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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000217.txt from 1994/01

From: Cary Karp <nrm-karp@-----.SE>
Subj: Re: Mozart performance practice
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 1994 11:13:42 -0500

On Fri, 28 Jan 1994, Dan Leeson wrote:

> The bottom line here is that I am a practical, no-nonsense clarinet
> player. I don't believe in esoterica, or feelings, or any of the
> things that non-musicians think about when they think about musicians.
> I believe only in one thing: knowledge. Feelings about how to play
> a work are, in my view, a waste of talent. It is knowing the
> mechanics of what was expected of the player (coupled with being
> a hell of a technician) that makes one a communicating musician, not
> the agony of the torment of Beethoven, or the passion of Tchaikovsky.
> I think knowledge is king and everything else is secondary. Of course,
> I may be all wrong, but when one plays a Mozart work (which is what this
> discussion is about), except for the wig, buckled shoes, and satin
> waistcoat, one must do this as a man or woman from the 18th century.
> If one does it as a 20th century person (which is how you described
> yourself), I think that it is going to come out all wrong.

Clarinetists of the 18th century used instruments which differed
substantially from those in use today. These differences are both numerous
and musically relevant. Most advocates of rigorous authenticity accept the
consequences of this and regard period instruments as an obligatory part
of a knowledgeable performance. I would agree that period costumes can be
dismissed as affected optical trimmings. But the horn is what you hear and
surely has to be high up on the checklist of knowable attributes of a
musically uncompromising authentic performance.

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