Reproductions of Period Clarinets
Clarinets of the early 1700s, a = 415 Hz
Clarinet in F, 2 keys, after Scherer, ButzbachCollection Staatliche Museen, Meiningen
The Scherer family of woodwind instrument makers of Butzbach produced flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons between 1711 and 1778. Johannes Scherer was employed by the Counts of Hessen-Darmstadt as instrument maker to their court. The instrument collection at the Meininger Museen includes a couple of beautifully made clarinets in high F, one of which is on exhibition at the Bachhaus Eisenach.
Clarinets in F are unusual for the baroque period; a hint for their use as trumpet replacements. A true rarity amongst period clarinets!
Clarinet in D, 2 keys, after J. Denner, NurembergCollection Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
This reconstruction of a Jakob Denner instrument, kept in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, represents one of the earliest clarinets.
Jakob Denner (1685-1735) was the eldest son of Johann Christoph Denner (1655-1707), and was immediately involved in the development of the clarinet from the chalumeau.
Although the mouthpiece is still rather wide, the short and open lay gives an easy response in the clarino register. The sound of the clarino register resembles that of a Baroque trumpet. "Clarino" parts are easily carried out on clarinets of this kind. Johann Melchior Molter's concertos are outstanding examples of soloistic music.
G.F. Handel: Overture in D (Excerpt)
Clarinet in C, 2 keys, after J. Denner, NurembergCollection Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin
Our Jakob Denner C Clarinet is a reconstruction of an instrument kept in the Musikinstrumentenmuseum Berlin. The pitch of this instrument is around 440 H. We have adapted the upper and right hand joints in order to offer a pitch of 415 H, the now commonly used Baroque pitch.
We assume that the instrument's pitch holds a key for its usage. It was possibly employed in church music, tuned to play with the choir pitch of an organ.
Clarinets of the late 1700s / early 1800s, a = 430 Hz
Clarinet in C after Bühner & Keller, StrasbourgCollection Staatliche Museen, Meiningen
6 keys + split finger hole for c#'
The Strasbourg makers Bühner & Keller were active from around 1802 to 1844. The Ozi bassoon method praises their instruments.
This C clarinet is comparable to that of Baumann (Paris, 1772-1845), but has a typical German bore with the flare starting further down the instrument, resulting in a very full and soft sound. The original has 5 keys; we will fit up to 8 keys if desired.
The instrument has an excellent intonation and is easy to blow, even when alternating with a Bb or A clarinet.
Joseph Pranzer: Trio C-Dur (Excerpt)
Clarinet in Bb/A after J. Frölich, DettelbachPrivate collection
5 keys, split finger hole for c#'
Corps de rechange for A and Bb (also available at 420 Hz)
This early 5-keyed clarinet is special in having its bottom joint and bell made in one piece. The original is kept in a private collection; mouthpiece and barrel are missing and have been reconstructed.
Characteristic are the thin walled middle joints with their very small tone holes placed rather far apart. The bore of 14,55 mm must be classified as rather large. The original instrument dated from the last quarter of the 18th century, at the switch from the 4-keyed clarinet of the early classical period to the 5-keyed instrument of the Viennese classic.
Frölich's workshop was situated near the Würzburg castle, leading us to assume that Phillip Meissner (1748-1816), the famous Würzburg clarinet virtuoso and teacher, would have known and perhaps even used their instruments.
Phillip Meissner: Duo concertant op 4. (Excerpt)
Clarinet in Bb/A, after H. Grenser, DresdenCollection Instrumenten-Museum Markneukirchen
Basset joint for the A clarinet
These clarinets are reproductions of the instruments kept in the Musikinstrumentenmuseum Markneukirchen. They were made around 1810 and have up to 12 keys.
These instruments represent the high quality of workmanship in Saxony at the time. Division of labor was already common practice in those workshops, making it possible for them to offer large quantities of instruments while maintaining quality.
Heinrich Grenser's clarinets were played by virtuosos like Hendrik Crusell and Ivan Müller. Their design is still close to the classical 5-keyed clarinet, but their sturdy wall thickness and reliable intonation, even of delicate semitones, make them suitable for performing the works of Weber, Mendelssohn, and others.
Konradin Kreutzer: Trio (Excerpt)
Nils Wilhelm Gade: Fantasypieces for Clarinet and Pianofort
(Clarinet in Bb; from the CD "Musikalische Morgenunterhaltung")
Robert Schumann: Romanze No. 1, op. 94
(Clarinet in A; from the CD "Musikalische Morgenunterhaltung")
Basset Clarinet in Aafter a drawing of the instrument played by Anton Stadler and Theodor Lotz
The basset clarinet (in A, Bb, or sometimes C) is an instrument similar to the basset horn. It is the instrument for which Mozart composed his Clarinet Quintet K. 581 as well as his Clarinet Concerto K. 622. Unfortunately there are no surviving originals. It was developed around 1788 by Theodor Lotz, instrument maker to the Court of Vienna, in collaboration with Mozart's friend Anton Stadler (1753-1812). They extended the clarinet downwards by a minor third, just like on a basset horn, but including all the semitones, requiring 4 additional keys. Basset horns in those days were diatonic. The bore was angled twice where as the basset clarinet was short enough to be built straight. After Mozart's death the lowest notes of the concerto were transposed up an octave so it could be played on the much more common A clarinet.
