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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000325.txt from 1996/01

From: George Landis <gel@-----.NET>
Subj: The Moennig Story
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 1996 12:23:20 -0500

When the first posting re: Hans Moennig appeared a few days ago, I was
interested to see how many people would respond who actually owned Moennig
horns and I've been surprised that no one has spoken up yet. Apparently,
I'm one of the lucky few.
I currently have three R-13's bought from Moennig: a matched Bflat/A set
which he sold to my teacher around 1960, and which I subsequently bought
from him, as well as an A clarinet which I bought directly from Moennig's
shop in 1969 (for a whopping $180). To this date, these are great horns
which I still occasionally perform with.
As far as Mr. Stier's question regarding the barrels...The "new" R-13
barrels that you can buy from a variety of sources are actually stock
Buffet barrels which have been rebored with the basic Moennig reverse taper
measurements. However, a true Moennig barrel was custom bored to match a
particular horn. If you're lucky enough to find a true Moennig barrel, it
could be used on "the R-13 of the common man," but, because they were bored
for a particular circumstance, the barrel may or may not work well with
your horn. Of course, the same holds true for the "new" Moennig barrels you
can purchase today: they have the basic Moennig configuration, which may or
may not work in your set-up. In my case, I use my 1960 vintage barrel with
my new R-13 Bflat horn and it works very well. Conversely, I use a "new"
Moennig barrel with my new R-13 A clarinet, because the true, vintage
Moennig A clarinet barrels I own don't work well at all with the new horn.
As far as other things Hans Moennig did to adjust each horn, I know he
custom bored at least the upper joint of each horn. He also tapered and
sealed each tone hole (with beeswax) to properly tune the instrument. He
also put a reverse twist on the spring pins to adjust the tension on each
key to his and his customer's liking. Also, unless you requested that he do
otherwise (and he'd give you a major argument if you did request this), he
removed all of the nickel or silver plating from all of the keys. I'm told
that he hated the slickness of the plated keys. In fact, every Moennig horn
I've ever seen has the ugliest, greenish silver set of keys you can
Interestingly, he also adjusted the bells of each of his horn, although
I'm not sure how. My teacher, who was a Curtis graduate, always stressed
the importance of Moennig's bells. I seem to remember that he felt that the
bells were almost as important as the barrels. As I said, I don't recall
As to his custom tuning and adjusting each instrument, he did. He asked
that I return the A clarinet I bought from him to his shop after I had
played on it for a while (preferably in person) for adjustment. I ended up
sending it back by mail with detailed notes of what I thought of it and a
reel to reel tape of me playing a couple of pieces. He made most of the
adjustments I requested, and provided a long hand-written note explaining
why he couldn't, or wouldn't make the others.
As far as Mr. Stier's question about ordering a "Moennig-adjusted Buffet
clarinet," I've heard that Moennig's shop is still operating in
Philadelphia, manned by former apprentices of his. If this is true, they
would presumably be able to provide you with a more than reasonable
facsimile of one of Hans Moennig's horns. Perhaps someone else on the list
would know about this.
One final editorial comment: While Moennig used R-13s as his basic
instrument, a true Moennig clarinet is really a totally different
instrument. In my opinion, they look, feel, play and sound completely
different than a typical R-13. Most Moennig horns, or should I say the
people who played and still play Moennig horns, have a much, much darker,
richer sound than the players (and their horns) of today. If you want to
sound like Stoltzman, don't bother trying to locate a Moennig horn, it
probably won't be your cup of tea.

Best Regards.

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