In 2012 when I was looking for a new bassoon, Roger and Penny Birnstingl mentioned to me that, following her retirement, Deirdre Dundas-Grant was selling her instruments, among which was an unused #7244 Heckel bassoon. I immediately got in touch with her, tried the #7244 and it was love from the first “blow”. I was interested in the history of the instrument and so Deidre kindly wrote it’s story for me:
“7244 was first purchased directly from Heckel in 1931 by Geoffrey Hartley, a fine amateur player. It was his spare instrument and he kept it under the bed and never used it. As a successful meteorologist he could afford two in those days. He conducted a wind band of us students from the colleges introducing us to the Mozart, Strauss and other wind band music. He wrote quite a few light, very clever, pieces for several bassoons too. When Puchners became known and he thought he would like to try them out he decided to sell 7244 still unused.
Gerald Corey from Baltimore knew about this and when staying with me said I absolutely must buy the 7244 as Geoffrey wanted to sell it to “update” and use the money for a new Puchner. So I became heir to 7244 and kept it under the bed always going to try it, but never having the chance as I couldn’t take any risks of changing an instrument as a freelance player. It would have been possible to try with a regular orchestra or touring company perhaps. So 7244 remained with me as a unique instrument, brand new 1931 Jubilee Model from the ” golden era”. Wood and keys all in prewar perfect order and a virgin. Where would you find another? All it needed was a little blowing in to start its sound to free up and develop. All it’s life ahead of it. It could only get better and better.”