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G 12.036 CoverC. Eugène Roy (approx. 1790–1827)
24 Little Duets

for 2 flageolets (recorders in c)
Edited by Ulrich Thieme

Girolamo G 12.036, playing score, € 18,00
ISMN 979-0-50084-060-2

sample page

G 12.035 G 12.037



This edition is based on two undated partbooks (owned by the editor), with the following identical calligraphical title pages:

Vingt-quatre / PETITS DUOS / Pour deux Flageolets, /
Composés et Dédiés / à Mr. Joseph Clerc, son Elève, /
Par / C. EUGÈNE ROY, / Professeur à Paris /
Œuvre 13 … Prix 6f. / ... /
À LA HAYE, / Chez F. J. Weijgand,
au Grand Magasin de Musique et d'Estampes.

The engraving plate number is 882.

Adrian von Steiger discovered that this print had been previously published by Erard in Paris with identical title, opus number and engraving plate number. The original used to produce this edition was published in around 1822 in The Hague. That the work was published in two such different locations may be linked to Roy's travels, which are documented.

C. Eugène Roy was born in c. 1790 in the Jura region of France, and after living in Lyon for an extended period, he moved to Paris in c. 1819 to work as a musician playing trumpet and flageolet in military and opera ensembles. He also worked as a composer, especially as an arranger of music in the goût du jour. In addition, he wrote many tutorial works for keyed trumpet and flageolet (both with and without keys), which were published in 1824 by Schott in Mainz. He was a well-known virtuoso on the flageolet in his day, and even travelled to foreign countries to perform. It is thought that Roy died in 1827 in Marseille.

Roy would have been familiar with the French flageolet, one of several instrument designs based on the baroque recorder that were developed in the early 19th century. Other instruments that emerged at this time included the English flageolet found all over the British Empire and the Csakan from the area around Vienna. All these recorder-like instruments share in common that the air stream produced by the player is split by the edge of the lip of the instrument. From around 1800 onwards, however, the flageolet's beak-shaped mouthpiece was replaced by a windcap, inside which a small sponge was placed to absorb moisture from the player's breath. There was a small ivory mouthpiece above the windcap. All these instruments, following on from the baroque recorder, were fitted with alternative keys.

A description of the playing techniques and appearance of the French flageolet, an instrument probably known since the late Middle Ages, but not written until 1636 by Marin Mersenne, states that the instrument had only four holes on the front and two on the back. In the first half of the 19th century, multiple keys were added to this instrument – until the Boehm system came about in 1850 – although the position of the holes themselves remained unchanged. The relatively wide bore made the flageolet surprisingly loud. The total length of the instrument (including mouthpiece, windcap and body) was around 30 to 40 cm, depending on the total length of the vibrating air column, which determines the key of the instrument. It would have been possible to use any note at concert pitch d2 or above as the key note for the French flageolet – hence the instrument was made in a variety of sizes. If we take d2 to be the basic key note of the instrument for which the Duets by C. E. Roy featured in this edition were written, then performance using a modern descant recorder produces a register very similar to the original pitch. The occasionally appearing note c#2 (notated c#1) would have been played by partially covering the opening of the bore using the little finger on a flageolet in d2.

Roy's miniatures, stylistically between Haydn and the young Rossini, are accurately printed in an aesthetically pleasing way. For this edition, some obvious mistakes were corrected unacknowledged and some completions were made where corresponding to a similar correctly written section. In terms of articulation, Roy uses slurs, staccato marks to indicate short and light notes and vertical marks to indicate short and marcato playing. However, the positioning of the articulation marks is incomplete, irregular and inconsequential (for example, in corresponding phrases they are interchangeable). This edition attempts to portray the composer's intentions in a somewhat more precise and meaningful way, but still allowing for the performer's individual interpretation. Similarly, the appoggiaturas, notated as grace notes, (sometimes written as quavers, and sometimes as semiquavers) and their placing is, again, irregular. The only exception to this is in no. 19, where the appoggiaturas are all notated as semiquavers because they are all to be played as short notes. To make page turns easier, the order of the individual pieces has been changed sometimes, although each piece is identifiable by its number, which remains unchanged.

I would like to thank my colleagues Adrian von Steiger and Peter Thalheimer for their friendly and helpful suggestions.

Translation: Jemima Schrem

Hanover, August 2013, Ulrich Thieme