Natural Horn with detachable périnet valve set ("sauterelle")
Courtois Frère, rue du Caire à Paris (F) ca 1835-1845

This magnificent natural horn by Courtois Frère (Paris) dates from somewhere between1835 and 1845. Courtois was reknown for his fine and elegat natural horns in classicist style, and was as such the main competitor for the (slightly higher estimated) Raoux.

In the transition period between natural and valve horn, detachable valve sets or “sauterelles” were increasingly popular, as it enabled players to  have 1 single instrument for different gigs (symphony orchestra or solo work (natural horn) versus military or popular music (valve horn)).
The valve set for this instrument was manufactured around 1845, and carries the initials HA of Antoine Halary. Most probably the horn was first conceived as a natural horn before the valve set was made. The combination of a top quality natural horn with a sauterelle by this legendary builder makes the instrument truly unique.
I purchased this horn in the autumn of 2009 and had it completely reconditioned by Daniel Kunst, who also reconstructed the tuning slide and completed the crook set with exact replicas (unfortunately, only few of the original crooks were still with the instrument).
I used this horn for 2 seasons as my main instrument, and recorded some pieces on the "Fall" CD on it.