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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000368.txt from 1997/09

From: "Dr. Ronald P. Monsen" <>
Subj: Re: Bb and A clarinets
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 1997 14:00:27 -0400

The C clarinet--I do own what I consider to be a very fine one and play it
whenever possible--not when the need or the score always calls for it. Why?
The tone quality is very distinctive--that is why many composers probably
wrote for it--but if called for in pairs--as is so often the case--I do the
transposing if only one C is available. At some earlier point in our history
the C clarinet must have been quite prominent--I base this on the numbers that
survive and also on a comment in the Lefevre Methode (ca. 1810) which was
written for and used at the Paris Conservatory. There is a series of 12
"sonatas" in the method--written in two parts only--the solo clarinet line
and an unfigured bass line. Lefevre tells the player to have the bass line
taken down a whole step if the clarinet solo is to be played on the Bb


The Introduction, Theme and Variations of Rossini is played today on a Bb
instrument with the accompaniment in the appropriate key--I know of no one
who does the work on the original instrument asked for by the composer--
the C clarinet. Has anyone out there played this work on the C? Just

Ron Monsen

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