Instruments

Exterior turning on a Grenser top joint

Exterior turning on a Grenser top joint

My instruments begin their life as billets of boxwood, grenadilla, and maple.  The billets are seasoned and aged appropriately without the use of kiln drying, then bored and turned on the lathe.  I use measurements of exemplary surviving original instruments whenever possible, though in the case of some makers such as Theodor Lotz, some creative math has to be employed.  Ferrules of ivory (or a synthetic replacement) are added when appropriate.

A. Grenser joints resting in oil before final reaming

A. Grenser joints resting in oil before final reaming

Following the initial boring and exterior turning, the wood is allowed to rest in an oil solution to stabilize the body of the instrument.  Depending on the amount of oil absorbed during the oiling process and subsequent finishing, the constriction of the bore is corrected with re-reaming and burnishing to ensure a smooth and consistent bore throughout the whole clarinet.  Tone holes, mounts for keys, and final adjustments are completed at this stage.  While the wood is resting, the keys are hand-hammered out of brass, fit to each part of the instrument, cleaned, and adjusted.  When the instrument is reassembled, final tuning takes place.

The instruments I build are based on the most common instrument schools required for the standard repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries.  Clarinets with 5 keys after the surviving Geneva Lotz Bb clarinet form the basis for my Viennese instruments, whereas numerous surviving instruments by August and Heinrich Grenser form the basis for copies of 19th century German clarinets with 5-12 keys.  Likewise, my basset horns are patterned after instruments by Viennese builder Raymund Griesbacher (virtually identical to those of Theodor Lotz) and Heinrich Grenser.  My basset clarinet is based on the 1794 “Riga Drawing” using extrapolated dimensions calculated using the Geneva Lotz as a starting point with additional considerations given to contemporary Viennese A clarinets.

"Denner" soprano chalumeau after exterior turning with interchangeable body joints for A415 and A430

"Denner" soprano chalumeau after exterior turning with interchangeable body joints for A415 and A430

                                                                                                                                                          The chalumeaux I build are modeled after the J.C. Denner tenor instrument and scaled up or down to form a complete consort of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass instruments.  While clarinets are generally made of boxwood, the chalumeaux can be made of a variety of hardwoods including grenadilla, various rosewoods, and pear wood in addition to the traditional boxwood.  I am currently in the design stages of a “basson de chalumeau” instrument based on a surviving example in Salzburg.  Baroque clarinets in C and D are modeled after surviving originals by J.C. Denner.  The standard design is based on the 2-keyed Denner clarinet in the Berlin Musikinstrumentenmuseum, though a 3-key extension can be built for use in more technical later repertoire such as the six Molter Concerti.

 

My mouthpieces are made of grenadilla (African blackwood) and can be made to fit any type of clarinet and pitch within reason.  They are based on careful measurements of surviving original mouthpieces, while accounting for warping, numerous re-facings, and bore modifications that have occurred over time in many instruments. 

Please contact me at lotzofgrenser@gmail.com to discuss your historical clarinet requirements.

While I perform on replica instruments, I also maintain a collection of original instruments, which I use for the music of the 19th century, most recently that of Brahms, Mahler, and Strauss.