Penzel-Mueller Brilliante

Thanks to Gary Kern for allowing me to review one of these at last! Gary says that this was the pro model, and the following pro model was named Super Brilliante.

1946 ad.

Serial  #M4748-B marked vertically, reading downward.
Barrel:  The intonation check below was with the longer barrel, which is 62.1mm. This came with a shorter barrel which is 59.2mm.
Bore LH joint top:  14.9mm, but I think the metal ring might obstruct a 15.0 wooden bore.
Bore LH joint at bottom:  14.6mm Again a metal ring might be slightly narrower than the wooden bore. But certainly this clarinet plays and measures as a poly-cylindrical bore. It show that people were experimenting with this before the major companies caught on.
Mouthpiece: This came with an excellent P-M mouthpiece, which has both the P-M name in a special white area, but also the name Geo Jenney. Who was he?! Here are answers from I found the mouthpiece to have excellent response and to be more open than my Chedeville Prime by quite a bit. More like a Portnoy 3 or a B45, I think. It is not excessively open, but beautifully free playing.

Years ago, I had heard from my teacher that Robert McGinnis, principal clarinetist of the NY Philharmonic (and Stanley Drucker's predecessor) , played on a George Jenney mouthpiece with a #5 reed. So, I infer that Jenney either made mouthpieces or had mouthpieces made for him. I know nothing of the quality,but there are enough stories about McGinnis to keep me from saying that George Jenney mouthpieces were the next best thing to sliced bread.

George Jenney worked for Penzel Mueller in Long island City at least through the late 1960s. He was a superb repairman and one of the best refacers in the NYC area during that time. Much of his work was done on the old H.Bettoney blanks. I purchased 2 H.Bettoney Eb mouthpieces from him in about 1966.........They are by far the best Eb mouthpieces I have ever played. I was playing clarinet and Eb in the original Fiddler on the Roof when I purchased them and they have been with me in pits, at the Metropolitan Opera and for countless free lance jobs..........I would not part with them.....George was a master.

In a book about Bonade, I cant remember the name of it, the author mentions that many of Bonades students took their mouthpieces to Jenny to be refaced. Bonade was not happy about this, so his students would bring their unaltered Bonades to lessons, and use the Jenny refaced mouthpieces outside of lessons.

Intonation results taken when playing loud and not lipping. See how to interpret these results on the Model Comparison Page.

For this test, I pulled around 1.4mm  at the barrel and 1mm  in the center for this horn.
High registerPitchLab with QwikTune
Throat tones

Penzel-Mueller Brilliante

Intonation summary: Really top notch. There are troubling areas. Like the lowness of the clarion D and corresponding low G. The C key pad is not too close. The hole might be undercut some.

Key work quality: Beautiful and unique looking silver plated keys. They are a bit delicate, but excellent quality. There is no chiseled out area under the right pinkie keys.

This clarinet is most appropriate for: An adult jazz player wanting to play on an open bore, vintage instrument. Perfect for jazz from the first half of the 20th century.

Phil's other Brilliante reconditioning:
#M4506-B, for Gregory Heimel, 16Feb2018 Excellent clarinet. Crack long ago banded on LH joint. Must have been well loved and used by a good player, or more than one good player.
Phil Pedler,
Feb 16, 2018, 5:52 PM
Phil Pedler,
Feb 16, 2018, 5:50 PM