Musician Katharina Spreckelsen of The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment offers a wonderfully melodic demonstration of the incredibly elegantly sounding, oddly shaped Oboe da Caccia with a performance of “Wie schön leuctet der Morgenstern” by J.S. Bach. Afterward, Spreckesen explains that his double-reed woodwind instrument was first invented in 1722 by J.H. Eichentopf who lived and worked in Leipzig, Germany at the same time as the legendary composer. The instrument was in demand during Bach’s tenure, but soon fell out of favor shortly thereafter and disappeared for quite a long while until musician Nikolaus Harnoncourt asked for them to be recreated in 1973.
When Nikolaus Harnoncourt recorded Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and also the cantata ‘Wie schön leuctet der Morgenstern’ in 1973, nobody had used these kinds of da caccias before. His recording was the first period-instrument recording of the piece and he needed a pair of oboe da caccia for both, …luckily he had the incredibly skilled oboeist and instrument maker Paul Hailperin by his side who copied two of these wonderful instruments. So one can only imagine how exciting it must have been not ever having heard the sound before in the twentieth century to all of sudden having two of these and embarking on recording this beautiful piece.