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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000115.txt from 1994/01

From: Karen Noel-Bentley <karennb@-----.CA>
Subj: Re: Dan's performance practice
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 1994 23:44:18 -0500

On Wed, 19 Jan 1994, Dan Leeson wrote:

> I assert that today's clarinetists execute Mozart's music in a fashion
> that measureably diverges, in identifiable ways, from the manner in
> which these works would have been performed during the era of their
> composition.

Dan, I'm glad that you brought up this issue. I feel strongly that, since
we exist NOW, in the late 20th century, how can we possibly know how
earlier works "would have been performed during the era of their
composition"? Of course, there are writings from the time of Mozart and
other early composers, but can you really be sure how Mozart's music was
perceived and performed?

Mozart's Clarinet Concerto is a masterpiece, and I feel privileged to have
the opportunity to perform it now, 200 years after it was written. But I
was born in the 20th century, and grew up with 20th-century sounds,
sights, and ideas. When I play Mozart's concerto, I would feel like a
fraud if I weren't true to my own feelings about the music and how it
affects and inspires me.

I'm not saying that a performer should approach a piece of music (from
any era) blindly; any insight into the life and musical philosophies of a
composer can only help a performer. But I don't think that we should
criticize a performance based on how the piece would have been performed
in the composer's lifetime, because that would be denying us our own unique
perspective on what we are experiencing TODAY.


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