In the late 18th Century, the Thurn and Taxis family of Regensburg was not only well-placed aristocracy, but also held the monopoly on the post and carriage trade in Europe. Karl Anselm, the fourth sovereign of Thurn and Taxis, was a music lover, and he made his court orchestra into one of the most known in Europe. Thanks to the influence of his famous father, Henri Jacques De Croes, from Antwerp, Henri Joseph De Croes (Brussels 1758 – Regensburg 1842) began to play violin in this orchestra when he
was just seventeen years old.
The Regensburg court orchestra played a central role in the development of the clarinet in the second half of the 18th Century. The orchestra could count many
different talented clarinettists in its midst, as well as other musicians who also played clarinet as their second instrument. The court library’s rich collection contains no less than 36 clarinet concerti from the second half of the 18th century, including works by Johann Stamitz, Johann Zach, Theodor Freiherr von Schacht, Vaclav Kn?žek and Henri Joseph De Croes, among others.