Clarinets in the Royal Concertgebouw, and others and others

Dear Mr. Friedland,

What do you think about Wurlitzer reform bohm clarinets? In the Dutch Royal Concertgebouw Orchest  all the players playing on them and they sound great. Do you believe in the improvements of those clarinets?
friendly regards

Dear S.S:

Thank you for your question concerning Reform Boehm Clarinets, and specifically, the make, Wurlitzer.
When you use the term, “improvements”, I would have to ask if these are , and can be called improvements or just changes? What few players of the Wurlitzer Reform Boehm clarinet, I’m very sure will tell yo that they are the best, sound, tuning and fingering and all. That is the way of the world of clarinet playing.
Years ago the make Buffet had a very good reputation as the clarinet of choice by many clarinetists, however lately, within the last ten years, or more, there have been other clarinets and bores added. Most significantly was the Leblanc Opus and Concerto, designed by Tom Ridenour, who was for a number of years, the chief designer at Leblanc in the US. These two clarinets and others, also designed by Ridenour are played by both Larry Combs , Principal Clarinet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and of Eddie Daniels who is probably the most noted clarinetist in actually all kinds of music.I am quite sure Mr Combs could fill any hall in which he plays, as well as any other, regardless of bore.Ne plays the Leblanc Opus. Mr Ridenour has left the Leblanc company and is currently designing and importing his own brand of clarinet, the Lyrique, which is increasingly popular. It is made of hard rubber, has the best tuning of any instrument and is more stable than any grenadilla clarinet. It’s really quite difficult to call the Reform Boehm clarinet “improvements.
Rather, the clarinet is certainly different because it has a different bore , a different and smaller hand position, some different fingerings for altissima notes and has more resistance than the typical “french” clarinet.
The function of the Reform Boehm is supposedly to combine the richness of the German Bore and the flexibility of the French bore and fingerings.
Whether it does or does not is certainly a matter for consideration and more, a matter of opinion.
There are clarinetists within the US playing on French bore clarinets who make a denser , perhaps darker sound, but on a French clarinet. One is Franklin Cohen , principal currently of the Cleveland Orchestra. But, he plays the typical Buffet clarinet.
Gino Cioffi and many others, play(ed) Selmer clarinets. Cioffi, with whom I studied had the most beautiful tone imaginable. Rosario Mazzeo, my principal teacher ivented and developed his own clarinet, which utilized a way out of the throat Bb without adding or drilling more holes in the instrument. He also played on full Boehm instruments.
Did any of these players and any of their instruments demonstrate a different sound? NO. They all play or played the clarinet, pure and simple.
different bore , hand position, mouthpiece, fingering no matter how you slice them , are still clarinets. If you admire one particular player over another, it is at most, your opinion. to which you are entitled.
Does every reform boehm payer sound better than a french bore player? No. Do halls produce different sounds, and orchestras? YES.
But the clarinet plays the clarinet part, whether it be in a Berlioz Symphony or a Sonata by Brahms.
Not improvement, just different fingering, different halls, different tuning sometime, and different woodwind sections. And some orchestras now use microphones when they record.
I must rule in favor of music, all the music, and the musicality of the player, all the time, but never the bore, which is as I’ve said , a really big bore.
best regards, and keep practicing, and don’t ever change. It’ll cost you 15,000 dollars and you’ll have to wait four or five years and then, you’ve got to consider what you’ve gained.
Finally, I know and have seen for sale, a set of Reform Boehm Clarinets manufactured by Yamaha.


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