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Orsi Combination Bb/A Clarinet I now own!

TrueTone

College Student who likes wind instruments & music
So I was given 4 clarinets and an old copy of some stuff by Cavallini this Wednesday. The 4 clarinets were as follows: a Thibouville stencil C Albert system, a Conn 6N Albert system in C, an unknown manufacturer Bb Albert system that I think is probably also a Thibouville, and uhhh...
This thing.
Orsi 1.jpg

Orsi 2.jpg

Orsi 3.jpg

(These are photos I took yesterday, I will take some better ones tomorrow or later tonight! Also sorry for two of them being upside down, I don't feel like fixing that right now.)

So it's a clarinet made in the 1880s by Maino e Orsi of Milano, and is designed to play in both Bb and A, via means of a telescoping tube inside of the bore!
Link to the patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/US403065?oq=Orsi,+romeo
It's first patented in 1881 in Italy, but I can't find anything on it specifically saying "Brevetta" or something like that, so I'm just guessing 1880s.
Unfortunately, however-it's been cracked some. Most notably through the middle of the serial, so I can't say what the second and third digits of the serial are, because of glue that someone put over the crack. The others 2 wood ones have cracks (most notably the JTL through the barrel, which has been wrapped completely in what looks like leather in an attempt to keep it from leaking.)

All four of them are really cool, though! I'll take more pictures some time in the next few days. They stink horribly of cigarette smoke, though I'm trying to air them out in my sunroom while I'm at home on break.
 

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
What did you get from Cavallini? A lot of that stuff is out of print. I'm currently scanning volume 1 of the caprices for sax / oboe for a gentleman in Italy.
 

TrueTone

College Student who likes wind instruments & music
What did you get from Cavallini? A lot of that stuff is out of print. I'm currently scanning volume 1 of the caprices for sax / oboe for a gentleman in Italy.
The clarinet 1 part for 6 Grand Duets! No sign of the second part, unfortunately, but there were a lot of old manuscripts of things the guy's grandfather (original owner of three of these. The Orsi was his great-grandfather's!) wrote! Mainly waltzes, polkas, marches, etc! Some of it looked like nice stuff, but a lot of it was just a melody line written out. He also had a giant box filled with old band folders with some early 1900s compositions for band! It was mostly marches, for a band with parts for: Db Piccolo, Oboe, Bassoon, Eb Clar, Solo Clar, 2 each of 1st through 3rd clarinets, SATB Saxes, Solo Cornet, 2 each of 1st-3rd Cornet/Trumpet, 2 Each of Treble and Bass Clef Tbns 1-3, Treble and Bass Clef Euph, treble and bass clef Tuba, and I think 2 percussion parts! Not sure on the number of perc parts but that seems correct. Going to look into what should be done with all of that music, so I told him to keep it, at least for the time being-might be a good idea to send some of it out to a publisher if it's all good stuff. Otherwise scanning it all might be a good idea.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Cool horn!

First, I wonder if the horn's high or low pitch. Second, I wonder, no matter the intonation standard, how well in tune it plays for A and Bb. I'd think it wouldn't play that great: you're definitely increasing the distance between some of the tone holes, but not all of them, so you're not fixing all the problems.

RE: Cavallini, I did a quick Google and found this. Hmmm. I try to stand far, far away from 32nd notes.

saxhound, there's an awful lot of old sheet music online. Here's the entire 30 Caprices. 1945 reprint. There's a version for sale on Amazon with a couple CDs for $29, too.
 

TrueTone

College Student who likes wind instruments & music
Cool horn!

First, I wonder if the horn's high or low pitch. Second, I wonder, no matter the intonation standard, how well in tune it plays for A and Bb. I'd think it wouldn't play that great: you're definitely increasing the distance between some of the tone holes, but not all of them, so you're not fixing all the problems.

RE: Cavallini, I did a quick Google and found this. Hmmm. I try to stand far, far away from 32nd notes.

saxhound, there's an awful lot of old sheet music online. Here's the entire 30 Caprices. 1945 reprint. There's a version for sale on Amazon with a couple CDs for $29, too.
I'm 99% sure I remember this being shorter when I held it up to my Selmer Series 9 Bb, so probably HP. It has a slightly larger mpc tenon than my Selmers, too, so it's a tad annoying to wrap paper around it each time I want to attempt to get a sound out of it. (it's leaking like a sieve, plus there's a crack on the upper joint that goes through the post for the lowest rh side key, so the Bb/Eb key is a bit wobbly. If I don't hit that one, press the C#/G# key closed, and try playing it, I can get it down to A below the staff at least!

Regardless of pitching standards, it's a really cool horn though! I'd HOPE that at least the Bb side is pretty in tune, no idea about how well the A works acoustically.

Edit: As an additional thought to this, I'm curious if someone in history had a similar idea to this patent, but for Bb LP and Bb HP instead? It probably also wouldn't work that well, but would at least be the most feasible version of this, assuming they went with the A. Buffet and Orsi ideas of using a telescoping tube within the bore of the instrument to lengthen/shorten the instrument.
 
Last edited:

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Yes, Cavallini did like his 32nd notes, even in 6/8
RE: Cavallini, I did a quick Google and found this. Hmmm. I try to stand far, far away from 32nd notes.

saxhound, there's an awful lot of old sheet music online. Here's the entire 30 Caprices. 1945 reprint. There's a version for sale on Amazon with a couple CDs for $29, too.
. Those exercises will kick your butt. I do have the 30 Caprices for Clarinet. The transcribed ones for sax / oboe don't seem to be available anywhere.
 
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