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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000056.txt from 1994/09

From: Claudia Zornow <claudia@-----.COM>
Subj: Berlin
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 1994 20:02:53 -0400

Don and I just got back from 9 days in Berlin (visiting my
grandmother and aunt and sightseeing like mad), and I thought
I'd share some of the clarinet-related parts of our visit
with the list. We didn't take our clarinets, but if we had
I think we could have made a few DM playing in the U-Bahnhoefe.

Thanks to my grandmother getting us tickets ahead of time, we
went to _Die Zauberfloete_ at the Komische Oper, _Ein Maskenball_
at the Deutsche Oper, and a concert of the Deutsches Symphonie
Orchester Berlin under Vladimir Ashkenazy. Of course we peeked
in the pits at the operas. Oehler system clarinets, string
ligatures, basset horns for _Die Zauberfloete_. Didn't get to
meet any of the musicians, though. The concert was interesting
because they played the German premiere of Messiaen's last work
(written in 1992), _Eclairs sur l'au dela_ (pardon my French,
I don't know any so the spelling may be wrong). This was a
massive work, about an hour long, for double-size strings, a
band's worth of winds, and lots of percussion. It used 6 Bb
clarinets, 2 Eb clarinets, bass clarinet, and contrabass clarinet.
(The contrabass player seemed to have a lot of rests.)

We looked in the Berlin yellow pages under Musikinstrumenten
and found an ad for what claimed to be the number-one woodwind
store in Berlin. I don't know if that's true, but it was
certainly a very nice place to visit if you're ever there:
Die Holzblaeser, Innsbrucker Strasse 35 (U-Bahn: Innsbrucker
Platz). It was a lot like any woodwind store here, except that
they had a lot more professional clarinet models, both Boehm
and Oehler systems, available to try out. Prices were quite
high by our standards. We picked up a price list; Don has it
at his place at the moment, but we got it for Jim Lytthans
and if people are really interested they may prevail on Jim
to post a few prices once we get the list to him.

The fellow working there (I don't know if he was the proprietor
or just an employee) was kind enough to let us try an old Herbert
Wurlitzer clarinet they had. What a sound! Hard to describe in
words in either English or German (is Dan Leeson back yet?), but
I found it very resonant and projecting without being at all
edgy or (I'll say it) bright; also easy to start notes on at
low dynamic levels. The newer Wurlitzers are being made by
Herbert's son, Paul-Kurt, and are of a different design which
is not so well-liked.

We chatted with the guy there for a while; it turned out he
was a former pupil of Karl Leister's. I asked how Leister was
as a teacher, and he said, "Not there very much." Apparently
Leister would call at all hours and say that he had some time
available tomorrow morning, come at 9 a.m., or something to
that effect. Our friend said that a professional musician
in Berlin might make from 3000 to 10000 DM ($2000-$6700) per
month, although the Berlin Philharmonic is probably even higher.
There's also a thriving jazz scene in Berlin; the store is
looking for sources of jazz bass clarinet mouthpieces.

Since this is the clarinet list I won't describe the rest of
the trip, but we had a good time and I'm [not] looking forward
to re-learning what it feels like to play a clarinet. (Ouch!)


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