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MATCHED PAIR OF J HAMMERSCHMIDT CLARINETS, 2545

These are a rare and unique pair of J Hammerschmidt & Sohne clarinets. These instruments have an excellent Provenance, having been owned and customised by the late John [Jack] McCaw. John was a leading exponent of the "English" school of clarinet playing, notable for his exceptional tone, and expression. He started his long career as Principal Clarinet of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra and became their Principal Clarinet, before leaving to join the New Philharmonia [later the Philharmonia] as Principal Clarinet, a post he retired from in 1989. As those fortunate enough to study with him well remember, John was always concerned that a clarinet be tuned as accurately as possible.
These instruments have been much customised. What follows is an accurate a description as can be managed without actually having a detailed schedule of work from Jack. Nearly every tone hole has been partly filled with shellac, and, in most cases, further undercutting has been done. The bore has been reduced in the area of the bottom of the lower upper joint, in order to correct the tuning of C#/G#. In addition the C#/G# hole on the A has been metal sleeved, to stop water collecting in this hole. The flare at the bottom of the lower joint has also been reduced to aid in tuning the lowest pitches. The length of the lower joint of the A clarinet has been increased by some 3mm by means of a wooden insert and lengthened tenon ring, see photo 7.
The Bb has matching serial nos. 1201. The wood is in good condition throughout, for an instrument which dates to the late 1930's, and has seen such heavy use. However there is a tight hairline crack to the top of the lower joint, it does not go through to the bore or near a tone hole. The bell has also cracked, which we have repaired and sealed, it is not original but is stamped, "Hoehring Leipzig". In addition to the makers stamp the instruments are stamped "Pro Arte Musica", which could be the stamp of the original New Zealand dealer or importer. The German Silver key work is in very good condition, with no discernable wear. The instrument has just had an overhaul in our workshop in Pisoni Premium Deluxe tan leather pads, and is sold with our full warranty.
The A has matching serial nos. 1202. The wood is in good condition throughout, with no cracks or damage. The German Silver key work is in very good condition. The instrument has just had an overhaul in our workshop in Pisoni Premium Deluxe tan leather pads, and is sold with our full warranty.
The supplied m'piecec is a used B&H 926 No.2 which of similar type to the m'piece John McCaw used with the pair. The case is a modern Yamaha in good used condition. These instruments were used by John in his exemplary recording of the Holbrooke Quintet with the Delme String Quartet, issued by Blenheim records.