Saturday, August 4, 2012

Clarinetfest 2012: Introducing the Buffet Divine!

My first look at the Buffet Divine was at the Buffet booth at the 2012 ICA Clarinetfest.  It was displayed under glass, like it was the Hope Diamond at the National Museum.  Buffet is one of the most respected clarinet manufacturers in the world, and their release of a new clarinet is a really big deal.

The Divine was not available to try out until the next day, not until Marc Nuccio, the Principal Clarinet of the New York Philharmonic, showcased it in a small concert at the Buffet reception later that evening.  I couldn't wait to try one out the next day.

Thursday evening we attended the Buffet reception to hear the new clarinet.  Marc Nuccio arrived and it was soon going to be time to hear the new clarinet.  He was dressed in a sleek black italian suit, with a black nike turtleneck, looking every bit the elegant New York musician, and resembling the sleek black lines of the new clarinet he was going to play for us.

He stepped up to the music stand, nodded to the pianist, and launched into a beautiful performance of Chausson's Andante and Allegro.  It sounded wonderful, sleek, smooth, and beautiful, and Mr. Nuccio's performance was sublime.  The thing is, I think that Marc Nuccio playing a hollowed out carrot with a clarinet mouthpiece would sound incredible.  The real test would be to hear how regular people sounded on it, to hear how I would sound playing it.

On Friday, the time had come for me to try out the new Buffet.  It was really exciting to have the opportunity to try a new Buffet that was just introduced.  I tried it.  I cannot give a quite accurate report on the instrument, because I wasn't used to the extra left hand pinkie key -- just like the one on the Tosca, but here are my initial thoughts.  It has a smooth tone, which I noticed while playing scale passages.  The Divine makes all of the notes connect better while also making it easier for the notes not to get muddled.  The sound was very clear and focused.  The instrument was well tuned across all three registers.  Another bonus is that the instrument is significantly lighter in weight than the Tosca, which will be very helpful to those who don't use neck straps.

The last think that struck me was the tone.  The focused sound was beautiful and didn't spread even when I played higher and louder.  It's a great instrument.  I just wish I could afford one!

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