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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000235.txt from 1995/01

From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: Krommer Octets
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 1995 13:09:20 -0500

The requestor of the Krommer Octet for which he is looking has already
received 10 great suggestions about how to get it. But if all else fails,
Chris Weait, professor of bassoon at Ohio State in Columbus, has a complete
set of the Krommer wind octets, most of them in their first editions
dating from the 19th century. So does David Whitwell at Cal State in
Northridge, CA. Many of the contemporary reprints have been spoken of
on this list in the last few days.

While no one has commented on the value of the octets, I find them the most
exciting harmonie pieces ever written after the Mozart octets. In some
respects, they are even superior since Krommer was able to take advantage
of the use of the contrabassoon and Mozart chose not to. The Krommer
octets just bubble along with charming surprise after surprise. It is
true that the Sabine ensemble plays the skin off them, but she was aided
by the fact that the works are so remarkable playable.

I once played one with Larry Combs and he called them "Cooking Music."
In another reading with the professor of horn at U. Wisconsin/Milwaukee
(Barry Benjamin) he invented the word "chalyecki" to describe the
wonderful out-of-doors dance feeling in so many of his last movements.
We then began to expand on that word coming up with rules for
a chalyecki, such as

1. It must be danced naked Bohemian countryside
2. The basic beat is 1,3 ... 1,3
3. You have to wear a tie and a bowler hat but nothing else

One New Years Eve when no one was working, we had a big party and
played 10 Krommer Octets and it was one of the best fun chamber
music experiences I ever had. But you have to play them with
contrabassoon or else they don't work at all and a chalyecki becomes
impossible to do with only 8 players in accompaniment. In at least
two counties in Czechoslovakia it is illegal to play the Krommer
pieces without contrabassoon, and it must be a noisy, clanky
contra, too!

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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