Dear Mr. Puppy,

What musician did all the other musicians in Paris revere during your time there?

All the Paris musicians were in awe of bassoonist, Tommaso Delcambre. A native of Douai near Arras, Tommaso came to Paris in 1784 when he was only eighteen years old. At that time, French bassoonist Étienne Ozi was renowned for his musical expression and his ability to make his own reeds, a practice that would help perfect the imperfect bassoon. This was before Delusse had made improvements to the instrument that made it easier to get good intonation. After moving to Paris, Tommaso’s family arranged to have him take lessons from Maestro Ozi; it was amazing to experience his perfectly expressive tone. He made such good progress that, in 1789, he was hired for the orchestra of our Theatre de Monsieur, where he played bassoon together with Francois Devienne, the flautist. The stomping and applause in the performance of the works of Cimarosa and Paesiello are still fixed in my memory. The public especially appreciated his performances with the singers Rafanelli, Viganoni, Rovedino, Mengozzi, Mandini, Morichelli and Baletti. On some of these occasions, I recall substituting for Viotti in the orchestra of the Theatre Feydeau company. In Devienne’s symphony for the flute, oboe, and bassoon he accompanied the virtuosi, Louis-Armand Salentin, Antoine Hugot and Federico Duvernoy, all with great aplomb and elegant expression.

-Mr. Puppy

*Ask Mr. Puppy aka Giuseppe Puppo, an 18th-century concert violinist, answers our questions about his career and times.*