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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000001.txt from 1996/01

From: John Jarvie <j.jarvie@-----.NZ>
Subj: Re: Piotr Michalowski asks about Reginald Kell
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 03:41:05 -0500

Dan Leeson commented on Reginald Kell.


Your thoughts are eloquently put.

As an expatriate Brit., I feel you are perhaps being too hard on
America (I assume your are American?).

The same level of rejection was shown to Kell in Britain before he
emigrated to the US. A rather poignant, and probably well known tale
to Kell fans, which I quote from memory came when Kell was principal
in the Covent Garden opera orchestra being taken by Furtwangler in I
think some Wagner. At the time Kell was literally ostracised or "sent
to Coventry" by his colleagues - I hesitate to use the word peers.
After a clarinet solo, Furtwangler stopped the orchestra and Kell
thought to himself, here we go again... Furtwangler than pointed to
Kell and said words to the effect - "Sir, you are the first clarinet
player I have heard who plays from the heart".

Of course Kell played in some distinguished and equally individual
company in England, Leon Goossens and Dennis Brain come to mind. For
some reason, those gentlemen did not suffer the censure that Kell did.

Perhaps some of the controversy in Britain came from the contrast
between Kell's style and that of Frederick Thurston who was also a
distinguished player but much more understated and certainly no

As Dan says the Kell furore is 40-50 years old. Perhaps the key
question today is should all clarinet players sound the same? This
seems to be increasingly the case but it will be sad day if that ever

Kells recorded performances are among the few which literally bring
tears of joy to my eyes. I've never heard a more convincing recording
of the Brahms Op. 114 trio which rarely sounds as magical as in the
Kell rendition.

John Jarvie

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