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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000134.txt from 1996/01

From: Donald Yungkurth <DYungkurth@-----.COM>
Subj: Vibrato/Stoltzman
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 1996 00:16:57 -0500

Everett J Austin <BrendaA624@-----.COM> said, in part, about Stoltzman:

>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 taste.

Indeed! This just about sums up my view. In my early years of listening to
"classical" music, as a teenager who played the clarinet, I found myself
quite partial to instrumental music and had a basic dislike of vocal music.
I had to admit that the operas contained wonderful melodies, but it was all
spoiled by those singers!

Then I heard Schubert lieder, as sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and
thought that this was vocal music I could tolerate, even enjoy and want to
hear again. I then became aware that F-D had recordings of opera, so I made
a point of hearing one of his operatic recordings. What a disappointment!
He sounded just like those other operatic singers I hadn't liked. Clearly
he understood what was expected and was able to deliver it, in more than one
style, whether I liked it or not!

Some serious analysis and comparison soon led me to the conclusion that I
didn't like the wide vibrato typically used in opera. Lieder singing and
choral music were just fine. Wide vibrato left me with a longing to hear the
pitch of the written note rather than the emotive envelope delivered by many
operatic singers.

To me there are two different kinds of vibrato, what I think of as "centered
vibrato", where the intended pitch is clearly obvious, as with many flute
and oboe players, and operatic vibrato, which is essentially pitchless and
out of control, but somewhere in the ballpark of the intended note.

This is clearly personal taste and in no way implies that I feel the operatic
singers are wrong or incorrect in their interpretations. They just happen to
be following a tradition or style that doesn't satisfy my ears. My taste may
not be typical, but I have to live with my ears!

I indicated a few days ago that I felt Stoltzman had the ability to play most
any way he wanted to. Frequently he does not please me, generally because of
what I view as excessive vibrato, but he certainly is capable of satisfying
me. An old LP of the Schubert "Arpeggione" is wonderful. His choice of
where and when to use vibrato (and how much) seems, to me, to be artibrary
and random. I'm sure he sees it differently.

IMO, when Stoltzman is good he's very, very good. When he's bad, he's awful!
And the choice is his - he can do whatever he chooses to do. It's a matter
of personal taste.

Don Yungkurth (

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