Made by Johann Benedikt Gahn (German, active 16981711)
Ivory; L. 19 1/8 in. (48.6 cm)
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889 (89.4.909)
Johann Benedikt Gahn was admitted as master in the Nuremberg wood-turners guild in 1698. Specializing in musical instruments, he maintained a workshop until his death in 1711. About sixteen recorders and a few oboes of ivory or boxwood have survived. Some of his recorders, like this one, feature a carved decoration with acanthus leaves and a mask, a motif linked to Nuremberg and appearing on other instruments by other makers. It occurs on peg boxes of viols and on recorders of the famous Nuremberg woodwind maker Johann Wilhelm Oberlender the Elder (16811763). The alto recorder, one of several members of the recorder family, became the favorite size after 1700 and many chamber pieces were written for it. It was also assigned solo tasks in orchestral works of the period.