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Restoration of a Masterpiece:
Claude Rive No 243
1881, Paris, France

Claude Rive No 243 2016


After nearly 15 years of searching, a Rive flute finally surfaces
Right now, it looks like much to do about nothing, but theres a

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masterpiece here: a masterpiece waiting to be awakened

Photo credit: William Petit

David Shorey: "Rive has become a cult flute-maker. Very few of his instruments are to be found; when
they land in a player's hands who connects with Rive, they tend to stay there. If you play this flute, and do
not think that you are entering an endless, beautiful and undiscovered forest path, you are unlikely to join
the cult." [Excerpt from David Shoreys comments on Rive No 356:
http://www.antiqueflutes.com/product.php?id=771

Claude Rive No 243 2016


David Chu: Before establishing his shop in 1877, Rive, living at 16 Rue de Charonne, worked as a jeweler and a key maker for Vincent Hypolite

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Godfroy, Louis Lots brother-in-law.
Auguste Bonneville, Claude Rive and Henri Villette, three of the most important Parisian flutemakers after Louis Lot and Godfroy, established
their prominence within one year of each other. Villette took control of the Lot workshop in 1877, Rive and Bonneville started their own in 1877
and 1876 respectively. Their shops were within walking distance of each other. One can assume that they shared some of their suppliers and outside
workers, such as tube makers, silver merchants, padders, plating and engraving services, etc. Information would have traveled back and forth
between the shops easily.

Shortly after he set up his workshop, Rive showed his fltes cylindriques at the Exposition Universelle de Paris in 1878 for the first time and
received a silver medal. The only three other flutemakers of Boehm metal flutes presented were: Villette, Madame Godfroy, and Floretin Barbier,
all receiving silver medals as well. The next Paris Exposition was eleven years later, from May to October in 1889, Rive exhibited along with no
fewer than six other flute companies including Bonneville and Millereau. Millereau was the only entry in the woodwind category to receive a gold
medal while Rive and Bonneville received silver.

There is a fair consistency in Rives flutes that prevailed through 1885. For instance, the shape of the touches and back connectors, the use of a one-
piece rib and the way its bevels were finished, the use of two lugs in the right hand keys, the pinned footjoint, the shape and width of the pointed
arms and many other small details. These are the signs of a well-run shop benefiting from Rives own mastery as a key maker and a well-trained
workforce. To achieve an annual production of about 50 flutes, Rive would not need to hire more than 4 people in addition to himself. At the start,
he would have understood the inner-workings of a small flutemaking concern from working for Madame Godfroy.[Excerpt from David Chus
article: Rive Reunion Hearing Nine Claude Rive Flutes http://vintagefluteshop.com/articles/rives/art4.html

Claude Rive No 243 2016


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Photo credit: William Petit

Very old, and has seen a lot of play..

Claude Rive No 243 2016


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Photo credit: William Petit
This is a silver-plated tin flute (Maillechort, also
known as German silver, actually containing no
silver; it's an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc). Sliver
plating was first introduced to France in the mid
1800s and over time, has probably helped preserved
a number of masterpieces that today would have
been lost.

Based on current historical references, its believed


this flute was made around 1881. Very old, and has
seen a lot of play..

Claude Rive No 243 2016


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With the flute now in the hands of the Worlds foremost specialist
in antique flute restorations- David Chu, the first order of business
is to fix and restore the foot joint

Claude Rive No 243 2016


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David makes it look easy (its not)

Claude Rive No 243 2016


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Next, David dismantles the old beauty (carefully)

Claude Rive No 243 2016


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Next, David dismantles the old beauty (carefully)

Claude Rive No 243 2016


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Next up: David preps the body (and that foot joint) to be submersed in water
to check for microscopic leaks. Despite being 136 years old, theres one small
leak in the D-key (the hole on the far right). Aiming to do no harm, David
plans to seal the leak with epoxy

Claude Rive No 243 2016


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A closer inspection reveals that the seam holding the tube together
and that runs along underneath the ribs as separated here and
there but the seam is very strong, and should hold and last
another century or so

Claude Rive No 243 2016


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Curiously, David found that one of the springs was actually a sewing needle!
Inventive! Apparently, Boehm himself would often use German-made needles
for springs (they were the best available of the time) All in all, the prognosis for
the patients full recovery looks promising

Claude Rive No 243 2016


December, 2017: The flute is finally starting to take shape, and after repairing several tube and other mechanical flaws and problems, and
the careful cleaning and conditioning of, well, everything, he begins the painstaking task of padding the flute

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Claude Rive No 243 2016
January, 2017: Finally, restoration work is completed, and the results, well, theyre stunning

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Claude Rive No 243 2016
January, 2017: Finally, restoration work is completed, and the results, well, theyre stunning

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Claude Rive No 243 2016
January, 2017: Finally, restoration work is completed, and the results, well, theyre stunning

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Claude Rive No 243 2016
January, 2017: Finally, restoration work is completed, and the results, well, theyre stunning

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Claude Rive No 243 2016
January, 2017: Finally, restoration work is completed, and the results, well, theyre stunning

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Claude Rive No 243 2016

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