Open Questions in the Theobald Böhm Research

by Ludwig Böhm (1.12.2023)

***We continue the publication of a series of articles by Ludwig Böhm from“Commemorative Writing on the occasion of Theobald Böhm’s 200th Birthday, Munich 1994”, gradually approaching the celebration of Theobald Böhm’s 230th birthday in 2024.

1) Where is the original of Theobald’s flute workshop book, which was copied by Anna Böhm (workshop Theobald Böhm) and Dr. Karl Böhm (workshop Böhm & Mendler) and why does only exist a fragment of the workshop book of Böhm & Mendler?

LUDWIG BÖHM: I think: lost

2) Was the alto flute, made for Theobald on 21 December 1876, the last flute, on which he played?

LB: I think: probably

3) Where is the flute no. 8, made and formally owned by Theobald’s son Wilhelm Böhm sen.?

LB: I think: It was sold by the widow of Theobald’s pupil Karl Krüger, who received the flute as a gift from Wilhelm’s widow in 1893 (letter of Wilhelm Böhm jr. to Dayton C. Miller from 29 April 1906).

4) How was the relationship of Theobald with Adolphe Sax?

LB: I think: They only met at the exhibition of 1851 and perhaps on other occasions, but had little contact.

5) Where is the translation of Theobald’s last pupil James S. Wilkin’s of “Die Flöte und das Flötenspiel” and why wasn’t it published by Rudall & Carte?

LB: I think: George Rudall didn’t want to publish it and it was lost.

James S. Wilkins. Jr (1851-1912)

6) Where is the sheet music of Theobald, which, according to Wilhelm’s letter mentioned above, was taken by Prof. Schafhäutl after Theobald’s death in 1881 and which was sold after Schafhäutl’s death in 1890 together with Schafhäutl’s library?

LB: I think: It was sold to a flutist, because there is no flute music in Schafhäutl’s estate in the Bavarian State Library.

7) Were in Theobald’s music collection, in addition to printed editions, also autographs, copies by copyists and the two missing compositions by Grandaur and Sauvlet dedicated to him?

LB: I think: Maybe he destroyed his autographs, but he probably had copies from copyists and the two works dedicated to him. Sauvlet’s “Souvenir de la Volga”, probably a manuscript, is described in detail in Schafhäutl’s Theobald Böhm biography of 1881.

8) Where is the correspondence between Theobald and Wilkins after Wilkins’ return to the USA from 1873 to 1881, which was in the possession of Wilkins and which is mentioned in Wilkins’ letters to Miller from 7 April and 26 April 1909 (“stored away in boxes”)?

LB: I think: lost

9) Where are the 1500 pieces of music, which were in the possession of Wilkins and which are mentioned in Wilkins’ letter to Miller from 26 April 1909 (“packed away in a big trunk”)?

LB: I think: lost

10) When and from whom did Miller receive the manuscripts of the arrangements for alto flute (Miller 2666, written by the copyist no. 7), which were previously in the possession of Wilkins and the manuscripts of the 15 pages of the studies, opus 19[b] (in Böhm Box 1b, also written by the copyist no. 7), which also were most probably in the possession of Wilkins?

LB: I think: Miller received the music from Wilkins’ widow in 1923/1924 together with the phosphor bronze flutes in C (Miller 415) and in G (Miller 416). It’s strange that Miller didn’t write them in his music acquisition book in 1923, but that they got the number 2666 after March 1939, when his music acquisition book ends with no. 2307.

11) Were these two items the only manuscripts of compositions and arrangements of Theobald, which were in the possession of Wilkins (Wilkins writes to Miller on 7 April 1909 that he has a number of Theobald’s manuscripts of compositions and arrangements), or did Wilkins possess much more music of Theobald?

LB: I think: Wilkins did not own any autographs, but did own many printed works by Theobald.

12) Why, after Theobald’s last composition opus 37, did appear two arrangements with the opus numbers 45 and 46 and the Élégie with the opus number 47?

LB: I think: Theobald didn’t take care of the opus numbers and it was a mistake of the publishers.

13) Did Theobald compose the flute part of the Élégie in 1834, in order to replace the second movement in the flute concerto of Joseph Hartmann Stuntz, the first concerto for the Böhm flute, dedicated to Theobald?

LB: I think: yes. Theobald wrote on the orchestral score, which is in the archives of the publisher Schott: “Adagio. Composed for flute by Th. Boehm; with the accompaniment of the large orchestra of Kapellmeister H. Stunz”.

14) And who made the piano accompaniment of the Élégie, when it was published in 1880? 

LB: I think: not Theobald

Ludwig Böhm | |

Address: Asamstrasse 6, 82166 Gräfelfing, Germany, tel. 0049-89-875367

Ludwig Böhm was born in Munich, where he studied English, French and Spanish at the University and was a teacher from 1981 to 1983. Inspired by a great exhibition in the Munich Municipal Museum in 1981 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of his great-great-grandfather Theobald Böhm (flautist, composer, flute-maker, inventor of the Böhm flute, Munich 1794–1881), he dedicated his life from that time on to keeping the memory of Theobald alive.

As a result of more than 30 years of research, he published in 2012 all 88 compositions and arrangements of Theobald together with Dr. Raymond Meylan and in 2013 20 books and 4 translations from and about him. He travelled to flute festivals in Japan, Australia, USA, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Luxembourg, Slovenia, China, Great Britain, Iceland, Thailand, Portugal, Chile, Poland and Armenia and presented a slide lecture about Theobald.

He is the President of the Theobald Böhm Archive, founded in 1980, of the Theobald Böhm Society, founded in 1990 and of the Theobald Böhm Foundation, founded in 2014. In 2006, 2011 and 2016, he organized in Munich the 1st, 2nd and 3rd International Theobald Böhm Competition for Flute and Alto Flute.

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