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Henri Brod (1799–1838)

Henri Brod (1799-1838) was an oboist, instrument maker, teacher and composer. He studied both with Vogt (the oboist in Reicha's quintet) and with Reicha, whose 28 wind quintets provided the model for these three works. He spent most of his life in Paris, playing in the opera orchestra and teaching at the Conservatoire. His set of three wind quintets (opus 2) are brilliant and virtuosic. They exploit each instrument's technical capabilities to the limit, making use of the many recent developments to the key mechanisms of both woodwinds and horns.

Oboists today still use Brod's ingenious inventions: the cane shaper, the gouging machine, and the straight-bodied cor-anglais.This man was an innovator - at the time of his death (at the age of only forty) he was in the process of re-developing a tenor oboe, something which would languish until the end of the century when the idea was taken up by German manufacturers, resulting in the Heckelphone. Perhaps it is time to view Brod's compositions in a new light - his works are inspired by a belief in progress, and the romantic delight in the musical possibilities of mechanical development.

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