Reading the latest news from the rubber world, we are told of the new Flagship Model of the Lyrique Clarinet, the Libertas, (with a bouncy rubber second syllable), and little else to distinguish it from the rest of the Chinese menu. Let’s see, pick one from column 1, and one from column 2, is what one is usually asked , and you get to choose either hot and sour or perhaps won-ton soup, a couple of rubbery egg rolls, and maybe some orange slices for dessert, oolong tea being an extra and served in a miniscule cup.
The whole thing will cost you but a fraction of the price of the French-fried version, if you don’t count the gaviscom. It is the best deal in the business and it has been since its inception.
There seem to be little or no difference between this new example of falling trill keys than the other falling trill keys. But, for a special feature, consider no serial number, which are placed only after careful matching has been facilitated. And the numbers are put on by hand, after scrupulous selection of matching hard rubbers. (Please, get serious)
Hard rubber, ebonite, happens to be a material famous for total consistency, if one believes the classy video , which is absolutely a true copy of the same description of the Allora, or the Lyrique, or any of the several different monickers these horns have been called. And it is quite common to call a clarinet a horn, perfectly proper, especially when speaking with others who play the same clarinet , or horn.
Without having one to try, one can say with total honesty, it has to be as close to any Lyrique clarinet as is possible.
The designer himself, told me that very little is changed to any clarinet from year to year, save maybe a piece of shiny metal, sloppily affixed to a chosen place on the first joint.
The hottest hood ornament for a clarinet actually came out with the Opus and Concerto models from Leblanc, an actually well-designed metal inlay. These actually had a bit of class, as did the horns themselves.
The rest of the markings on most clarinets are etched in and filled in with gold powder, which wears away with the years. If you were to actually apply the gold again, perhaps to make the clarinet look almost new, it always fails, looks messy and usually smears and adhers to the wood itself.
This Libertas has the usual adjustable thumb rest, which becomes more uncomfortable with each playing as you attempt to change the position of your thumb in relation to the clarinet. Changing the adjustment only works for a short time, as the thumb rest is too narrow.
If you really are an obsessive clarinetist, you will need to learn more about the thumb, thumb rests in general, and the best place for the thumb to hold the instrument. (Actually, Mr Ridenour makes the best thumb rest, “the thumb saddle”, and he told me himself, that “the thing is to change the position “, to anyplace else) I have several dozen, one for each thumb. I also have several neck straps, none of which work well, as well as the best way to play comfortably, which follows.
An uncomfortable thumb rest is a slippery slope which can ruin your playing by destroying your comfort, pleasure in playing music and holding the clarinet on this weakest point on the thumb. A properly shaped thumb rest has to wide enough to cushion as much of the thumb as is possible and then allow for moving from a (so-called) normal position. This normal position cannot be decided upon by designers, or is not considered important. The best one I have is the one on my Amati C clarinet. It really should be copied by other makers, or designers
However, by looking carefully, one can find many clarinetists who have experienced discomfort and have changed to a thumb rest which changes the support of the thumb from the weakest part , (the tip of the thumb) to the strongest, a distance of an inch or so, which immediately alleviates all such difficulties.
This so-called new model also presents a choice between a regularly shaped register key and the one I call nuts or ergonomic, (which means nothing).
Back to this many splendored hard rubber clarinet, it is the best tuned, most equally timbred instrument on the market and still costs very little. It is the best buy for the money and for the sound, without question. It also blends with chamber music as well as any instrument I have ever played.William Ridenour is the clarinet saver, and savior of the business. W hy? Because he can truly hear and his fingers know where to walk with his ears on the horn.
I understand they are going like hot cakes.
Great. Perhaps some day.
The thumb rest which will give you true comfort is made by Ton Koimann, and the cheap one is about 30 bucks. Others are much more, but have many different adjustments, making a lot of sense in this crazy crazy world of neurotics. It usually freaks one out when first seen, but feels so good if you use just one screw.
Stay well, and learn all Ravel.
Remember, if you buy your prodigy a horn from France, he or she will have given up the horn by the time you get through paying for it.(or switched to making a living.)
Also, sir, there will always be wooden flutes, they will never become extinct, nor will that thing you pay 5 grand for.