BOOSEY & Co 'Light Valve' piston horn, 119 years old

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A fine ‘Boosey’ silver plated piston horn with its original F crook and its very characterful original case.  Engraved on the exterior bell flare is “Class A - Light Valve - Boosey & Co - Makers - 295 Regent St -London - 54187" 

This horn, made in 1899, is a very good example of the type of ‘French’ horn that British players were using in the first third of the 20th century, prior to Sir Thomas Beecham's insistence that the horns of the LPO (which he founded in 1932) should use Alexander double horns.  There followed a transitional period in British horn playing until the early 1950s, during which several players remained faithful to the French single F instrument, most notably Aubrey Brain and the BBC Symphony Orchestra's horn section, and of course his son Dennis Brain.

 The horn’s mid-section tubing’s inner diameter is 11.00mm, the typical French horn ‘bore’ of the period. The general condition of the instrument can accurately be described as ‘good to fair’; there is some wear to its silver plate, especially on its bell throat and garland.  Also, there are several strengthening patches:  on the crook pipe, the inner 1st branch (3), the bell tail (3) and on the outer bell garland (2). Looking on the positive side, these could actually be considered beneficial, since the brass is stronger in those places.

  The piston valves are in good shape, and musically/acoustically the horn plays beautifully, with a surprising ‘freedom of blow’, a clear, focussed sound, and no obvious 'wolf' or 'roller' pitches.



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BOOSEY & Co 'Light Valve' piston horn, 119 years old