Georges Mager's Courtois D Trumpet
This Courtois D trumpet was given to Boyde Hood (Los Angeles Philharmonic trumpeter, now retired) for Christmas when he was 13 years old by Llewellyn
Bromfield of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, with the story that it had belonged to and was used by Georges Mager in the Boston Symphony Orchestra. When Boyde showed this trumpet to Bud Herseth, he said that it does look like the Courtois trumpets that he remembers Mager playing. Bromfield acquired it from Joe Alessi Sr. when he was studying with Schlossberg at the Institute of Musical Arts (later renamed Julliard). Alessi had gotten it from Mager. The story and corroboration are believable, but I'm always curious to know more details. This trumpet gave me fewer clues for the date of manufacture than most Courtois instruments. Earlier examples, like those played by Arbuckle and Levy, have serial numbers stamped on the underside of the third valve cap and the successive medals indicated on the bell give and easy range of years possible. Instruments made later than WWI, have a new series of numbers stamped on the second valve casing.
This trumpet has none of that evidence, with the bell stamp much simpler than I recall seeing before and no serial number. The details such as valve caps, waterkey and pull knobs are like earlier instruments and the construction of the valves, with fixed valve guide and bottom spring, is like the orchestral F and G trumpets made in the 1870s through the 1890s or later. All these details led me to guess that it was made just before or soon after WWI. Courtois was already listing C trumpets in their 1897 catalog, but these were with a mouthpipe shank for C and crooks for Bb and A like we are accustomed to in early cornets.
The next morsel of evidence is a photograph taken in 1921 of the brass section of the BSO, provided by Doug Yeo from the Boston Symphony Archives. The trumpet that Mager (front row, center) is holding here is obviously a C trumpet, but with the same details of this D trumpet. The curved braces and the angle of the second valve slide are the most noticeable but also the pull knobs, waterkey mount, tuning slide brace, mouthpiece receiver ferrule and rounded slide ferrules all appear to match. Even his mouthpiece appears to be a Courtois. It is certainly a Courtois trumpet from the same era and Gustav Perret (top right in photo) appears to have the same model trumpet in this and the 1925 photo of the brass section. French C trumpets were not new to the orchestra, based on the 1915 photo of the brass section in which Gustav Heim and Louis Kloepfel (both of whom were known to prefer Bb) are both holding what appear to be Besson C trumpets.
This D trumpet is 16 3/4" long with mouthpiece removed (15 1/2" from bell rim to curve, the bell rim diameter is 4 7/16" and the bore measures .447".