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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000759.txt from 1997/09

From: Roger Shilcock <>
Subj: Re: Brahms 2nd Sonata question
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 1997 03:02:19 -0400

"Sostenuto" is not really a tempo indication at all.
Roger Shilcock

On Sun, 14 Sep 1997, Lou Polcari wrote:

> Date: Sun, 14 Sep 1997 20:32:41 -0700
> From: Lou Polcari <>
> Reply-To:
> To: klarinet <>,
> Frank Garcia <>
> Subject: Re: Brahms 2nd Sonata question
> > >I have a question regarding the 2nd movement of the Brahms 2nd Sonata.
> > >
> > >The first third of the movement is marked Allegro appassionato.
> >
> > Well, not exactly. The Weiner Urtext edition says "Appassionato, ma non
> > troppo Allegro", and I think there's a difference. Any Brahms experts who
> > can enlighten us about this difference would certainly be appreciated by
> > me. Alas, my edition of the Eb sonata appears to have grown legs!
> I would agree with the Idea behind the Appassionato, ma non troppo Allegro.
> I feel that most clarinetist are inclined to rush through this section of
> the movement. I would say that finding the tempo as it relates to the
> Sostenuto section and indeed the tempo choices for the first movement and
> third as well, is the art of playing this sonata.
> > >The middle
> > >section is marked Sostenuto. Then back to Tempo I. In rehearsing this
> > >movement with my pianist, she had posed a question that I could not
> answer.
> > >She wished to know if there is as relationship between the Allegro tempo
> > >and the Sostenuto tempo.
> Although Sostenuto, may not mean literally to slow the tempo, I think it
> does mean to sustain the sound beyond normal values and in that slowing the
> tempo slightly. In this movement the slight tempo change to the slower can
> be very powerful. Ask your pianist to consider it. This is just my
> opinion.
> > >Her interpretation of the Sostenuto section is a little faster than
> usually
> > >performed, but I like the way she plays it. The problem is, she wishes
> to
> > >relate the two different tempos somehow. I have always thought (prehaps
> > >nievely) that the Sostenuto was completely new music and should be
> treated
> > >as such. But, it is the piano alone that establishes the tempo in the
> > >Sostenuto section. Any thoughts on this subject would be very much
> > >appreciated by both of us.
> If I could climb out on a limb here. Remember that this was a very
> emotional time for Herr Brahms and this movement seems to be an inner
> conversation between melancholy and a powerful urge to get on with life.
> Although the two sections may not be related musically, they may be related
> on an emotional level. I must say that I share this with great trepidation
> as I am sure that my colleagues on the list will want to know kind of reeds
> I have been using. So, this is just my thought after my own research and
> time spent reading the composers letters, and letters written about him by
> others. Having said that, I would say find the best tempo for you and your
> pianist. One thing about this sonata I have played a three times in
> recital and each time, I felt different about it.
> Lou Polcari

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