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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000163.txt from 2007/12

From: "Keith Bowen" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Mendelssohn Reformation Symphony
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 04:08:30 -0500

Hallo Benedict,

If you or anyone would like to get a C clarinet for occasional use, I
suggest the Amati instrument, which is available for about $750. They are
well made instruments which play easily. Intonation is not perfect but
acceptable, and they can be greatly improved by some simple tuning tweaks
which a technician can do. The keys are forged, can be bent, posts are well
anchored and the finish is good. You can get wood or synthetic models. I did
the tweaks myself following Clark Fobes tuning guide on his web site and the
"middles" of the notes are no more than 10-12 cents away from equal
temperament tuning, with no big changes between adjacent notes - this is
easily manageable. The only limitation is that the tuning does get tricky
above altissimo E; Strauss Workshops might be a challenge.

My other instruments are expensive ones - Stephen Fox, Wurlitzer - but I
find the Amati adequate. Since playing this in Harmoniemusik in Kammermusik
of Santa Fe, where there are a lot of C clarinet parts, three of my
colleagues there have asked me to get them these instruments and do the
tuning tweaks. We think they are better than anything but the top
professional models of the big name manufacturers.

Last summer I had a pair of such instruments, and before I had tweaked them,
my first clarinet (a professional) and I played them in our pro-am orchestra
in Beethoven 5. The intonation was perfectly manageable. And in the
rehearsal, when we got to the part where the clarinets change to C then
enter in close harmony in a short phrase in the third movement, the
conductor (a clarinetist himself) stopped the orchestra and said - "Listen,
a new tone colour - tell everyone about the C clarinets!".

So it's not just a matter of academic purity but of real sound contrast, and
it need not cost the earth.

Keith Bowen

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf
Of Benedict Lockwood
Sent: 25 December 2007 08:15
Subject: RE: [kl] Mendelssohn Reformation Symphony

Thank you all for the very interesting discussion.

In fact, yes, I am an enthusiastic amateur, playing in a reasonably good
community orchestra. Of course I would prefer to use the instrument
specified by the composer but I could not justify buying a C clarinet for
this one concert. Maybe I can rent one.

The other piece on the program is Brahms Serenade No. 2. This one starts on
the A, then the scherzo in C, then to B and finally back to A. I remember
hearing this piece in concert but I don't remember the clarinets bringing in
3 clarinets.

Maybe the problem is the choice of music. The conductor should choose music
for the instruments he has at his disposal. I doubt that many community
orchestra clarinettists have a C clarinet.

Best wishes to you all

Arlesheim, Switzerland

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