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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000204.txt from 1996/04

From: Jonathan Cohler <cohler@-----.NET>
Subj: Re: Interpretation
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 1996 16:49:58 -0400

At 3:44 PM 4/8/96, Nate Burk wrote:
>I agree with the several people who have said that playing a piece without
>understanding the period it came from is bad form. I don't think it's
>*always* true, however, that people do this because they have big egos. I
>think often times people are too lazy to learn the correct way to play
>something and they label the blind music that comes out, their
>"interpretation." By no means do I think these musicians should do this, but
>I can understand where they're coming from. I'm a young player who's eager
>to play lots of good music at this point, without worrying about period,
>composers, et cetera.
>Here's what I do, to kind of compromise -- and let me know what you think:
>When I start to play a piece, I listen to a few recordings by distinguished
>performers, who I know will be playing the piece fairly correctly. And, out
>of these recordings, I'd choose what I like, what I dislike, and what I want
>to add of my own. Obviously when I get a little older I'll be required to do
>more thinking for myself, but for now this method seems to work for me.
> I wonder how other people feel about this, because I suppose you could
>accuse me of "stealing" from other performers. Clarinet playing is not my
>entire life, though, and I don't see how it would be possible to reasearch
>every individual piece I'd like to play. I think, for people in the same
>position, listening to *good* recordings is the key to success.
>"Friends are the chocolate chips in the cookie of life."

Big mistake. Listening to recordings is fine to get ideas. But using it
to determine what you ultimately do is a big mistake. Most recordings have
problems on them. Even the good ones.

Just because big-name clarinetist A plays something incorrectly, that
doesn't make it correct. Copying it doesn't make it correct, either.

Getting ideas about interpretation from recordings is of course a great
idea. But you must sift through and study the scores to determine what's
right and what's not.

That's not to say that everyone has to become a Mozart scholar before
playing Mozart or a Brahms scholar before playing Brahms. But it is a good
idea to at least get the best possible editions of the music, read a bit of
history, and *look at what's in the score*. (Most people don't even look
at what's staring them in the face.)

Good luck.

Jonathan Cohler

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