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"Beethoven & Berlioz, Paris & Vienna:
Musical Treasures from the Age of Revolution & Romance
Clarinet in A by August Grenser, Dresden, 1785
NMM 7385. Clarinet in A by August Grenser, Dresden, 1785. Four sections. Boxwood, horn ferrules. Five brass keys (four original, plus added f-sharp/c-sharp'' key) with flat, square key covers; mounted in square rings. Doubled holes on upper joint third tone hole for c' to c-sharp' and lower joint fourth tone hole for f to f-sharp.
This is the only dated clarinet in A by Grenser known to survive. It has the one-piece bell and bottom joint typical of the earliest clarinets, and was originally a four-keyed instrument, typical of early clarinets, which were just becoming a mainstream instrument. The addition of the fifth key probably took place soon after the clarinet was built. Purchase funds gift of Tom and Cindy Lillibridge, Bonesteel, South Dakota, 1999.
August Grenser was one of the great woodwind makers of the time (and the uncle of Heinrich Grenser, who was also his son-in-law and took over his shop, when he retired in 1796). Born in 1720, August opened his shop in Dresden in 1744, the first in a long line of esteemed woodwind makers who worked in the capital city of Saxony on the Elbe River. His flutes and bassoons were among the best in Europe.
Source: André P. Larson, Beethoven & Berlioz, Paris & Vienna: Musical Treasures from the Age of Revolution & Romance 1789-1848, with essay by John Koster, exhibition catalog, Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, September 12-November 2, 2003 (Vermillion: National Music Museum 2003), p. 45.