Klarinet Archive - Posting 000485.txt from 1996/04
From: Everett Austin <austine@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Jennifer Hefferlin's comments on K. 622
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 1996 02:28:15 -0400
On Tue, 16 Apr 1996, Jennifer Hefferlin wrote:
> Thank you Dan!
> Yes, "sacred" is a terrifying word. I would be willing to accept any
> variation of any piece as long as it was convincing and didn't seem
> over-acted. Two things to be railed against: silliness and thoughtlesness.
> If I may, I'll enlarge a bit on why I would say that the Mozart was
> "sacred" to Valeri P. Bezruchenko. These impressions are my own....That
> particular school of thought (Euro-Soviet), does not allow for much
> improv. In fact, one of my complaints with the experience was that as
> performers there was not a lot of room for
> inspiration...improv...variations. Bezruchenko is what I would call and
> "old school" teacher, somewhat autocratic. And in his view there was
> only one way, the right way, and he knew what the right way was. So,
> Dan, you do have a reason to go running screaming into the night...but, I
> did not say that I agreed with his views, and I don't think you thought I
> did. But, just in case, what inspired me, woke me up, caught my
> attention, was that no matter what he was saying, the music came first,
> and somehow it came alive. And I did agree with the idea that as
> performers and musicians, we must have integrity in what we do, both with
> the quality and the ideas.
> I was trying to sort of bring the discussion away from what note is where
> to why do we care what note is where. Maybe that is a moot point. By the
> way, what edition of the k.622 is considered the most authentic, or
> Until next time,
> Jennifer H.
This is tangential to the Mozart issue, but perhaps not everyone on the
list is aware who this Russian clarinetist is. He is subject of a
chapter in Pamela Weston's book Clarinet Virtuosi of Today and was (still
is??) first clarinetist in the former Leningrad Philharmonic, who made
many recordings under Mravinsky. I have never heard him play the Mozart
Concerto, but suspect it would be very nobly done. He is presumably the
first player in the Leningrad's
recording of the Shostakovich 10th Symphony: the clarinet solo and duet
are absolutely haunting in the first movement and really are worth the
cost of the whole CD to me (on Erato). He plays German system
instruments per Weston's book. He must be a remarkable player.
> On Sat, 13 Apr 1996, Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.edu wrote: >
> > I want to thank Jennifer for her touching and warm remarks regarding
> > her study of the Mozart concerto in St. Petersburg. I would hope
> > that every player feels the same love and affection for that work
> > as does she, and are also able to express it in the same clear way.
> > But (and there is always a but), she did make one point that caused
> > me to come to a screeching halt. She said that the concerto had
> > become sacred to her teacher and it is possible that she meant only
> > that the glory of that music was respected above all other concerti.
> > Unfortunately, I get very worried whenever a work becomes "sacred"
> > because that can also mean "frozen, unchangeable, immovable, unalterable,
> > and static."
> > Now Jenniefer said nothing that could tolerate this interpretation.
> > I'm just running scared. For whenever, in the past, I heard someone
> > make a remark that the Mozart concerto was sacred, then the possibility
> > of a new and different perspectice ceased to exist. There was only one
> > view: the view of the person who held the work as sacred.
> > And the issue is very practical. With the closer examination of the
> > autograph of the basset horn version of the concerto (even though
> > it is a fragment and breaks off before the movement is half way
> > thgough and is as sketchy as can be up to that point in any case),
> > the matter of a certain note began to be focused on. It occurs in
> > two places, once for the violin and once in the solo clarinet.
> > There is no doubt at all what Mozart wrote for the basset horn version
> > of the concerto, but in the absence of the autograph for the clarinet
> > version, there is no knowledge of what note was intended there. Is
> > is possible or even desirable to make a change in the clarinet version
> > corresponding to the basset horn version at that point.
> > I speak of m. 109, 6th note. Is it F or is it F-sharp?
> > Reasonable people can discuss this matter with great sincerity and
> > come to opposing views on what is meant. That's OK. That's just
> > the way things should be.
> > But when people consider this concerto as "sacred" they are unwilling
> > to discuss a change even as important, as imposing, and is well-
> > documented as this one under the guise that "the Mozart concerto must
> > not be changed -- it is sacred."
> > Now I am doing an unfair and almost unreasonable thing. Jennifer
> > simply used a single word and I have jumped on it and said, like
> > chicken little, "the sky is falling in!!"
> > Of all works that should be approached with friendliness, with
> > affection, and with good humor, K. 622 is the top of the list.
> > But with the view that it is "sacred" (read "unchangeable") is a
> > very dangerous attitude.
> > You all know that I am a bull about improvising in the Mozart
> > concerto. I don't think it is unchangeable. Drop a hat and
> > I'll change it in a minute, every time, for every performance.
> > To do it the same way twice in a row, is sacrilege.
> > I don't think the piece is sacred in the least. Of course,
> > I could be very wrong in my attitude about what to do when one
> > plays the work. But my respect, affection, and love for this
> > great work is as much as anyone's.
> > "Sacred" is not the word I would think any of us ever want to
> > use. And then again, I could be full of bananas.
> > ====================================
> > Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California
> > (leeson@-----.edu)
> > ====================================