Ignatius Gennusa was the principal clarinetist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and certainly was one of the legendary generation of clarinetists who studied with Bonade or Mclane bringing that French-American tradition with him in all of his playing.
He speaks a bit differently than the others because he actually talks a lot about the composition and formulation of the hard rubber mouthpieces which most clarinetists play and of the particular sound that certain formulations cause. Fascinating because that seems to be a subject of conversation these days.
Several months ago, I ran into one of his mouthpieces while buying a clarinet. The Gennusa came with the clarinet, and with the usual short test seems to play well, though a bit on the dull side. Gradually I would keep coming back to the mouthpiece with increased interest because it seems to remove some of the higher frequencies which I associate with edge or brightness.
After a while I ran into the Forte clarinet, all of which come supplied with a Gennusa mouthpiece. I learned that after Gennusa had passed away, his mouthpiece business had been bought by one of his students, Benjamin Redwine. Benjamin Redwine is a clarinetist who studied with Gennusa and who has made several Compact discs.
By this time, I had switched to my old “found” Gennusa and liked it very much, and I contacted Mr. Redwine, found him to be extremely cordial and forthcoming about a world of information concerning the material and the making of mouthpieces. In fact he makes beautiful ones. I had not known that a mouthpiece could be duplicated and he volunteered the information that indeed it could be, and he offered to copy mine.
In short, he did a most wonderful job, so good that the mouthpiece he made me plays a bit better than the original and has a lovely sound and beautiful response. It is also much more symmetrical in that the facing and rails are very straight, which gives me a good feeling. We are always pushing our reeds a bit to the left or to the right for any number of reason and I do like a straight-looking table.
The quality of sound is certainly different from a stock Van Doren, not as bright or as sharp as any Zinner I have played, also darker in quality.
I always liked Iggys playing and a dear friend of mine Tom Kenny, former first horn of everywhere used to play with him and told many stories , like they used to tour in a woodwind quintet and they toured in a hearse. Tom also sent me a recording of Iggy playing the third symphony of Brahms, a real clarinet piece and it was beautiful.
So, the tradition is alive, and Benjamin Redwine is a reasonable craftsman of mouthpieces whom I recommend .
play well and stay well.