Selmer Recital and C85 Mouthpieces

I’ve read that you played a Selmer Recital clarinet and found the only suitable mouthpiece for this instrument is the C85. As I have a Recital I’m interested in: What actually are the problems with other mp’s than C85?What reed did you play on the C85(-120)? (I’m playing now on a German Zinner mp. with Viotto facing and Vandoren White Master (#3-3,5) reeds which is a quite good combination.)Jeroen</
Hi Jeroen: Thanks for your interest in the Selmer Recital. Somehow I have always felt that this instrument was a bold venture by Selmer, and indeed a beautiful one, albeit a failure on the commercial market. This instrument had a gorgeous tonal quality, one seemingly totally even and proportionate and very appealing to the player as well as to the listener. The thing that was a surprise was that the sound was better on an ordinary “bored” mouthpiece, the mouthpiece with which I first tried the clarinet. The intonation was the crucial factor in the clarinet and the mouthpiece. The low F was really flat on any ordinary mouthpiece. I really had only one solution and that was always to play the F as quietly as I could in order to keep the pitch up. C on the staff was fine, so there was really nothing to do but suffer.Then I heard a rumor that the C85 was the mouthpiece actually designed for the Recital … I am sorry but I cannot remember where I got that information, however it was correct in my experience. On the C85, especially the 120, the pitch was quite good, however I always suffered on the low F, but not as much. I had heard that Selmer was not unaware of this problem and that some Recitals were being modified with a speaker key opening only on the low F, which brought the instrument in tune; however I never saw the instrument. Clarinets that have wonderful characteristics, but have one or two things that are inconsistent always fail, it seems. This was also true with the quite wonderful Mazzeo Clarinet, the Paris model which had a speaker that opened on the throat Bb, rendering it simply perfect, and it was relatively simple to learn to play; however it was available only on the Selmer clarinet. And no dealer had more than a few to try. That includes the Selmer showroom in Paris. Many players have a prejudice against Selmer, and other simply love to try everything available, Japanese, German, French, English, what have you. These instrument do not gain a footing into the mass market for the above stated reasons. Not only does one want a good instrument, but also then to try ten or fifteen of these instruments, because they all vary … or one thinks they do. If you try five good reeds, which one plays best? Impossible to tell because you can’t play them all at the same time. Life and your embouchure do not work that way, hence the relatively quick demise of the B&H 10-10, the Mazzeo, the Leblanc Stubbins and all of the others. They were great … or perhaps not. I played for a time on the Mazzeo System full-Boehm, that is to say 23 keys and 7 rings, plus Mazzeo System, plus Eb-Ab mechanism and articulated middle B to C#. It was a great set, and it stayed in adjustment, but once in the Vandoren reed-trying room one of those arrogant French players asked me if it was an English horn or a Christmas tree. Not fun for a young man “on the march” so to speak. Good luck with your playing. Please remember that it is YOU who makes the music, not your Dr. Suess super-special licorice.


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