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Clarinets Direct is fortunate to be able to offer to the market these rare and completely unique instruments. Jacques Albert Fils was the last, and most successful member of the legendary Albert family of makers, considered the finest makers in the World during the inter-war years. This pair has an amazing Provenance, some of which is known to us: Owned by the late John McCaw [ Principal Clarinet of the LPO and later the Philharmonia Orchestra] as an enhanced Boehm pair of Jacques Albert Fils clarinets, they were sold to Paul Allen [English National Ballet] in the 1970's. Paul was studying with Stephen Trier [Bass Clarinet of the LPO & Professor at the RCM], who then subsequently bought this pair, and had them modified by the legendary Edward [Ted] Planas into Basset clarinets. Ted was responsible for many Basset extensions, and indeed, gifted his design of Basset extension to Selmer Paris. Stephen used the Bb for the Bb Basset obbligato in "Titus" from "Idomeneo" at Glyndebourne, and the A was used for Mozart's Quintet and Concerto. Lastly the pair have been owned by myself for the last 10 years and used for the Mozart Quintet and Concerto.
The quality of work and finish of these instruments is unsurpassed. There are 3 touchpieces, in the manner of an Uebel Basset Horn, for the lowest 3 pitches, D, C#, and C, see photo 11. In addition the clarinets feature articulated C#/G#, fork Eb/Bb and LH Ab/Eb. The initials SLT have been stamped into the bottom of both lower joint extensions.
The Bb has serial number 3025, and had a crack repair to the upper joint when the instrument was extended to a Basset by Ted Planas. There are several pins, and the crack, which is beneath the register key, has been completely stable for over 30 years of use. It does not go through to the bore. The pads are a mainly tan leather, though there are a couple in cork and fish skin, all are sealing well. The German Silver key work is immensely strong, and in good regulation throughout.
The A has serial number 3030, and like the Bb has pads are a mainly tan leather, again there are a couple in cork and fish skin, all are sealing well. The German Silver key work is in good regulation throughout. Ted made a new bell for use with both clarinets, which has a floor peg attachment fitted. The pair can also be played with a sling, hooks are integral to the thumb rests. This new bell adds depth & resonance, there is a small tight surface crack to the bell, which I have left alone: It has absolutely no effect on the response. In addition the original Bb bell is included. The instruments tune well with all standard French bore mouthpieces. I have found a Pillinger F1 works well for me, and a mint condition example is included. I also found the tuning improved with Selmer barrels. There are no less than 4 different barrels provided, of which two are original, the lengths are 57mm, 60mm, 62.5mm and 64mm.