Riddle: Older is not better, it is older. But one can feel as young again, given the right clarinet.
It is Monday July 18, 2011 and this is our sons 43rd birthday.
I just had a strange experience, one of surprise.
I received the new Lyrique G1 clarinet a few days ago and was pleased and surprised. I have been playing it for several days and I have found it very familiar to play, gratifying as well.
I just set it down to get up for a few minutes to answer a phone call. It was difficult for me to get up, for I have had a ruptured qadriceps for several years, which was repaired, but too late and badly on a leg that was not terribly great to begin with , because of childhood polio.
But wait, this is not a request for a donation, but a report of my elation. The reason it was difficult to arise is because that is the norm of my life now.No big deal. Lots of people have things with which to deal. I am surprised because it was a surprise to get up after playing a clarinet that made me feel young again, with all the prowess of an accomplished youngster.
I had just played some of my favorite melodies from both the orchestral and chamber music repertoire: Brahms 3rd, (slow movement), Eb Sonata (opening), Egmont, (the clarinet solo) the opening of the Hindemith Woodwind Quintet, and the clarinet solo in the second movement. These were melodies that I have not played for years, but will remain within my memory for as long as I am here.
They all have large intervals which must be played easily, or must sound easily played. Usually, there is a bump or a grind here or there, until you’ve got them under your fingers again and in the mind of your embouchure.
What was different is,that after playing them and experiencing real fun, I had stopped to get up, and found myself again, an old man.
It was a surprise, a big surprise, because for a while I was again a youngster, awaiting my turn in an audition, one which I would win, hands down.
That is the best way I can explain this clarinet. A little more specificity: intervals, large ones, either up or down play with the surety of total control.
More specificity: the thumb rest, which is truly adjustable is easy to change and gave me the best feeling I have had for many years. Not a problem found anywhere in the right hand. It is wider than the usual and works best with my adjustment high. But no further adjustment is necessary.
Continuing, the clarion register almost plays by itself, the legato which must be present in the Ravel “Bolero”, seems built in.
All the while I had my tuner in front of me. For those of you who do this, you know that one can put any note anywhere if you feel either high or low to the tuner. You also know that one doesn’t tarry trying to tune a note, (as there is always a variance one can meet in several different ways) one gets the actual pitch. I found no variance whatever, the clarinet being fine right out of the case. Just playing or with the tuner. It is reminiscent of my Opus Bb of my set,with a more immediate response.
It is not necessary to give one a chart with small deviances , as each of us plays differently and even hears differently. This clarinet, I would play tonight anywhere.I know the tuning is well within my capability. I play everything on the longer of the two supplied barrels.
One first notices the comfort of the key table. The key work of the Lyrique G-1 is perfect, there seems a personal quality in the way the keys are set. The plating is a pleasure under the fingers, very substantially made.
Most importantly is the response of the clarinet, made from grenadilla wood, rather then hard rubber. The Lyrique clarinet of hard rubber has the same ease of production, however the response of this clarinet is far superior. There is a solidity of response, (or sound, one may say) that while expressing every nuance of dynamic production, does so with a security that one knows will be heard.
Staccato throughout the instrument is even , as it is in legato.
I put my mouthpiece into the nice looking brown case with the brass hardware. I have a concert of Chamber Music I am playing on the 31st of July.
I will be playing it on the Lyrique G1 clarinet, with the pleasure of a young man….one with a bad leg.