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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000232.txt from 1996/04

From: Fred Jacobowitz <fredj@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Szell/Marcellus, Mozart articulation, and "Interpretation"
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 1996 12:29:13 -0400

In response to John Cohler's excellent comments on the whole subject of
interpretation, I wish to say," BRAVO!!!" In addition, I'd like to add my
$.02 in describing how I teach my students to approach the subject of
It is my belief that, with the exception of the classical period
(where performance practice was so important - and expected by the
composers - that it obviated most of the markings we find in later
music), anything that is actually marked in by the composer should be
pretty much taken as gospel. HOWEVER, these markings are only the minimum
and any musician worthy of the title <<*must*>> add as much expression as
necessary to achieve the musical concept. Kind-of like in the U.S.
Constitution where any powers not specifically given to the government
are the province of the states and the individual. If the composer went
to the trouble of actually marking in things they are obviously important
to him/her. However, composers do expect some intelligence and
common-sense musicality from their performers, so they don't mark most
of what they want. They expect the player to be a musician, not a
mechanical note-player (I use the term "Band Wally", which I heard being
used by some students once and seemed appropriate) and to fill in the
blanks. Composers, like any creators, are rather busy enumerating their
grand schemes and leave the details to trusted underlings: in our case,
us musicians. If you don't think so, ask a composer.
Using these guidelines, my students have no problem extrapolating
the composer's motives and putting their own, very musical and often
original, stamp on the music without running roughshod over the composer's

Fred Jacobowitz
Clarinet/Sax Instructor, Peabody Preparatory

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