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.
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!
Saturday, August 4, 2012
|Trying out the new Walter Grabner Mouthpiece. They're fantastic. I bought one!|
|Walter Grabner mouthpieces|
|Trying out Rossi clarinets.|
|Trying out Backun barrels.|
|Backun barrels -- so pretty!|
Clarinetfest 2012. By the time we got checked in, registration had closed five minutes early, so we couldn't pick up our registration materials and schedule. Lincoln is such a tiny city! It seems more like a suburb than a city. Wednesday night, we watched a bass clarinet performance by Michael Lowenstern. It was very interesting. He used a looper and other fancy tech equipment in his performance. The most striking thing he used during the performance was a instrument called an EWI. It is a really crazy electric woodwind instrument. It is straight like a soprano sax and played in front of the body where it is held on a neck strap. It makes a really odd electronic sound. I didn't love it, but Mr. Lowenstern played it well. I found his bass clarinet playing to be a little more to my liking, but he was able to achieve a sound that is very similar to the sound most people would expect from a saxophone. I think it is exactly what contemporary bass clarinet performance probably should sound like, and he was very good, but I kind of love the more traditional music. This wasn't my kind of music, but Mr. Lowenstern was very good at it and he had a really nice stage presence. He was quite funny and enjoyable to watch. I did like a composition he premiered called "10 Children's Pieces. I thought the Lullaby movement quite beautiful.