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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000715.txt from 1997/09

From: avrahm galper <>
Subj: Muehlfeld's playing
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 1997 08:44:35 -0400

Richard Muehlfeld's playing

In light of recent postings about the Brahms quintet performed in Albert
Hall on a replica of Muehlfeld's clarinet, it would be interesting to
put down what an eye witness had to say about Muehlefld's playing.

The author of the letter to myself, was my late friend Brian
Manton-Myatt, who was chief clarinet acoustician at Boosey and Hawkes in
London, England.
Mr.Manton-Myatt was an accomplished clarinet player himself, having
studied with a great Spanish clarinet player Manuel Gomez,who lived in
England at the time. (His grandson, Harold Gomez, lives in Toronto and
teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Mr.Myatt had very interesting stories to tell of those days, the turn of
the century. I'll post some of those at some later date. Here is his
account of Muehlefld:
"I remember clearly that I thought his tone in the low register was
superb, but I was not nearly so taken
with his middle and top registers. He displayed an unusual dynamic range
at times, the fortissimo being very powerful, but not often employed.
Being only a boy I naturally did so readily excuse the really very
frequent squeaks he made at times, not realizing then (as I did later!)
how often a reed will let one down!
I recall that he did not endeavor to get all the "limelight" in the
"quintet", but obviously considered himself no greater (or lessor) than
the string players.
In retrospect, I feel that although he was a musician of first order,
his gifts as a player would not strike the present generation as being
particularly outstanding".

This is the story. No mention of vibrato, although there is an account
somewhere of a viola player
of those days who remarked on Muehlfeld using vibrato at times.
This story appeared also in the Summer issue of the Clarinet, a
symphonic quarterly 1956.
Avrahm Galper

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