The instrument is a further development of the bassettoboe operated by Wilhelm Heckel and his sons . The heckelphone sounds an octave lower than the oboe and is played by oboists as a secondary instrument .
In 1904 the heckelphone was first made by the bassoon construction company Wilhelm Heckel in Wiesbaden-Biebrich , after which it is named. In addition to the Heckelphone in C, instruments in F (Piccolo Heckelphon) and Eb (Terzheckelphone) were also built, but these did not catch on.
Allegedly the development of the instrument was suggested by Richard Wagner , who however did not live to see the production of the instrument. Even Richard Strauss was strongly interested in the development of Heckelphons and used it in some of his works, such as in the operas Salome and Elektra , and in his Alpine Symphony . The baritone oboe (also called bass oboe ) has a similar sound character, so that both instruments can be used alternately for each other.
In 1928 Paul Hindemith wrote a Trio for Heckelphone, Viola and Piano Op. 47. Graham Waterhouse composed Four Epigraphs after Escher (1995) for the same instrumentation . Hans Werner Henze used the instrument in orchestral works, Wolfgang Rihm in the Passion setting Deus Passus . There are solo concerts by Hans Mielenz ( Concerto for Heckelphone and Orchestra op. 60, composed 1959) and Michael Denhoff ( Tableaux sombres for Heckelphone and Orchestra op. 60, composed in 1990). Furthermore, the composer Roland Vossebrecker composed chamber music works for the Heckelphone such as: First Trio for oboe, Heckelphone and piano (2006), For Heckelphone and piano (2009), Second Trio for oboe, Heckelphone and piano (2009). Martin Bärenz wrote the three-movement sonatina for heckelphone and piano in 2013.
- Georg O. Klapproth: A completely new type has to be created. The Heckelphone was invented a hundred years ago . In: Das Orchester , Vol. 53 (2005), pp. 21-25, .