Vol. 1, No. 47

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| Contrabass-L: a list for discussion of contrabass *anything*|
|To subscribe, email gdgreen@crl.com with "subscribe contrabass"|
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Vol. 1, No. 47

11 October 1996

Author: Grant Green <gdgreen@crl.com> at SMTP
Date: 10/10/96 8:47 AM
TO: Francis Firth <Francis.Firth@uce.ac.uk> at SMTP
Subject: Re: Leblanc Letter - translation

At 09:43 AM 10/9/96 BST, you wrote:

>sorry - I assumed that you would be able to read French. here is a

>if you could ley me have the comments by return I could try to post the

>letter today (Wednesday). Otherwise I am not at work again before Monday

>(I'm going to London to hear the UK premiere of Berio's Sequenza XII for

>unaccompanied bassoon).




>Dear Mr Dehedin,

>I wrote to you about a year ago on the subject of octocontralto and

>octocontrabass clarinets.

>I have discovered via the Internet that there are a number of others

>interested in these clarinets and I am writing now on my own and on their


>It has been suggested that it would be a good idea if Leblanc were to make a

>recording of these instruments before they are lost, irreperably damaged or

>become museum pieces.

>The suggestion is that this recording could be part of a publicity CD (or

>2) for Leblanc: a recording which would demonstrate in sound the full range

>of Leblanc clarinets. It might also serve as an appropriate tribute to Leon

>Leblanc for his 95th birthday. It might also be a collaboration between

>Leblanc, La Couture Boussey and Leblanc, Kenosha.

>As a result of my investigations I have discovered that there compositions

>for the octocontralto and octocontrabass clarinets by the clarinettist and

>composer Terje Lerstad who visited Leblanc around 20 years ago and who

>played these instruments during his visit.

>The pieces are:


>Several of those interested in the project are clarinettists and would be

>happy to play in the recording but as most of them are American they would

>be probably only be able to play in the U.S.A., at Kenosha, perhaps.

>Naturally we are prepared to make a small financial contribution to this

>enterprise and would buy the recording. However, we consider that this

>project would represent a sound marketing investment for Leblanc and one

>which we are sure would be of interest to all clarinettists and libraries.
>I enclose with this letter suggestions for compositions for each clarinet
>that might be recorded.
>I look forward to hearing from you.
>. . .

Sorry, my second language was German.

The letter looks great. The only thing I would change would be to say that we would buy copies of the recording, so that there is no misunderstanding that Leblanc would own the rights to the master recording, etc.

Good job!


Grant Green
Just filling in on sarrusophone.......

Author: Jeff Sharp <kyrie@telepath.com>
Date: 10/8/96 6:45 PM
Subject: The Mystery Reed strikes again

Grant & Contrabass-L Subscribers,

I think everyone's ideas about making a CD are so cool! I hope that this thing goes through, and that I will be able to purchase a copy. Kudos to a great idea from a great group. :)

Meanwhile, my Great Quest <g> for a contralto clarinet reed has not turned up any leads. (See earlier C-L issues) If anyone can answer the following questions, I would be very grateful: What brand of reed will work on a Selmer C* contralto mouthpiece, and from may I order them?

Thanx for your help


Jeff Sharp

Author: Peter Koval <pkoval@sundance.usd.edu>
Date: 10/8/96 6:45 PM
Subject: Contrabass-L No. 46

Please send me this again. It disappeared as I was reading it!

By the way, my contrabass saxophone is an Orsi, that I ordered direct from the factory in Milan in the early 1980s. My main complaint is that it is so unwieldy, and the instrument requires frequent adjustment of the mechanism (lots of adjusting screws are provided) to make sure that all the key combinations close together. It does have a sound of awesome power, however, in the low register, more cutting than a tuba, whilst the pizzicato is very, very delicate.

Overall, I wish that the instrument was folded in the same manner as the contrabass sarrusophone, which was Sax's original intention (as illustrated in the 1846 French patent).

Regards, Peter Koval

Yes, the patent drawings show a very ophicleide-shaped instrument, well-folded with an upward-pointing bell, along with instruments in the shape we now immediately recognize as saxophone. There's a web link somewhere that includes several articles by Paul Cohen and Sigurd Rasher, including some on the history of Adolphe Sax and his creations. Sax was also instrumental <g> in the design of the modern bass clarinet, which up to that point had been considered a rather unsatisfactory instrument.

What I wonder is "How different would it sound if coiled like an ophicleide?" Given the difference between the sound in curved and straight sopranos (even changing from a straight neck to a curved neck alters the timbre noticably), I suspect the horn would sound different. Perhaps it would have less "edge"?


And on the double reed front, the latest addition to the collection arrived today. This afternoon, an enormous box containing the contra ad anche from Paul Cohen appeared in the company's shipping/receiving department. They didn't know what to do with it.

It arrived with a bit of damage: the RH hook (crutch/support/grip/whatever) was a bit pushed in, and the tone hole adjacent needs resoldering. Otherwise, looks pretty good. The horn is brass, roughly sarrusophone-like in shape, with a bell the size of a bass sax bell. Our resident bassoonists may be interested to hear that it has a lot of thumb keys (brief look, but I think it was 4-5 for each thumb, including two octave keys).

Time to run: more later


End Contrabass-L No. 47

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