Adolphe Sax (1814–1894) was a powerhouse of innovation in the realm of wind instruments. He did not just invent the saxophone, but was also responsible for a whole series of technological innovations (including medical devices). His commercially most successful invention was his family of brass instruments that were called after him, the “saxhorns”. The saxhorn is a complete family of instruments ranging from the smallest sopranino in high B flat to the large contrabass saxhorn in a low B flat; they were all equipped with the valves that were new at the time (see the following video).
Saxhorns are the precursors of today’s alto and tenor horns, the baritone, euphonium and bass, such as are established today in wind orchestras. Sax also left his traces as an innovator in this field, too. He developed a wind formation for the French infantry comprising woodwind and brass instruments, and a pure brass formation for the cavalry. Today’s wind bands and brass bands are all derived from Sax’s ideas.
A research project by the HKB and the Swiss Army Band reconstructed the original French brass band using original instruments. The homogeneity of sound of the Saxhorn band is impressive – this aspect had already been praised by both Sax himself and by Berlioz at the time.
(to the research project …)
Saxhorns (including historical mouthpieces) and original music of the project can be hired for opera performances and ensembles.