Klarinet Archive - Posting 000453.txt from 1996/01
From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Mozart Sinfonie Concertante
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 21:16:28 -0500
I got about 4 private postings on the matter of the Sinfonie Concertante
and the 6 or 7 public ones added to this made a very nice gesture. But I
hope that those who wrote me privately realize that the list will not
get the value from those postings that I did.
First, many of those who wrote suggest that there are as many performances
now as there used to be; i.e., they do not see a slacking off as I suggest
might be the case.
Second, almost everyone who wrote presume that the work is not troubled by
any serious authenticity issues.
Third, several were not aware that the flute/clarinet controversy has been
a hot one with respect to that piece for years, but when a genuinely
good reconstruction for flute (oboe/hn/bassoon) appeared about 7 or 8
years ago, the controversy got heated up.
Perhaps it is simply where I live. Maybe it is the geography, but I do
notice that the Mostly Mozart festival in NY has not played that piece
in the clarinet version for at least 7 years and before the authenticity
issues got hot, they used to play it every other season.
A Ph. D. candidate at Cornell did his doctoral dissertation on the
rise and fall of the Sinfonie Concertante and he counted the number
of performances that got review in American papers from 1900 up to
the early 1970s and the number of performances are definitely on the
It is a lot like the Jena Symphony that was purportedly by Beethoven
and all the critics went made for it until Robbins Landon found the
autograph in Witt's hand. Suddenly it became personna non grata
and then, after 20 years, it went completely out of the repertoire.
Anyone here ever even heard of the "Beethoven's Jena Symphony"? But
it was played everywhere when I was a kid. Not it is played no where.
Ask yourselves the question: in what way do you believe that work to
be the product of Mozart's hand? Unlike K. 622, and K. 581 (for
which no autographs exist) but which all know to be by Mozart by
virtue of a good deal of historical data, the concertante is
plagued with serious difficulties.
Are you aware that it was discovered for the first time in 1865?
That's it's tie in to Mozart is by the wildest of accidents?
That it is a work in which the clarinet part is seriously out
of character with every other clarinet part Mozart ever wrote.
Think about it, critically. Other than the fact that you have
been told it is by Mozart, what makes you think that it is by
Think of the opening orchestral introduction. Do you think it to
be rather long considering the opening orchestral introduction to
the other Mozart concerti? Is the balance wrong?
Think of the last movement, the variations. Does the fact that
there are orchestral ritornelli between each variation strike you
as strange, and that none of the variations are repeated?
Lots of problems here. Few solutions.
Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California