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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000389.txt from 1995/01

From: Josias Associates <josassoc@-----.COM>
Subj: Re: Benny Goodman and the Nielsen Concerto
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 1995 20:39:32 -0500

On Wed, 25 Jan 1995, Steve Prescott wrote:

> I have a recording of Benny Goodman playing the Nielsen Concerto. I disagree
> with some of his interpretation. I also agree with some. This does not mean
> Mr. Goodman is a bad player.
> Steve Prescott
> Instrument Rep. Tech./Clarinetist
> Indiana State Univ.

In spite of his many commissions of famous classical works for
the clarinet, and possibly because of his preeminence in jazz, Benny
Goodman was believed by many to be a pretender when it came to
performing classical music.

Yet, when it came to performances of works written for him --
works such as Bartok's "Contrasts," Copland's "Concerto for Clarinet,"
Gould's "Derivations," and Poulenc's "Sonata for Clarinet and Piano,"
his performances were usually found acceptable.

Contrary to some popular thought, he was not hell bent on
performing all the classical concerto literature. I received a personal
insight into that part of Goodman during a conversation with Morton
Gould, whom I know personally.

Gould was a close friend and advisor of Goodman's and was also the
conductor used by Goodman on some of his recordings, one of which was the
Nielsen Concerto. Gould told me that, when he proposed to Goodman
that he record the Nielsen Concerto, Goodman flatly rejected the idea,
partly because preparing it was a lot of work, and possibly because he
might have felt that the work was best left to classical specialists like
Drucker, who (if my time frame is correct) already had a fine recording
out on the market.

Gould finally overcame Goodman's objections, and the project
proceeded to completion. Gould conceded that, although the performance
might have had some flaws, in the final analysis, both he and Goodman
were glad they made the recording, which became a kind of last hurrah for
their joint team, and did display Goodman doing many things capably.


Conrad Josias
La Canada, California

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