Klarinet Archive - Posting 000101.txt from 1996/01
From: Everett J Austin <BrendaA624@-----.COM>
Subj: Re: Bruce Hudson's comments on Stoltzman
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 1996 01:34:19 -0500
I am prepared to hesitatingly join the fray with Bruce Hudson, Dan Leeson and
others regarding Mr Stoltzman "polarizing" playing. While I cannot say that
he is my favorite clarinetist (with so many wonderful players how can one
player be the best, unless this is a pole-vaulting competition. That is,
taste is difficult to objectify, and sectarianism is a well-known human
frailty which is not truly self-validating) or even that he held an immediate
attraction for me, I can certainly appreciate the humanity and conviction in
his playing which are supported by a technique which is difficult to fault.
(I am slightly influenced here by seeing the video documentary of his and
MTTs recording of the Copland Concerto, which portrays a kind , thoughtful,
goodhumored and sensitive artist.) I do not find his use of vibrato always
appealing, finding it somewhat emotionally convulsive at times, but this does
not make it wrong. I would compare it to Italian opera vocal tradition,
which obviously is valid in its domain and has a devoted following.
Personally, I find myself allergic to that style of emotive singing and wide
vibrato, preferring the classical Mozartean style, but that is a matter of
As for tone, his is generally quite focussed, rich and expressive. It may be
that a "pure" clarinet tone may sound "anemic" to another person, or a "rich"
tone to one sound "thick" or "heavy" to another.
I was pleased by some of the phrasing in his playing of the Beethoven Trio on
the recent CD mentioned, which turned simple phrases here and there into
meaningful statements reminiscent of conversation, not at all inappropriate
to chamber music. Marcel Mule (the father of French classical saxophone
playing) commented that someone expressed admiration for his playing by
saying that he seemed to "tell a story" with his phrasing and that he found
that an unusually revealing comment. This is certainly something to reflect
on, as presumably the composer who text we are trying to be meticulously
faithful to was doing just that.