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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000172.txt from 1994/01

From: Cary Karp <nrm-karp@-----.SE>
Subj: Re: Mozart's works
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 1994 06:10:27 -0500

Quoting Eric Sabinson:

> I am not sure that anyone at Mozart's time would have cared about what
> was proper practice of an earlier generaton, or would have even asked
> themselves the question.

He and his composer cronies had the same doses of Palestrinian counterpoint
thrust down their throats that we do, and obviously saw reason to keep
that tradition alive. What suggests that they were uninterested in the
other practices of their predecessors?

> > The clarinet was the musical and functional heir to the recorder and it
> > makes perfect musical sense to me for Mozart to have reallocated recorder
> > parts to the clarinets.
>
> In general the orchestration of Acis _und_ Galatea is 'heavier' than Acis
> _and_ Galatea. Yet I do not think that the orchestration is so heavy that
> one can justify clarinets on these grounds. Rather, I think the
> reallocation makes more sense in political terms. I think of Mozart's
> reaction to his first encounters with clarinets at Mannheim. There was a
> kind of shock of recognition, perhaps in part because while flutes and
> oboes and recorders were international, with centuries of history behind
> them, the clarinet was German and new, its ancestors without Greek and
> Egyptian pedigree.

My remarks were prompted by the general history of instrumental design.
Denner's experiments with fitting single reeds to recorders gave us the
chalumeau and clarinet. There is a good deal of expert sentiment (which I
don't share) in support of the suggestion that this development was heavily
influenced by goings-on in France. Idioglot single-reed instruments are
to be found in the traditional instrumentarium just about everywhere. I
don't see why the clarinet can't lay claim to the same ancient history
as, say, the oboe, which isn't more than 50 years its senior.

> Do you know, Cary, if there is a one to one correspondence between the
> recorder parts and what was given to the clarinet in Mozart's adaptation?
> The notes that came with the recording say that oboe parts were also
> redistributed to the clarinet, and that new parts were written for the
> bassoon and the violas.

I don't think Handel wrote more than a minor part for the "flauto
piccolo" and am pretty sure that Mozart gave this to a clarinet. I'll
take a closer look at the scores later today.

   
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