Everything twice – Doppler, Fürstenau, Moyse

by Anja Weinberger

Everything twice – Doppler, Fürstenau, Moyse

We flutists stumble again and again over this drawn picture of the Doppler brothers playing the flute, one holding the flute to the right, one to the left – and that with this name .(“doppelt” in German means “twice the same”) Unfortunately, I have now read that this is pure invention.
Both played to the right, as we all do. It’s a pity actually, I always found this idea very nice.

We flutists stumble again and again over this drawn picture of the Doppler brothers playing the flute, one holding the flute to the right, one to the left – and that with this name .(“doppelt” in German means “twice the same”) Unfortunately, I have now read that this is pure invention. Both have, …

Most of us know literature by the Dopplers, perhaps the Fantaisie pastorale hongroise or the Concerto in D minor for 2 flutes. In short, the name is familiar to all of us, but we don’t know much more. Let’s see what can be found there.

Aha, the two lived for a long time as flutists in Hungary. Some of the titles of their works already suggested something like that.

But now from the beginning…

Franz and Karl Doppler were born in today’s Ukraine in the rather large city of Lemberg. They were native German speakers in a place full of different ethnicities. In 1772, Lviv had fallen to the Habsburg monarchy with the first partition of Poland, becoming the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia. Joseph Doppler, their father, was an oboist, bassoonist, composer and military bandmaster in the Austro-Hungarian army.

And now Franz was born in 1821 and Karl in 1825. Both children seem to have been musically very talented. There was a rich cultural life in Lviv and one or the other good flautist made guest appearances there. Possibly this is how the brothers discovered the instrument, or perhaps their father introduced them to the flute, which was becoming very fashionable at the time. In any case, both sons began to play the flute and made great progress very quickly. It is believed that Franz and Karl received lessons from the quite famous virtuoso Michal Jackowski.

In 1826, the father left the regiment and became an oboist at the Warsaw Opera House. The family moved quite frequently in the following years. Stations were Krakow, Bucharest and finally Budapest in 1838.

Nevertheless, they kept in touch with Lviv.

In 1834, the 12-year-old Franz gave an impressive concert of Drouet’s Variations at the local theater, and a few months later in Vienna. In 1835 he was already solo flutist of the Bucharest Opera and in 1838 first flutist of the German-speaking Opera in Pest, where his father also worked. He was 17 years old at that time. Three years later he was engaged by the Hungarian National Theater.

By this time he had already written his first works for flute and made a name for himself as a composer. This was soon followed by operas with patriotic content in Hungarian, which were very successful with the public.

In 1837, Karl, just 12 years old, i.e. the younger brother, became 2nd flutist at the Municipal Theater in Buda, gave his first flute concert and three years later became solo flutist – at the age of 15! At this time he also began to compose. He wrote orchestral works, theater music and choruses. His ballet “The Magician”, which premiered in 1843, was particularly successful. At that time he was not even 20 years old. In 1845 he finally made his debut as conductor of the city theater. And then in 1850 he became Kapellmeister at the Hungarian National Theater.

So now both brothers were united at the same house.


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Already since 1843, Franz and Karl had repeatedly undertaken shorter concert tours together as a flutist duo. They gave guest performances, for example, in Kiev and Bucharest, but also in some Russian cities. From 1853 on, they celebrated their greatest successes, and from then on, their travels became longer and longer. They gave guest performances in Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Weimar, Hamburg, Brussels, Paris, London, and were acclaimed everywhere. The Concerto for 2 flutes and orchestra, which can still be heard very often today, became their bravura piece. Sometimes one of her operas such as “Beniowski” or “Ilka” was performed in this context, which Franz then conducted himself. Numerous newspaper articles have survived from the performances of the later 1950s, which reported full of euphoria about the beautiful sound, perfect symmetry and sparkling technique of the two brothers.

Liszt, Wagner, Meyerbeer, Brahms, Rubinstein and Moscheles were frequent visitors to the Dopplers in Budapest. Especially Franz Liszt and Franz Doppler held each other in high esteem. Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies and several other of his works were orchestrated by Doppler at the composer’s request. These orchestral arrangements also helped Doppler to wide fame.

Together with Ferenc Erkel, the Doppler brothers founded the Hungarian Philharmonic Society in 1853, through which the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra came into being, the first professional orchestra in Hungary. Erkel, by the way, had also composed the Hungarian national anthem in 1844.

Then, in February 1858, Franz signed a contract with the Court Opera in Vienna. There he became principal flutist and conductor of the court ballet. From then on, he created numerous ballets that enjoyed great success. In 1865 he became professor of flute at the Vienna Conservatory and kept this position until shortly before his death in 1883.

In the meantime, both their fathers had died in 1859, and Karl followed his brother to Vienna, four years behind him. He stayed there only three years, however, because the Stuttgart Court Opera courted the Doppler brothers and Karl eventually became there, in Stuttgart, music director, opera conductor, and finally Royal Court Kapellmeister and composition teacher at the Conservatory. He outlived his brother by 17 years and died in 1900.

