Klarinet Archive - Posting 000033.txt from 1996/01
From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: Don Yungkurth brought up a well of nostalgia
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 22:24:56 -0500
Reading Don's insightful comments on Kell caused a rush of nostalgia,
particularly when he mentioned the recording of K. 581. I had the same
album. Let's verify.
Normally 78 rmp records were stored in sleeves. But this set was mounted
in a box in a strange way. Each record was placed on the single wooden
dowel that entered the disk at the center hole. Somehow the disks never
touched each other even though the 4 of them (that's eight sides for the
Mozart quintet, 2 sides to a movement, repeats were disallowed!!) were all
mounted on the spindle.
Anyway, I had a record player whose claim to modernity was that it had
electricity, but that's all. And then I put on the quintet and heard
Kell play. I tried to play with him using my Cundy Bettony edition
and I could not get in tune. My part was for B-flat clarinet. I did not
know one needed an A to play the piece. But the Cundy Bettony edition
was made for B-flat clarinet with all the string parts transposed to
make it work. That is the way I thought it was. So I concluded that
my record player was going to fast, I had to slow it down. It really
didn't matter what I did because the machines wasn't running at 78 rmp
in any case.
I put all kinds of weights on the center and then pulled my clarinet
out at every conceivable joint.
With all of this I then was able to play with Kell and thereafter,
and every night for 3 straight years, I played the work like a music
minus one recording with Reginald Kell teaching me how the piece went.
That, for your information, was 1,095 times through that piece with
intonation that would have cut through sheet steel it was so awful.
Somewhere in the middle of the second year I found out about A clarinets,
borrowed one from the band director (who was a clarinet player) and
started to make some sense out it. It did not matter. Each evening
I would do my math homework, write my English essays, get yelled at by
my mother, try and peek at the girl who lived in the next house and
occasionally let her shade not close entirely, and then set up and
play the Mozart quintet with Kell.
In those days you had to change the needed after about 5 sides, so I
went through two needles a night. After a year or so there wasn't
much sound left on those disks but I had the piece memorized by
that time and I heard every note in my head despite the clicks and
pops and bleeps and static of the disk.
In the minor key variation of the last movement, I would graciously
give way to the viola player as I played C,E-flat,G,C,B,D,G,B, which
I thought was the real solo part.
The only disappointment I had during those three years was that
the girl next door never left her shade up at critical moments.
Years later, Rosy Mazzeo invited me to a party in Carmel and Kell
was there. I was in such awe of him and wanted to ask a million
questions but Rosy told me to stay away from clarinet talk. Kell
was polite but did not speak of music. That was the only time
I met him.
But I studied with him. I studied the Mozart quintet 1,095 times
with him and it was a pleasure every time.
See Don, what a flood of nostalgia you let loose.
Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California