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 Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-12-10 21:18

Adolph Sax didn't just invent the saxophone. He had patents for all sorts of brass and woodwind instruments. One of his first patents was for a clarinet and a bass clarinet. Have any of you seen one or better still, played one?

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: saxlite 
Date:   2019-12-11 03:47

Have seen but not played an Adolph Sax instrument at the Museum Of Musical Instruments in Phoenix, AR. Have also seen original Adolph Sax's instruments at several museums in Europe,but my memory fails me just now. His saxes were very close to today's modern horns-remarkable in his genius.

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-12-11 05:44

Actually the bores of his saxes are much smaller and less conical than modern saxophones- giving them a much sweeter sound that is easier to control. The original Adolph Sax saxophones fit in to the orchestra much more easily, and altissimo notes are much easier to play.

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2019-12-11 14:10

The Sir Nicholas Shackleton Collection at the University of Edinburgh contains two clarinets made by Sax. One is a fairly conventional-looking simple system, but the other is clearly some sort of experiment that looks like nothing else I've ever seen:

https://collections.ed.ac.uk/mimed/record/17923

Notice in particular the single ring for the LH and the split ring for the RH middle finger. I haven't played that particular instrument, but the curators are relatively open to having people visit to play items from the collection (they're much less open to having the instruments taken away to be used in concerts, which was the clear intention of Nick's bequest, but that's another story).

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: kilo 
Date:   2019-12-11 16:15

Quote:

The original Adolph Sax saxophones fit in to the orchestra much more easily, and altissimo notes are much easier to play.


Here's a video of Chris Potter playing an Adolph Sax tenor (ca. 1859) — wish he'd used a vintage mouthpiece as well:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YOV0kZQIAo



Post Edited (2019-12-11 18:49)

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-12-11 21:07

This instrument would appear to have a double register key or at least a mechanism that uses separate vents for register key and throat Bb. Sax's experiments probably helped in the development of the modern clarinet as other makers assessed what innovations might improve their instruments. But the Sax brand soprano clarinets themselves probably were never adopted by any players of note and probably were not produced in large numbers or generally adopted in any country.

This contrasts with the Albert system clarinet and the instruments produced by the Albert family--Eugene, Jean-Baptiste, and especially E. J. Albert. Albert brand clarinets were adopted by Henry Lazarus in England and widely used by players in many different musical styles and idioms. Selmer, Penzell-Mueller, Buffet, and others proudly sold "Albert System" clarinets side by side with the Boehm models in Europe and the USA. And E.J. had no problem also producing regular Boehm system clarinets as well. Clarinets (both Albert system and Boehm) from the shop of E.J. Albert still turn up for sale at reasonable prices on the market. I don't believe I've ever seen an Albert Sax clarinet for sale. I have also never heard of other companies ever marketing an "Adolph Sax clarinet."

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-12-11 21:13

saxlite: does the Phoenix museum let you try their instruments out?

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-12-11 21:19

John: thank you for the information. Even if museums let you try instruments out-they often don't-it's no good if you don't have at least a basic knowledge of how to finger them. Maybe it would help to have a fingering chart beforehand and practise on a broomstick. Are the Shackleton-collection clarinets all in working condition? I would also love to see and try out a Heckel Boehm clarinet.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-12-11 21:22

Kilo: thank you so much for posting! The original "Sax" sounds great. Have we had much better since? So much for our dubious idea of progress.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: clarinetist04 
Date:   2019-12-12 08:16

No, the main collection in the Phoenix MIM is not for playing - they are put out on display. With that said, they frequently have workshops and guests and in those instances often guests are invited to play or try an instrument. To be honest, the MIM is a bit expensive, but it's worth every penny. You'll rarely find a museum about music that is as thoroughly curated as this one. Highly recommend going there if anyone is ever in Phoenix (if memory serves, it's on the northwest side of town).

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2019-12-12 08:36

I frequently see mention of the Phoenix MIM - I've never been there, but I have visited the National Museum of Music in Vermillion, South Dakota a few times. They have a wonderful collection and workshops/guests as well.

I've had a very difficult time contacting folks at the Vermillion Museum to find out more pertaining to the who/what/how portion of performing at their location, but the collection is wonderful!

Have any of you been to both the Phoenix and Vermillion museums. If so, could you shed some light on the similarities/differences between the two?

Fuzzy

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2019-12-12 18:12

>> [The University of Edinburgh curators are] much less open to having the instruments taken away to be used in concerts, which was the clear intention of Nick's bequest, but that's another story. >>

That's putting it mildly; they are criminally obstructive of Nick's instruments being used in that way.

I have an instrument in that collection, a Bb clarinet by Herouard & Fils, on which I played and recorded the Schubert Octet (still in the catalogue.) Preferring after a time to use a more classical instrument, I gave this clarinet to Nick in gratitude for the many times he had lent me items from his collection. He said it filled a gap.

I am sorry to have effectively got it into Edinburgh's clutches. It's now unavailable for performance to all players, including me, quite contrary to the conditions of Nick's bequest.

"He shouldn't have let us have them, should he?" seems to be their attitude.

Tony



Post Edited (2019-12-12 18:14)

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-12-12 19:00

Tony: I wonder why Nick didn't bequeath his collection to a Cambridge college.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2019-12-12 19:51

Ruben: Edinburgh was already set up with a large collection of wind instruments (The Reid Collection), so they apparently had the necessary facilities in place. Ironically, a good fraction of that existing collection was explicitly intended for borrowing for concerts. For example, there is a beautiful pair of Heckel varnished maple basset horns that the then Professor of music, Donald Tovey, bought in the 1930s so that the Mozart Requiem etc. could be performed properly:

https://collections.ed.ac.uk/mimed/record/15782

I've played these in concerts many times, including outside Edinburgh. My guess is that Nick simply took it on trust that his instruments would be treated similarly.

But staff and attitudes in the collection have changed with time. The tragedy is that it would only have taken a few extra words inserted into the text of his bequest and then the long-term availability of these instruments for performance could have been guaranteed. It would have been easy to do, and perhaps one should blame his lawyer for not having insisted on spelling things out more clearly. Hindsight is wonderful.

I have to say that, as a staff member of Edinburgh University, I am ashamed of this situation. But so far I've been unable to bring about any change.

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: modernicus 
Date:   2019-12-13 07:38

No, but I do have an Auguste Buffet jeune clarinet- not playable right now but shouldn't be too awfully difficult to get it there. No, it's not one of those Auguste Buffet Paris instruments you can find everywhere, I'm talking about an instrument from the workshop of the co-inventor of the Boehm clarinet. Doesn't have its original bell or barrel, though. Adolphe Sax saxophones aren't too difficult to run across, but haven't seen a clarinet that I recall.



Post Edited (2019-12-13 07:41)

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 Re: Who has seen an Adolph Sax clarinet?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-12-13 13:50

John: Are you on YouTube playing these Heckel basset horns? I'd love to hear you/them. I hadn't heard the name Donald Tovey since my youth. It brings back fond memories of my reading this great musicologist and master of English prose in the British Council libraries of Madrid, Florence and Amsterdam when I was a teenager. I fear he is sadly forgotten. Casals regarded him very highly, but didn't think much of him as a composer. "He knew too much about music to write good music," I seem to recall Cals' saying.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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