Anton Stadler’s clarinet

10th August 2010 | Concerts, Inspirations, Travel | 2 comments

Cerne Abbas festivalThe final concert of the Gaudier Ensemble’s Cerne Abbas Music Festival, in which I took part, featured one of my favourite pieces of chamber music, the Clarinet Quintet of Mozart. There was a surprise this time. Clarinettist Richard Hosford has an instrument which he recently had re-built to emulate the clarinet of Anton Stadler, whose playing inspired Mozart to compose the quintet. With the help of a wind instrument maker of the day, Stadler had modified his clarinet, extending the length by several inches in order to add a few more notes at the bottom of the range. Nobody seems to know for sure, but there are passages in the Mozart quintet which probably incorporated longer runs and arpeggios than are possible on the ordinary clarinet. Richard Hosford played them on his ‘basset clarinet’ and we heard some deep bass notes we’d never heard before. It was startling because of the way these deep notes combined with the chords of the string players to produce new voicings. In the photo Richard is holding the modified ‘Stadler’ clarinet.


  1. Nicholas Bathurst

    The Mozart was superb, low notes and all. My daughter (Beth) is planning to play it next term at university and found it an inspirational performance. For both of us the combination of the Mozart and the Schumann piano quintet made the last concert of a great festival particularly enjoyable. The whole weekend was a triumph for the Gaudier. Can’t wait for next year.

  2. Gretchen Saathoff

    Hi Susan,

    I wish I’d been there!

    This sound fascinating, and must have been a major undertaking for Richard Hosford.

    I’m curious about your use of the word “startling.” Did you mean startling in a positive way, or did you not like it? Were you uncomfortable?

    Also, I’m wondering whether you had rehearsal time with the altered clarinet.

    If you’d rather not answer these questions here, please send me an email!

    Thank you!



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