Since there is no original instrument we could have measured up, we based our basset clarinet on an original drawing of Theodor Lotz' instrument, and on extensive experiments.
The drawing was found on a concert flyer for Stadler's concert in Riga in 1798. He is announced as an inventor as well as a virtuoso. The instrument features a bulbous bell ("Liebesfuß"), as it can be found on certain basset horns of the time. Our reconstruction is based on an A clarinet by H. Grenser of Dresden. Similar instruments in various pitches were made in the workshops of Johann Benjamin Eisenbrandt, Göttingen (before 1822), Johann Georg Braun, Mannheim (between 1816 and 1833), and others.
An alternative to this basset clarinet is our period basset bottom joint, which is attached to the A clarinet below the 3 right hand finger holes.
Although it is a special experience to play music on a suitable period instrument, SCHWENK & SEGGELKE also offer a basset clarinet built as a modern instrument. Again there is the cheaper alternative of adding a basset bottom joint to your clarinet.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Clarinet Concerto A major, 3. movement (from the CD "Mozart 1791" featuring Charles Neidich; further information at "CD-Recordings")
Basset Horn in F, after Hammig jun., ViennaCollection Buffet- Crampon, Mantes
7 - 9 keys
diatonic "Buch" in C
with low Eb
The junior Friedrich Hammig took over his father's workshop around 1800. In 1792, the father had introduced a "new basset horn", and the son maintained this design.
The original to our copy is kept in the Buffet-Crampon collection in Mantes-La-Ville, France. It is preserved with two barrels and top joints of different lengths. The mouth piece is missing and was reconstructed. The instrument features nine keys, plus three basset keys.
This basset horn has an excellent intonation even in the throat register, and has a warm and sonorous sound.
Konradin Kreutzer: Trio (Excerpt)
Giusepe di Blumenthal: De l'Opera Samori (Excerpt)
Clarinets of the 19th Century, a = 438-440 Hz
Clarinets in A/Bb after H.F. Kayser, Hamburg (1809-1890)Reconstructions upon suggestions by Mr Keith Puddy, Royal Academy of Music, London
boxwood seasoned for many years
These instruments are suited best for the music of Robert Schumann, early Johannes Brahms, Nils Gade, and operatic works up until 1860/70. Original instruments can be found in northern Germany and Scandinavia, but also in central Germany.
Romantic Clarinets in A/Bb after Georg Ottensteiner, Munichbased on Richard Mühlfeld's instruments, Collection Meiningen
French boxwood, cut in the 1920s
19 keys, nickel-silver, gold plated on request
Carl Baermann writes in his clarinet tutor from 1860/61 - 1917 edition - Vol. 1a ED 502a:
"Da trat der Königlich-bayerische Hofinusikus Theobald Böhm mit seiner neuen Flöte auf und gab durch sein System eine ganz neue Richtung an. Demselben bin ich nun selbst nach unparteiischster Prüfung aller neuen Erfindungen aus innerster Ueberzeugung soweit gefolgt, als ich es ohne Nachteil für den Charakter des Instrumentes und ohne, dass das früher Leichte erschwert wurde, anwenden konnte. So ist nun die Klarinette mit Hilfe des wirklich ausgezeichneten und fachmännisch gebildeten Instrumentenmachers Georg Ottensteiner in München in der Fonn entstanden, wie sie nachstehend (Tab. la) abgebildet steht. Ein vollkommenes Instrument mit absolut reiner Stimmung gibt es ebensowenig, als es möglich wäre, ein in dieser Beziehung vollkommenes Klavier herzustellen und abzustimmen, Dies wird jeder Musiker einsehen, der den Unterschied zwischen einem Kreuz und einem B kennt, denn das Cis ist z.B. als große Terz von A-Dur sehr verschieden von Des, als der kleinen Terz von B-moll."
(Just as Theobald Boehm had revolutionized the flute, Baermann designed a clarinet combining all the latest inventions, without compromising the character of the instrument and its ease of playing. He had it built by Georg Ottensteiner of Munich, whom he greatly praises. He points out that there is no such thing as a perfectly tuned clarinet just like there cannot be a perfectly tuned piano, “... as will be confirmed by any musician who knows the difference between a sharp and a flat: the C# as the major third of A major is very different from the D-flat as the minor third of Bb minor.”)
A pair of such instruments was owned by Richard Mühlfeld, and is now kept in the music history collection of the Meininger Museen. With their great historical importance these clarinets represent the era of the second half of the 19th century.
Our copies are kept very close to the originals' measurements. We are luc ky to own a stock of boxwood cut about 100 years ago for instrument making, but never used, since clarinet production back then tended towards other materials. We are able to offer a limited edition of 13 pairs (Bb and A) and 17 Bb clarinets. The nickel-silver keywork can be supplied with either gold or silver plating, or just polished. Mouthpieces are copies of the original and are hand-made in either African Blackwood or ebonite.
The instruments can be tuned to 435 to 440 H – please specify with your order.
Robert Stark: Trio g-moll (Excerpt)