Attendees at the first ever Ulster ClariNetwork symposium were treated to a talk on the historical clarinet by my friend and colleague, Sarah Smith. I have always had a fascination for/been curious about historical instruments and period performance etc, however it isn't something I studied at college, and as it's a rather 'niche' area I've always just tinkered away quietly. I am lucky enough to have a number of early/historical instruments which are in playing condition but until recently I hadn't even played them all...
My 5-keyed boxwood C clarinet was a wedding present from my husband - almost 14 years ago now! Unfortunately the C clarinet mouthpiece I have didn't fit it, and (duh!) I didn't even consider putting an Eb mouthpiece on it - I suppose when you don't even know what the 'rules' are it's easy to think you're not 'allowed' to break them! Who know I could be so well behaved?
Happily Sarah told me to just bung it on and make up the fingerings - so I have! What a lovely clarinet it turned out to be :) I'm delighted to be able to play it and am now looking forward to some duets with Sarah!
The last year has not been kind to musicians, but if there are some silver linings, its the beginning of new creative connections such as this.