Trotts / Leon Trotts

Thanks to Mike Tafoya who gave me this clarinet, so that I could get it into the hands of a young player. And I have a band director in Mobile, Alabama, who has a student needing it.

[A little false history first!]Leon Trotsky was a Russian revolutionist. His real name was Lev Davidovich Bronstein. At the height of his power, Trotsky was a leader in the Politburo and Commissars of Military and Naval Affairs. But things didn’t go so well for him in opposing Stalin. He was assassinated in Mexico City in 1940. Surely it is an oversight that the Wikipedia article about him fails to mention about his playing the clarinet! I'm sure his musical friends would have called him Trotts.

Aww, come on now! Surely his biographers should mention that he had a line of clarinets made by the Couesnon factory in France!

The trail on other men going by the name of Leon Trotts has gone cold. If you search on that name, Clarinetpages will be in the top page of results!

[Update Nov2018] Ah, but I was so wrong in the above! It turns out that the forum has a thread about Leon Trotte. It isn't Trotts, with an s! And the Léon Trotte marked on the barrel of that horn confirms that the last letter is e, not s. The clarinet in question had marks the one I reviewed did not to have. In addition to the name, the clarinet was also stamped ‘Mantes, Paris’. The one I reviewed is only stamped ‘Made in France’ on the bell.

Quoting from that thread:

Leon Trotte was an actual person, and was president of L'Harmonie de Mantes-La-Ville (later to become Ensemble Orchestral De Mantes-La-Ville) from 1956 - 1983.

Mantes-La-Ville is home to Buffet Crampon, Selmer and used to have Dolnet and Beaugnier saxophones.

Thanks to Carmen Kearley for setting me straight. Ah, but my first story was so much fun! I am doubly embarrassed by Carmen's information. I happen to own the forum where Carmen found the correct information! And the forum members also corrected me here!

Serial #160 (very low!)

Barrel: 64.1mm

Bore LH joint top: 14.8mm

Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.75mm

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 2 mm at the barrel, and 2 mm at the center tenon.

Intonation summary: Wow, this is as sharp as an ice axe! This can be used for a beginner. Using a longer barrel or tuning rings to extend the length would help.

Key work quality: Just like all Couesnon clarinets. A young student who uses this should be the kind of person who was careful with his toys. The keys should hold up fine, but they are not like modern student clarinets. [The clarinet shown in the forum does seem to be a Thibouville. For this one, I'm not sure.]

This clarinet is most appropriate for: a beginner who wants an interesting and rare vintage clarinet.

Condition issues noted: 3 cm crack repaired on the bell.

Previous pictures: