The Ehrenfeld collection



The Beukers, Tassi, Wijne, Kirst and Haka originals all are found in the Ehrenfeld collection, therefore some information about this collection and my relation with it here!

Mrs. Ehrenfeld once told me that her husband (then late) Mr. Ehrenfeld bought the unique Haka flute for the sum of about fifteen then Dutch guilders, something like that in $'s. This because he did not have the twenty guiders the sellers wanted in his pocket. Moreover he found the Haka in an umbrella stand but amazingly in perfect condition. The value of that flute now, one of the two remaining one keyed flutes in between Renaissance and Baroque is difficult to say but it is so unique that any Museum with an interest in musical instruments would love to have it on display.
The whole collection was assembled in the years between 1940 and 1980 when the flute had no value. It is amazing nevertheless to see that Mr. Ehrenfeld collected some twenty (19 or 20 or 21, I don't know exactly) eighteenth century traverso. A part came from the collection of Willem Mengelberg. Mengelberg had a collection of old musical instruments. Mr. Ehrenfeld bought the flutes out of his inheritance.

Mr. Ehrenfeld was a professional flute player. He already played on early instruments between the two world wars, together with Hans Philips on harpsichord and Lien Beyers on original baroque violin.

Lets list the flutes first with a few only remarks. The remarks are made by me as I have knowledge as a maker.


1.   W.Beukers, boxwood 3 middle joints (408,415, higher but unplayable)
2.  Jan Beuker, boxwood 4 middle joints
3.  Anonymous, boxwood 6 middle joints (beautiful, like a Grenser)
4.  Robert Wijne, fruit tree or boxwood (badly damaged tenons)
5.  H.W. Elwe
6.  Johann Gotlieb Freyer, ebony, joints #2,4
7.  Carl August Grenser, ebony, foot with two keys, long foot badly playing, normal short copy foot playing well
8.   G. Crone, ivory 3 middle joints (beautiful condition but taught me not to copy ivory originals)
9.   I. Scherer, ivory 2 middle joints (yes!! a Scherer but I don't remember what was the matter with the mouth hole, I think a second one)
10.  G.Ulrich, boxwood, 3 middle joints
11.  A.Feri, ebony
12. Tassi(?) , ebony (the name though several times present is not really readable, everybody calls it the Tassi flute, intonation really nice, top of the head repaired with modern material)
13. Anonymous, ebony 3 middle joints
14. Friedrich Gabriel Kirst, Palmwood 4 middle joints
15. F.G. Kirst, Ebony 3 middle joints
16. F.G. Kirst, boxwood
17. F.G. Kirst, ebony, 3 middle joints, 4 keys (this one has been on my list of flutes that I still would have liked to make)
18. Thibouville, ebony
19.  Richard Haka, boxwood, Fifth flute (first conical bore flute with a key, the show case of the collection)
20.anonymous, type Nicholson, 8 key, pallissander (19th century)
21 HF Meyer, 10 key, Pallissander/cocus
22 Anonymous, type Koch/Ziegler 9 keys
23. Button and Whittakker 6 key boxwood
24  Anonymous, type Boehm, pallissander/cocus
25 Martin Freres 6 key pallissander
26. Picolo, boxwood

The following flutes are personal property of Willem Kroesbergen, added to the Ehrenfeld collection by him

27 Christiani Pallissander
28 Astor and Co boxwood
29 Metzeler, fruit tree
30.  A kauffmann, boxwood 4 keys
31.  Martin et Freres ebony 5 keys
32.  Keith-Prowse and Co. Boxwood 8 keys
33.  C. Gerock, Boxwood 8 keys
34 anonymous, third flute, boxwood

Some (19th century) flutes out of the private possession of Willem Kroesbergen have still been added and are not in this list.

A bit of history.

I started making traverso, about 1990, by buying the measurement data of the Willem Beukers flute from the den Hague museum. It is an ivory flute with no doubt changed mouth hole. It was just a hobby with no ambition at all. I did technically everything wrong but it played not so badly at all. My teacher said you better play it.

Then I discovered the Ehrenfeld collection. Mrs. Ehrenfeld was very nice and I visited her once every one to two months. That is where I learned to make traverso. I never worked in a workshop of a traverso or other instrument maker. I studied the Ehrenfeld collection and asked advice from turners, milling machine workers etcetera. The main thing was my visits to Mrs. Ehrenfeld, bringing some flowers and getting a cup of tea during an evening measuring and studying the instruments. Of course taking into account the necessary rules valid for handling real original instruments!

Alas Mrs. Ehrenfeld was already quite aged and at a certain point she decided to put the collection into a foundation.
This with as far as I understood two goals:
- the collection should not wind up for the largest part in the drawers of some museum to have only a few instruments displayed and
- two make sure that the collection would be accessible to those really interested.
The foundation had a management council with as a member also the famous harpsichord
maker Willem Kroesbergen who lived opposite Mrs. Ehrenfeld on the other side of the canal
Willem also had been a student of Mr. Ehrenfeld. Getting older Mrs, Ehrenfeld was as wise as to transfer the collection physically to Willem Kroesbergen. For me this did make a difference only with respect to communication with Mrs. Ehrenfeld. Willem understood very well that this collection was important for me. And I always was allowed to visit within at most a few weeks. He also is a traverso player and understood the collection very well. The visits again were a real pleasure also because we had discussions and Willem played my copies. I visited with players such as Masahiro Arita, Kate Clark Marion Moonen Liliko Maeda, Frederique Chauvet and others and this was of course very special.
Kate was the player who understood the Haka flute immediately, a beautiful flute that is not so easy to play. This for me was a reason to make it.
With Willem I discussed what I should do to make a 440/430 flute. First I tried the Jan Barend Beuker (not Beukers, no family, simply another maker) but it became clear that the Kirst had a much nicer tone. So that is what I wound up making.

Now I need the collection far less because I have most information as far as I am aware.

In 2007 Willem Kroesbergen decided to move to South Africa. He placed the collection, with Ton Koopman the well known harpsichord, organ player and director and it is adorning his living room now. Visiting is somewhat more difficult. Interested are asked to contact:
Herman Ehrenfeld Stichting
F.C. Donderstraat 24
3572 JH Utrecht
No email or telephone number has been given to me.

Back to the flutes in the collection.

I will give a collage of pictures here only. The pictures were all taken while I was measuring as can be seen, quite some time ago. This is not optimal but at present it will have to do and is quite nice nevertheless.

Keyed Kirst.


Pewter plugs on the Button and Whittakker.

pewt coll





Jan Barend Beuker


Crone (these are old negatives, a bit scratched).


Tassi (the key is not original and Willem asked me to make a better suitable one which I did).


And last but not least !!!!!!!!!!! Beukers (again, 20 years old scratched negatives).




Simon Polak: Early Flutes

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