Buffet And Anthony Gigliotti

Hello. I just noticed your site today when I did a search on Hans Moenig, who is part of my question.

In the early 1960s I studied with Anthony Gigliotti.( Principal Clarinetist, Philadelphia Orchestra)  During my first lesson he played my Selmer clarinet and decided that it would not do. So he set out to make sure I had a better one.

Once every two years, Gigliotti would go to the Buffet factory in Paris to select a new clarinet, either A or B-flat. The way he described the process was this: The management of the factory would lay out several candidate instruments wrapped in newspaper, and he would take his time playing each one. From this lot he would select the two best ones to bring back to Philadelphia. The next step was to give the two clarinets to Hans Moenig, who gave each instrument a thorough going-over, adjusting pads, fine-tuning the finger holes, and doing whatever other magic he was famous for doing. These two perfect clarinets then went back to Gigliotti, who would take both on stage for six months, alternating between the two to determine which one was better. He then would sell the other clarinet to one of his students. That year he was unable to detect any difference between the two. I was the lucky student who was able to buy either one for $250.

I know that Gigliotti was disappointed that I did not go on to perform professionally. But I still have the clarinet, periodically have it serviced, and play occasionally. One of the fellows who serviced it sent the instrument back with a note saying, “Take good care of this instrument. It is a good one.”

Do you have any sense for the value of this instrument, with this history? None of my family has shown an interest in taking up the clarinet, so someday I may need to part with it.

B N

Dear BN:
If I had a Buffet from 1960 which had been picked by Anthony Gigliotti at Buffet, and then worked over and tweaked by Hans Moenig, I would have in my hands the entire raison d’etre for the Buffet  mystique.
We are talking about Hans Moenig and what he did for Ralph Maclanes Buffets as well as Gigliottis. Moenig changed the barrel, the bore, the intonation and made the whole thing work. Hence the reputation. For many, it was always Moenig.
And after this period Selmer designed and produced the 10G, which Gigliotti played and was supposedly a perfect copy of his Buffet.
Currently Buffet  is an eroded reputation, an exploded price tag and total lack of quality control within the company which has been bought and sold into perpetuity.
My best advice is to keep the clarinet in pristine condition until you find someone who understands its provenance, and will very easily, give you a fair price. Provenance lasts and appreciates, clarinets as a rule, do not.
My sense of the value would be quite an amount, depending upon its current condition, or in any event.

Should you have to part with it, good luck.

best regards,
Sherman Friedland

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