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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000326.txt from 1995/01

From: Neil Leupold <Neil_Leupold@-----.COM>
Subj: RE>British clarinetists on
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 21:11:46 -0500

Reply to: RE>British clarinetists on CD

Not to stir up the pot or anything, but I can't restrain myself from expressing
my totally opposite opinion concerning British clarinetists on CD. Having
access to such a large inventory of classical recordings, I've had the
opportunity over the last 3 years to sample the finest and the shoddiest
clarinet playing put out on CD. To put it in blunt but gentle terms,
recordings by Thea King, Emma Johnson, and Janet Hilton are, without question,
the WORST recordings of clarinet playing I have ever heard, hands down. Among
my circle of friends, these three players are regarded as "The Three Queens",
but not in a nice way. Each of their tones is flabby and coarse, with
interpretative clumsiness and technical flaws befitting a high school student.
It has come to the point where I cease to make a distinction between which one
of them is playing because they're all so bad. I believe it was Thea King who
did a recording of the Nielsen concerto, butchering it (I didn't think this was
possible on such a wild piece) stylistically, and her tone is just awful. And
then there's Janet Hilton's rendition of the Weber Concertino. The only way I
can put this is to say that if Richard Stoltzman is still playing at 90 years
of age, he might sound like Janet Hilton playing the Weber. She sounds like an
old man with the "shakes" - vibrato so completely out of control, you wonder if
she has a nerve disorder or something. I know I'm being terribly harsh, but
when there are players like Karl Leister, Sabine Meyer, and David Shifrin
creating music meant for the ears of God, recordings by these three British
players simply sound deplorable. Feel free to rip into my commentary here -
it's not a statement on any of these players as persons, but just my personal
point of view. I may become more forgiving as time continues to pass.

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