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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000543.txt from 1997/09

From: avrahm galper <>
Subj: ABCD
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 16:56:46 -0400

A,B,C,D or what?
The story of a conductor making a fuss about a C clarinet is incredible.
In all my years with the Toronto Symphony, not one regular or guest
conductor ever brought up the question of a C clarinet or any other

The furore over the C clarinet is misplaced. Some players think that
they are as rough as an Eb.
But that is not correct. Properly handled, a C clarinet has a sweet
voice and can play with a delicate sound.
In Schubert's Symphony #3, the slow movement has a very elegant C
clarinet solo.
In Mahler, one is supposed to bring out the shrillness, which players
usually do.
The Moldau by Smetana has C, Bb and A. The beginning, which is written
for C, is usually transposed on Bb which at certain spots could be
tricky. I often used to play it on the A to make it smoother. Actually,
playing it on clarinets in C, which we once did, made for a perfect
blend with the flutes that open the work.The C clarinet has a charm that
makes the opening sound better.
Beethoven's two first Duos are for C clarinet and anyone who has tried
that with a C clarinet knows how effortlessly it feels.
In Brahms 3rd, the third movement, which is written for C, I think
Brahms left it to the choice of the player to play on Bb or A.
In Tchaikovsky's Mozartiana cadenza, the player has the choice of
either Bb or A, although, the C part lies very well and is actually easy
to manage.
In Prokofieff Piano concerto #3, there are two sets of parts either Bb
or A. I prefer the A. But there are two sets of parts, depending who
you rent it from. The same goes for Prokofieff's Classical Symphony.
I used to play the solo in Bolero on an A, it is very smooth.
In the solo in Beauty and the Beast in Mother Goose suite by Ravel, the
A clarinet can make that solo sound very nice .One is not stuck with
honky middle B naturals.
I have seen the Israel Philharmonic players use a D clarinet to play
some of the tricky Eb 5 sharp passages.
Next time I will post an article by Augustin Duques, former principal
clarinet with NBC under Toscanini. The title is "use of Bb and A
He also transposed this or that to make it smoother.

Avrahm Galper

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