Ward & Winterbourn, Peter Eaton, E Flat Clarinet
This is an ultra rare Ward & Winterbourn Eb clarinet, which was heavily customised by Peter Eaton. Apparently Eaton worked on only 2 such instruments, the other, was for his wife, Joanna Estall. This clarinet has to date only had one owner, it was played professionally for many years in the orchestra of ENO, by Hale Hambleton & is a veteran of most of the big Eb parts in the Strauss Operas. The instrument is a commission sale for Clarinets Direct.
The changes to the usual Ward & Winterbourn design are extensive. The clarinet has a reverse flare at the top of the upper part of the bore, this is common to Peter Eatons other clarinet designs. The instrument has been shortened, a step to the middle of the bore corrects intonation faults in the middle of the range, & individual tone holes have been adjusted. The Ward & Winterbourn Eb clarinet was supplied with a m'piece made by Eaton, and that is the case here, but the tenon length is unique to this clarinet. The clarinet plays with a warmth and evenness not usually found on mass produced Eb clarinets by other manufacturers. There are no less than 3 further custom made, shorter barrels, with reverse taper bores, which measure 38.0mm, 39.0mm & 39.5mm. The original barrel measures 44.0mm.
The clarinet has wood and silver plating in excellent condition. The serial number is 022. The pads, are Gordon Beeson tan leather examples in excellent condition, as is the original case.