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 Gino Cioffi Recordings/Videos
Author: GLHopkins 
Date:   2010-06-13 17:48

Is there a place on the web to find Cioffi performances on mp3 or video?

The Selmers he played were built for him, but did he have any custom work done to them before he used them in his work?

Post Edited (2010-06-13 17:53)

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 Re: Gino Cioffi Recordings/Videos
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2010-06-13 20:21

At a master class MANY years ago, Cioffi read a letter from Selmer to him saying, among other things, that a new pair of clarinets had been delivered to him on which "the right hand has been tempered to your specifications." To me, that means that his instruments were customized.

At the time, I'm pretty sure that he was the only major player in the US using Selmers, so I'm sure the company would go out of the way to keep him happy and recommending Selmers to his pupils.

I know of no videos of Cioffi playing solo, but there are some of him playing in the Boston Symphony. About six months ago we had a discussion of a Munch Symphonie Fantastique on YouTube, which had excellent close-ups of the woodwind section. http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=314177&t=314177

Ken Shaw

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 Re: Gino Cioffi Recordings/Videos
Author: GLHopkins 
Date:   2010-06-13 22:18

Thanks Ken. I'd read about Selmer making clarinets to his specs for him, but I was wondering if he went even farther with the personalization of his instruments.

He sounds good in the ensemble. I've seen videos of the orchestra in the past few weeks, but I was wondering if there are solo videos or recordings of him. There has to be some recordings of him playing in a chamber group or with piano I would guess, but it has been 30 years since he was working and there may not be any video.

Post Edited (2010-06-13 22:25)

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 Re: Gino Cioffi Recordings/Videos
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-06-13 23:29

Gary, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to buy a set of 1967 Selmers that once belonged to Gino Cioffi from one of his former pupils.

They're V-series Series 9* with consecutive serial numbers, each section is serial numbered and labelled A or Bb, and they have the same keywork configuration as my first ever set of Selmer CTs - 19 keys, 7 rings which was a bonus as that's what I'm used to.

Strange thing is there's a spare bell for the A (but not Bb) that the previous owner (his former pupil) sent to me after I bought them, but this extra bell has the European engraving (just the Selmer logo and 'Made in France' in small letters a little way beneath it), so I wonder if they originally came with the European spec bells and Gino had selected better bells them (and these have the export logo).

They are remarkable instruments in the choice of wood used, and the keywork is exquisite - they had been very well looked after although I stripped them down and rebuilt them both as they still had the original pads which had bulged.

The LH F/C key touches on both A and Bb were angled upwards instead of being completely straight (there was a bend in the touchpiece arms to raise the heads up), so not sure if this was done by Selmer or what. However, I straightened them out as they were too high for me and the LH F#/C# levers were in danger of clattering against the LH F/C heads.

These clarinets are the pride of my collection.

Here's part of an email I got from the previous owner of these Selmers not long after I paid for them and as they were about to be sent to me:

"Gino always had two or three sets with him, all made to his exact specifications - Selmer actually called his the "Cioffi Model." The idea was that if there was a problem with one clarinet, he could move to the other which handled exactly the same. He had stopped bringing them in, but sold one set to me when I started lessons with him. As I recall, it cost more than both my parents made in a month, so it was quite a sacrifice for them, bless them. He told me that mine was the last set of Cioffi models that was made. Frankly, Chris, I have only his word to go on - but I really don't doubt it. He had often stayed with the Selmer family during his travels, so had quite a good relationship with them. My parents were convinced to buy these for me by his statement that I would soon sound exactly like him. And I did. All in all, it was a good purchase. BTW, all the Cioffi models had consecutive serial numbers for the two instruments. Also, the wood is Brazilian rosewood (I know, that's very out of vogue right now). Gino told me that the wood was kept in the Selmer controlled humidity storage room for 12 years. The idea was to help the wood mature into a very stable condition. I've played at Tanglewood in 90+% humidity in the summer, and in dry cold concert halls in the winters - and other than having to adjust to keep the 442 A, the instruments always sounded the same."

Former oboe finisher
Howarth of London
1998 - 2010

The opinions I express are my own.

Post Edited (2010-06-13 23:49)

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 Re: Gino Cioffi Recordings/Videos
Author: salzo 
Date:   2010-06-14 01:59

As far as solo recordings, he recorded the Brahms Trio, and The Brahms e flat sonata.
I believe he recorded the Beethoven Piano Quintet, There is a recording of him doing small woodwind ensembles (trios, quartets). There is also the Strauss serenade, and wind symphony.
His Brahms Trio is one of my favorite recordings. The Sonata-well is pretty bad.
I heard a recording of him playing the Ginastera thing (cant rememeber the name of it-the piece that goes up to a high C#) with the Boston symphony. He played the S@#$% out of it.

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 Re: Gino Cioffi Recordings/Videos
Author: Ed 
Date:   2010-06-14 02:04

I have some of the Cioffi solo stuff and BSO chamber on LP. I will have to dig them out.

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 Re: Gino Cioffi Recordings/Videos
Author: mrn 
Date:   2010-06-14 17:26

salzo wrote:

I heard a recording of him playing the Ginastera thing (cant rememeber the name of it-the piece that goes up to a high C#) with the Boston symphony. He played the S@#$% out of it.

That would be Variaciones Concertantes.

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 Re: Gino Cioffi Recordings/Videos
Author: duxburyclarinetguy 
Date:   2010-06-15 00:16

I studied with Phil Viscuglia (BSO bass clarinetist) for a year at BU before studying with Harold Wright. Phil played with Gino for a few years before he (Gino) retired from the BSO. Phil told me that Gino had "fingers that you and I have never even thought of" in reference to his prodigous technique. Harold Wright remarked to me that he thought Gino (in his prime) had a very nice sound.

Roger Voisin former principal trumpet of the BSO and Chair of the woodwind. brass and percussion dept at BU also told me that when the BSO was audtitioning for the position of Principal Clarinet, Gino was at the MET in NYC and performed his entire audition from memory.

Quite a player indeed!

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 Re: Gino Cioffi Recordings/Videos
Author: JEG 2017
Date:   2010-06-16 01:34

There's a published account of Cioffi's Boston Symphony audition that can be found in the book which I think was called "Gentlemen, More Dolce Please." It was written by Harry Ellis Dickson, who was a violinist in the BSO for many years as well as an assistant conductor of the Boston Pops when Arthur Fiedler was conducting. When I studied with Cioffi in the early 70's I asked him about the audition. He was rather matter-of-fact about it, if I remember correctly, saying that he did it to get an edge, which he certainly did.

He also mentioned recording the Ginastera. He said he had three days to learn it and practiced day and night. I have the recording, and he did play the daylights out of it, but if what he said was true I would like to have heard him play it with more time to prepare.

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