Clarinet in Bb by Georg Ottensteiner (ca. 1860-1879)
Georg Ottensteiner trained initially in Bamberg at the K.F. Adler firm, then continued his studies in Paris before returning to Germany. He completed his training and initially built instruments in Füssen before settling in Munich in 1851. He received a Royal Privilege in 1852 and exhibited his first Baermann-System clarinet in 1852. The design was patented in 1860, followed in 1869 by a bass clarinet with the same key mechanism. Ottensteiner's Baermann-System instruments represent the highest level of acoustic and key design at the time and were perhaps most famously played by Richard Mühlfeld for the majority of his career as both principal clarinetist of the Meiningen Court Orchestra and as Brahms' collaborator. Ottensteiner continued to build instruments in Munich until his death in 1879, at which point his workshop passed through the hands of numerous apprentices, finally ending production in 1930 under the name of Joseph Pöschl.
Key: Bb (Pitch A438-440)
Material: Boxwood (stained), Nickel-Silver
Key Mechanism: Full Baermann, the thumb key posts are in place, but the key has been removed
This instrument is remarkably well-preserved requiring minimal restoration in order to play. There were several small cracks in the barrel including two diametrically opposed cracks that did not go through the bore that had been glued and filled. Likewise, a crack in the bell had been glued similarly. The keywork is in good condition with LH 2 having been repaired by a previous owner. It is worth examining RH 2 for the metal bushing that has been added both as a structural component and to improve the intonation of the cross fingering for low Bb (F always tunes more accurately than Bb for this cross fingering). The bore shows minimal signs of compression in the top tenon, but largely conforms to the original bore dimensions as noted in measurements of the Mühlfeld instruments. As with many full Baermann-System instruments, the thumb key for the right hand has been removed.