The basset horn is part of the clarinet family and its history begins in the late 18th century. It had at least seventy years lasting period of popularity in Germany and Austria but also in Bohemian countries, and England among other countries. Around 1850 to 1855 the basset horn began to disappear. This is the time period in the history of the basset horn this thesis explores.
After an introduction, the beginning chapter will concentrate on different treatises or instructions written for this instrument like Albrechtsberger, Koch, Fröhlich or Mahon, bein compared to the main one, Backofen ’s Klarinett-Anweisung.
Next, historical basset horn makers in Austria and other German-speaking countries will be listed and discussed.
The fourth chapter deals with famous basset horn players of this era and tries to line up as many details known about them as possible. Also, the phenomenon of the basset clarinet as another additional low single-reed instrument will be investigated.
A special focus lies in the following chapter: Mozart’s contribution to the repertoire of the basset horn. This complete list of his works highlights the role of the basset horn and also Mozart’s relationship with the famous player Anton Stadler. A detailed look on his Concerto in G (KV 621b) follows.
At last but not least, a general overview of works including the basset horn will be presented.
The thesis will finish with a conclusion to show what role the basset horn players had in the music world between 1770-1850 in Austria and other German-speaking countries.