed., Percorsi dell'oratorio Romano. Da “historia sacra” a melodrama spirituale , atti della giornata di studi (Viterbo, 11 settembre 1999) (Rome: Ibimus, 2002), 245-316, at 280-81, nn. 78-9.

Giannini, Tula, "Jacques Hotteterre and his Father, Martin: A Re-examination based on Recently Found Documents", Early Music, XXI.3 (1993), 377-395

Mauger, Nicolas, Les Hotteterre: Célèbres joueurs et facteurs de flûtes, hautbois, bassons et musettes des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles. Nouvelles recherches, supplément à la brochure publiée en 1894 par Ernest Thoinan (Paris: Fischbacher, 1912)

Powell, Ardal, "The Hotteterre Flute; Six Replicas in Search of a Myth", Journal of the American Musicological Society XLIX.2 (1996), 225-63
. . . An update to this article is here in electronic form.

Preussner, Eberhard, Die musikalischen Reisen des Herrn von Uffenbach (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1949)

Sowinski, Hans, "Steirische Volksmusikinstrumente", Musik inOstalpenraumen (Das Johanneum 3) (Graz: Steireischen Verlagsanstalt, 1940), 188-202

Stradner, Gerhard, Musikinstrumente in Grazer Sammlungen, Tabulae Musicae Austriacae 11 (Vienna: Oesterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1986), 25

Thoinan, Ernest, Les Hotteterre et les Chédeville (Paris: Sagot, 1894)

Waterhouse, William, The New Langwill Index (London, Tony Bingham, 1993)

Young, Phillip T., 4900 Historical Woodwind Instruments (London: Tony Bingham, 1993)

5. Musical instruments (attributed)
Hotteterre/anchor stamp The maker's mark of the Hotteterre flute in Graz (A-Graz: Landesmuseum Johanneum 08447 *1284, ex Sowinsky) According to my 1996 article, this was the only genuine Hotteterre flute known--at that time, at least.

The surviving woodwind instruments marked HOTTETERRE include recorders of various sizes and oboes as well as flutes, carrying stamps of several different kinds. In 1894, Thoinan suggested that those marked HOTTETERRE with an anchor below (see photo above) were the work of Jean I Hotteterre and his successors, Martin and Jacques. All the flutes formerly attributed to "Hotteterre" carried this mark. As listed in Phillip T. Young's 4900 Historical Woodwind Instruments (London: Tony Bingham, 1993) they were: [Y1] D-Berlin: 2670

[Y2] Russia-St Petersburg: 471

[Y3] A-Graz: Landesmus[eum Johanneum] 1384

In a 1996 article, I argued that Y1 and Y2, along with four other instruments of the same type, were not original Hotteterre flutes but replicas made in the 19th century. The flutes I identified as replicas were: [P471] (=Y2) Russia-St Petersburg: Musical Instruments Museum 471 ex Snoeck

[P472] Russia-St Petersburg: Musical Instruments Museum 472 ex Snoeck

[Bn] (=Y1) D-Berlin: Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung 2670 ex Snoeck

[C] F-La Couture: Musical Instruments Museum 11

[Br] B-Brussels: Museum of Musical Instruments 3131

[M] US-Washington DC: Dayton C. Miller Collection, Library of Congress 428

That left the following two flutes of the "Hotteterre" type as (probably) genuine early 18th-century instruments:

[G] (=Y3) A-Graz: Landesmuseum Johanneum 08447 *1384 ex Sowinsky

[S] D-Stuttgart: Private Collection

Of these, the second is unstamped, and because its design is not a close enough match with the Graz flute, cannot securely be attributed to an Hotteterre maker.

Now, another flute stamped HOTTETERRE has been discovered. Instead of an anchor, it has the letters LR below the maker's name.

Snoeck The Belgian attorney and amateur musical instrument collector, César Charles Snoeck (c. 1825-1899) (photo from Die Woche, 16 June 1902, by courtesy of Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin).

6. New research

Jane Bowers published a useful article summarizing what was known of the Hotteterre family and their instruments in 1984.

In a 1993 article, Tula Giannini presented newly discovered archival documents showing that although Jacques Hotteterre's father, Martin (d. 1712) was a woodwind maker, Jacques himself did not own any flutes at the time of his marriage in 1728, and that on his death in 1763 he owned no flutes or flute music. Her article introduced the previously unknown "English" Jacques Hotteterre, suggesting that he rather than Jacques le Romain was the holder of official posts in the late 17th century.

In a 1996 article, I argued that of the three best known flutes stamped HOTTETERRE, only one (A-Graz) is a genuine late seventeenth- or early eighteenth-century instrument. I reported various indications that the other two were nineteenth-century copies of a lost original Hotteterre flute. I traced the recent emergence of a myth which holds that the "baroque" flute was invented by Jacques or another of the Hotteterres.

A second apparently genuine HOTTETERRE flute has recently come to light. For more about this instrument and its significance, see the update to my JAMS article on the Hotteterre flute.

© 1997, Ardal Powell
Last update: March 21, 1998

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