Gaston Hamelin and his Selmer Metal Clarinet

(Gaston Hamelin is one of the most reknown clarinetists on the last century, for his beautiful playingand for his students, among whom were Ralph Maclane, and many others. He is one of the founders of the so-called American School of clarinet)

Yes, Hamelin did play metal clarinets as principal in Boston and they were the Selmer Clarinet, the one with the knurled barrel tuning device at the top of the horn. Those Selmers were widely esteemed by many and were finally taken out of the Selmer catalog, because, and I quote an old old, friend , a truly wonderful repairperson in Milwaukee, “They hurt the prestige of the Selmer Company”
Heresay? I think not, because there also exists a story that Hamelin was was given his notice in Boston. Because he played metal? I think not. But I am wrong. Read on.
Gaston Hamelin was a great player and the teacher of Ralph Maclane.
If anyone wishes to contradict or add, this is a fascinating subject, and add immeasuarably to the argument that there “are more overtones “exiting ” from Grenadilla, an unfortunate spelling error of the poster, however truer than one would think.
From biographical material on Joe Allard, who studied with Hamelin for four years:
“Allard studied with Gaston Hamelin for four years. Hamelin’s contract with the Boston Symphony was not renewed after the 1930 season, reportedly because conductor Serge Koussevitzky would not allow Hamelin to play his metal Selmer clarinet in the orchestra. Harmelin returned to his native Paris, leaving his students behind.”

I would conclude that we make the sound we like and build in our head and in our teeth and our ears. Blindfold tests be damned for they are mere flukes, smoke and mirrors, the whole magillah for no goood reason. Whether it be wood, or metal of hard rubber, we make the sound.

Rosario Mazzeo, as personell manager of the Boston Symphony Orchestra instituted the screen behind which persons auditioning played.
Believe me, every single one was known to the committee, not by a piece of paper, but by their sound as they played, for the ear of a committee doesn’t need a screen.

Sherman Friedland


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