The stage works of the Doppler brothers were very great successes at many opera houses of the imperial and royal monarchy during their lifetime. Today they have largely disappeared from the repertoire. And although their mother tongue was German, they felt very close to the Hungarian people. They were often seen in patriotic Hungarian costumes. Their operas are considered national operas in Hungary, Poland and Austria. Franz Doppler had a special ability to reflect specific national elements and folk color in the rhythm and melody of his works.

The works for flute, many of them also for two flutes, are still very popular. Making maximum use of the possibilities of the flute of that time, they are extremely virtuosic, quite technically demanding and delight the listener’s ear with uncomplicated but very charming and imaginative melodies.

As early as 1832 and 1847, Theobald Böhm in Germany had made the decisive steps towards a better playable and more sonorous flute. The Doppler brothers did not use these flutes, although they must have known about them with the utmost certainty. Especially in 1847, when the cylindrical Boehm flute came on the market, Franz and Karl were already virtuosos of their instrument, and a great deal of practice would have been necessary to switch to the new Boehm mechanism. One must keep in mind that the finger technique was really a completely contrary one. Many flutists will have had a similar experience.

Franz and Karl Doppler played on conical eight-keyed wooden flutes with ivory heads, which had an extension up to the small a. These instruments were made by the Ziegler company in Vienna, one of the quantitatively and qualitatively most important firms for woodwind instrument making in the German-speaking world.

In Germany, too, there was a pair of flutists with the same name, the Fürstenaus. However, in this case it was father and son. And the origins are not so dissimilar. In Münster, Franz Carl Fürstenau was a regimental and court orchestra musician. He taught his son Kaspar, born in 1772, to play the oboe, flute and clarinet. The boy grew into the musical life as a matter of course and was able to play in the prince-bishop’s cathedral and court orchestra at the age of 12. After the death of his father in 1787, Bernhard Anton Romberg took him under his wing. At that time, the Romberg family had a decisive influence on the musical life of the city of Münster and would produce the prodigies Andreas and Bernhard Romberg in the next generation.

Kaspar soon took lessons with Josef Antoni and was sent by his employers on study trips to London, Paris and Vienna. From 1793 on, successful concert tours through Central Europe are documented and finally, in 1794, he moved to the Oldenburg court orchestra. Here he gave flute lessons to the princely family and this is also where his son Anton Bernhard grew up, who was born in Münster in 1792. Anton Bernhard was also to prove extremely gifted. In just a few years he developed into a good flutist who was soon able to play music on a par with his father. He performed for the first time at the age of 7 and became a member of the court orchestra at the age of 12. The Duke of Oldenburg naturally noticed the jewel among his musicians and presented the boy with a precious flute.


In the more than 15 years that followed, father and son Fürstenau gave concerts, first as part of the Oldenburg subscription concerts, but soon in more distant cities and finally on extensive concert tours through Europe. The virtuoso duo celebrated one success after another. According to contemporary sources, the son far surpassed his father in virtuosity and beauty of playing. It will take another 25 years or so until the Doppler brothers’ concert tours…


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In 1817 Kaspar Fürstenau fell ill and Anton Bernhard accepted a position in the Frankfurt/Main municipal orchestra. He could not return to Oldenburg because the court orchestra there had been dissolved in 1811 in the course of the Napoleonic annexation. In 1819, the duo’s virtuoso career came to an end with the death of their father Kaspar. In 1820, Anton Bernhard finally moved with his rather large family to Dresden, where he became principal flutist at the Royal Chapel. Carl Maria von Weber also lived and worked there, with whom he had already had a close friendship for several years and whose estate he arranged together with his widow in 1826.

He remained in Dresden until his death in 1852, having found the position of his life. From here he undertook extensive concert tours, here he taught his numerous pupils, and here he began to compose. Georg Jakob Vollweiler had already given him the theoretical and compositional tools for this in Frankfurt. Now he studied the old masters independently and wrote and wrote and wrote.

In addition to piano music and songs, he composed mainly for the flute. The demand was great, because original flute literature was scarce at that time. Opera fantasies, variation works, 13 highly virtuoso concertos and many etudes were written. As before, he also traveled and visited Denmark, Sweden, Holland and all the major German cities several times. His reputation as a flute virtuoso was extraordinary, and along with Toulu, Drouet and Berbiguer, he was considered the master of his instrument. In 1843, after a concert in Dresden, he stepped down from the stage and from then on devoted himself only to composing, his students and his large family.  In 1844, “Die Kunst des Flötenspiels in theoretisch-praktischer Beziehung” was published. Almost a hundred years after Quantz’ “Versuch einer Anleitung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen” there was now another school for the conical flute.

At this time, Böhm was already close to completing his revolutionary invention of the cylindrical flute, which Fürstenau was very critical of and even opposed to.

