The Pleasant Companion is dedicated to the family of instruments known as “flageolets”. Popular in Europe and America from the late 16th until the early 20th centuries, particularly amongst amateur musicians, flageolets are interesting instruments which deserve greater interest than they current receive.
Latest News (see also the Old News):
Although Edmé and Hubert Collinet were the most famous performers, composers and publishers on and for the French Flageolet in the 19th Century, very little of their music has survived. I am therefore very pleased to make available the Sérenades for French Flageolet, Piano or Violin (the first complete, the second onwards in part) in a new edition for free download. At the time of writing, I believe it is the only music by either Collinet available for download or purchase on the web.Published on: Sat, 28 Nov 2015 18:13:33 +0000
When looking through old newspapers, I came across two intriguing adverts posted in the Caledonian Mercury in 1783 by James Clark. The first is for a concert, where Clerk announces that the programme will include a duet for two flageolets played by himself. In the second, he offers his services as a teacher including “the English Flute or Flagelet, on which he plays two at once, first and second.”
The language of this is remarkably similar to that of John Parry, 20 years later, with his first experiments which led to the development of the double flageolet with William Bainbridge. Did Parry meet Clark and take inspiration from him? Or was it just a co-incidence? Perhaps one day another advert will shed some light on the question.Published on: Thu, 19 Nov 2015 08:06:56 +0000
About this Site: “The Pleasant Companion” is designed to be a resource for anyone interested in flageolets and their history and music. Transcriptions of Historical Flageolet Tutors from the 17th to 19th Centuries are available, along with free sheet music; biographies of famous flageolet–players, such as Samuel Pepys, Robert Louis Stevenson and John Parry; articles about flageolets (both new and historic); and a bibliography and discography for further listening and reading.
A short introduction: From simple beginnings in France as recorder–like instruments, over the centuries flageolets became increasing complicated and sophisticated instruments, used for personal enjoyment; making guest appearances in operas and even being used to teach birds to sing. In an attempt to smooth rough amateur breath control a distinctive arrangement of barrels and beaks was introduced in the early 18th Century and, soon, instrument makers were combining this unique profile with the simple 6–holed fingering system of recorders and transverse flutes to make a new instrument—the English flageolet. Both this and the traditional (“French”) flageolet continued to be popular in the 19th century, joined with the multiple–flageolets, invented at the turn–of–the–Century. However, despite a late revival as the solo instrument in Quadrille bands, the production of cheap tin or penny whistles took away the amateur market, resulting in a slow decline of the instruments into obscurity.