Jent’s House of Music prides itself on having the finest repair shop, with exceptionally skilled craftsmen, capable of repairing and maintaining any instrument – from the ordinary to the exceptional. The Heckelphone and Eb Sarrusophone are part of a rare instrument collection recently repaired at our Lubbock store location.
Richard Meek, Professor of Music, Texas Tech University, selected us to rebuild two extraordinary instruments, the Heckelphone and the Eb Sarrusophone, both featured on this page.
Originally manufactured in 1904 by Wilhelm Heckel GmbH (yes, that's spelled correctly), the Heckelphone is available today for the small price tag of $35,000.
The woodwind instrument has the fingering of an oboe but pitched an octave lower. The double reeded instrument, made to provide the bass sounds for the oboe family, has a fuller, more expansive sound than the Bass oboe.
Never heard of a Heckelphone? You’re not alone. The instrument isn’t even well known among musicians and fewer than 100 instruments exist worldwide.In fact, because each Heckelphone is custom made, no two fingering systems are exactly the same and therefore no two instruments produce identical sounds.
The Eb Sarrusophone was invented in the mid 1800's by Gautrot to compete with the Saxophone, for use in military bands to bolster or replace oboes and bassoons. The instrument was named after the French bandmaster Sarrus, who Gautrot credited with the idea for the instrument. Both names appear on the original French patent (French patent #28034, 1856). It was available in all sizes from Eb sopranino to BBb contrabass, including contrabasses in Eb, C, and Bb.
The Eb appears to be the most common contrabass sarrusophone (if not the most common sarrusophone of any size). Also double reeded, it plays like a Bari Sax but is 1 octave lower. Some bigger orchestras still use these instruments in place of the Contra Bassoon because of its full sound.
Richard Meek, Professor of Music Texas Tech University. In addition to performing with the Mariah Winds, the Texas Tech Baroque Ensemble, and the Devienne Trio at Texas Tech University, Mr. Meek teaches bassoon and music theory. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the Performer's Certificate and the Master of Arts from the Eastman School of Music where he served as principal bassoonist of the Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Philharmonic.
Among his teachers are Rudolph Klepac (Akademie Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria), Kenneth Moore, David Van Hoesen, Louis Skinner, and Marcel Moyse.
Mr. Meek has performed at numerous annual meetings of the International Double Reed Society both here and abroad, and also has served as its treasurer and as host for the 1981 Congress of that group in Lubbock. He has appeared as soloist with several orchestras and premiered a number of solo works written for him. Formerly principal bassoonist of the Midland-Odessa, San Angelo, Roswell (NM) Symphonies, and the Orchestra of Santa Fe, NM, Mr. Meek is currently Principal Bassoonist with the Lubbock and Abilene Symphony Orchestras.
Mr. Meek serves as editor for solo and ensemble works for the bassoon with Allyn Publications and supervises some thirty-forty bassoonists at the Texas Tech Band/Orchestra Camp each summer.
To contact Richard Meek, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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