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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000075.txt from 1993/12

From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: Ron Monson's comments on the C clarinet
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1993 22:30:25 -0500

Ron Monson asks a very important question relative to the use of
the C clarinet. (Actually, his question is really much more broad
and has to do with the composer's request vs. the clarinetists
wishes, but I'll keep it simple.)

He asks if the Schubert Octet calls for a C clarinet for any
special reason? Did Schubert really want a C clarinet or did
he request that instrument for some other specific reasons (or
was there really no reason why he requested a specific instrument
in any case)?

Ron, at the end of 1991, I did an article for The Clarinet that
dealt with this exact question. It was entitled "Mozart and the
Clarinet in B-natural."

The bottom line of the article is that when the composer asks for
a clarinet of specific pitch, it is a very dubious practice to make
an unauthorized substitution. The reasons and rational are given
in the article. I presume that Schubert knew exactly what he wanted
and called for it when he requested the C clarinet. Any deviation from
the practice of using the composer requested instrument is a questionable
one. In Mozart's case, the article gave evidence to support the
hypothesis that Mozart knew exactly what sound character he was
requesting so it is even in more questionable practice to deviate from
his explicitly called-for clarinet type.

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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