When Engelbert Brenner passed away in 1986, his family made me the recipient of his entire “musical estate”. I own and cherish Mr Brenner’s Loree oboe & English horn which he played daily in the New York Philharmonic. These instruments are probably about 50 years old, but still play beautifully – especially the English horn. It is truly magical.
I also own, and use, all of Brenner’s reed making tools. There are hand-crafted knives, scores of mandrels, shaper tips, files, plaques, bocals, and calipers. I remember some of the word-of-mouth stories behind some of this equipment. I remember names like Wally Bhosys & A. Wales made some of these tools for him, but the piece of equipment that really stands out as being unique are the oboe & English horn gouging machines. They look like no other gougers I have ever seen. These gougers are made of (I guess) nickel, stand on their own little ornate legs, and are of significant weight. These gougers were hand-made for Brenner by none other than Mitch Miller’s father, who was a machinist. Mitch Miller, known for “Sing Along With Mitch” from the 50s was a classically-trained musician – an oboist, and reportedly a good one. I do not know how many gouging machines he made, or when they were manufactured. If anyone has any information about Mr. Miller’s gougers, I’d love to learn more.