Fürstenau played the eight-keyed instruments made by the Dresden firm of Wilhelm Liebel. He was rather an advocate of the soft sound, the “genuine romantic character” and a tone characteristic of “pure nature and inclining towards the idyll”. So it was clear, of course, that Anton Bernhard Fürstenau would not switch to the Boehm flute. Instead, he developed a tonal system that was determined by the “appeal of the (different) keys”. With great effort both in essays and in teaching, he tried to pass on that sound aesthetic to the next generation of flutists. His 100% conviction is to be admired and in any case, even today on the modern flute, much can be learned from Fürstenau’s “exact and attentive listening”. However, it must also be clearly stated that the Boehm system probably had such a difficult start in this country, mainly due to Fürstenau’s great influence on German playing practice. Presumably, he had also influenced Franz and Karl Doppler in this way. Of course, what was true for these two also applies to Fürstenau: as a mature musician, it is difficult or even impossible to switch to another fingering system.

His son Moritz (1824 – 1889) also became a flutist and member of the Saxon court orchestra. He even studied with Theobald Böhm in Munich for some time and was torn between the old and the new system all his life. With some colleagues he founded the Tonkünstler-Verein, which he directed for almost 40 years. He was also “Professor of Music” at the Royal Conservatory. In this function, this third Fürstenau is particularly known to posterity. For from 1852 he was the custodian of the Royal Private Music Collection and increasingly devoted himself to music-historical studies, focusing on the history of music in Dresden. He thus laid the foundation for the Heinrich Schütz Archive, which sees itself in the tradition of his historical work.

And then, of course, the name “Moyse” comes to mind for us flutists. There were two of them, too, father and son.

Surprisingly, although Marcel Moyse (1889 – 1984) is known to all flautists, everyone has literature by him on his shelf, we know very little about the private man. Probably the first thing we have in mind is the photo of the pipe-smoking, already elderly gentleman, which adorns the front page of most of his studies. This alone has always impressed and amused me, but he could also have chosen a picture of himself with the flute.


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Born in the small town of St. Amour in Burgundy, Marcel Moyse studied at the Paris Conservatory with Taffanel, Gaubert and Hennebains.

In 1906 he won the Premier Prix. He was then engaged as principal flutist in various orchestras, the longest of which, from 1913-1938, was in the orchestra of the Opéra-Comique in Paris. From 1932 he was a professor at the conservatories of Paris and Geneva. In 1934 Marcel Moyse premiered the concerto dedicated to him by Jaques Ibert. At the outbreak of World War 2, he was the luminary of his field and had performances with most European orchestras. After the war he moved to the USA, founded together with Adolf Busch, Rudolf Serkin and his son Louis Moyse (see below) the Marlboro School of Music and the festival of the same name, gave master classes there, and came back to Europe again and again for such classes. In 1984 he died in the USA and in 1989 the Marcel Moyse Society was founded in Pittsburgh. His students are the well-known flutists of our years. So much for the sober facts.

Marcel Moyse lived in a dazzling time. He played the premieres of Stravinsky’s “Sacre du Printemps” and Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé”. Many prominent works of the flute repertoire are dedicated to him, by Bozza, Roussel, Ibert and others. Music in general, but flute music in particular, changed greatly in the first decades of the 20th century. Impressionism had taken hold and the flute seemed to be the ideal instrument for it. Moyse had developed the ideal expressiveness, harking back to Romanticism, and had achieved undisputed fame that continues to this day. The flute also had a leading role in the orchestra for the first time during this period, and the demands on its sound were changing. A good example of this is Debussy’s “L’après-midi d’un faune”, pure flute with a large orchestra, so to speak.

Accordingly, “De la sonorité” is probably Marcel Moyse’s most famous teaching work. But also his other booklets on all aspects of modern flute playing, including “Gammes et Arpèges”, are known worldwide and are still standard literature today. The most important booklets were published by Leduc and had astronomical prices in my student years. Marcel Moyse’s recordings also still arouse great interest, especially those of the Mozart concertos.

His son Louis Moyse (1912 – 2007) also studied flute and piano in Paris. In 1932 he became his father’s assistant, and in 1939 he married Blanche Honegger, who had great success as a violinist at a very young age. The Moyse Trio (Marcel Moyse – flute, Blanche Honegger-Moyse – violin, Louis Moyse – piano) made many recordings and were frenetically celebrated. They were considered the “perfect” ensemble and received many awards. Louis Moyse also composed, not only for flute, gave numerous master classes until old age and spent his last years in Vermont.


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If you searched further, you would find several more such pairs. Especially in flute making, of course, the Hammig family immediately comes to mind. But we will content ourselves with these three, who have added great and important chapters to the history of flute playing.


Adorjan, Andras (Hrsg.) u.a.: Lexikon der Flöte, Laaber 2009
Holmes Schaefle, Melody: Flute pedagogy of the eightteenth and nineteenth centuries, San José 1989
Mgg online

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