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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000498.txt from 1997/12

From: Roger Shilcock <>
Subj: Re: Today's Titus on the Met Broadcast -Reply
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 19:41:32 -0500

I think there are some points here which need addressing with a bit more
1) ALL "eras" are influenced (in the terms of this letter) by what has
gone before, to some varying extent;
2) The actual influence is not direct, but mediated by the values of the
current era; this goes for Mozart's time and our own;
3) All interpretative artists are parasites, in the last
analysis, and the value of their work is inseparably bound up with the
perceived value of what they are interpreting - perhaps some contributors
think "performing" and "interpreting" music are totally different;
4) Perhaps we should think again about Brahms' piano - and the ophicleide
and the alto trombone and the F trumpet and gut strings......
Roger Shilcock

On Wed, 10 Dec 1997, Ginstling/Ransom wrote:

> Date: Wed, 10 Dec 1997 01:08:42 -0800
> From: Ginstling/Ransom <>
> Reply-To:
> To: Klarinet <>
> Subject: Re: Today's Titus on the Met Broadcast -Reply
> OK, Dan, since you so eloquently defend the give and take of ideas on this
> list and, in particular, in this thread, I've decided to throw my hat into
> the ring as well. I believe you've been extremely harsh on Ricardo, made
> assumptions about him which you probably should not be making, and put undue
> emphasis on "what the composer wrote".
> My argument stems not from your criticism of Ricardo using the "wrong"
> clarinet for the piece, for I don't think anyone would dispute that it was,
> in fact, written for the basset clarinet. I just wonder why you believe
> that "the bottom line" is determined by his choice of instrument. You
> yourself state that there are 1000 positive things to be said for his
> performance. So why does this one area of disagreement override all those
> positives? Judging from your many postings to this list, I certainly can't
> imagine you would be more pleased or satisfied if someone had played the
> aria using the the "correct" basset clarinet, but played the piece with
> terrible phrasing, no sense of style and an extremely unpleasant tone? Yet
> it seems that such a performance would satisfy your "bottom line"
> requirement that the piece be played on the precise instrument for which it
> was written.
> There are many instances when artists do not follow every precise
> instruction left by the composer. While certain "interpretive" judgements
> are obviously more questionable than others, I believe that the beauty of
> live performance and music in general is the unbelievably exciting and
> provocative juxtaposition of a living creative being's interpretation of a
> body of work left behind by someone else, on paper.
> Furthermore, any performance of any piece of music today carries with it the
> baggage (sometimes helpful, sometimes a hindrance) of the tradition of the
> day and the tradition of previous generations. This is precisely why I am
> so turned off by the original instrument/authentic performance craze. I'm
> certain that any performance of Mozart's music today, no matter what
> instrument we use or which notes we play, can in no way replicate the way
> the music sounded at the time it was written. I don't mean to be facetious
> by reminding you that at the time Mozart wrote La Clemenza di Tito,
> musicians had not yet been exposed to the worlds of Brahms, Mahler, Wagner,
> etc... The sound/phrase world in which we hear and play music today has
> undoubtedly been influenced by all that has preceded it, and it cannot be
> compared to any other era. What I'm trying to say here is that those who
> want to try and recreate the sound of a Mozart orchestra from Mozart's time
> are certainly welcome to do so, but as far as I'm concerned they could only
> be successful by breeding a generation of musicians who have never been
> exposed to any music beyond Mozart's time...
> As for your "suspicions" about Ricardo turning professional at a young age
> and not being aware of musical issues outside of playing, all I can say is
> you really should not speak about things which you do not know. In my brief
> experiences with Ricardo I have found him extraordinarily articulate about
> music and music history; he is musically and intellectually mature well
> beyond his years.
> I would not argue that finding out about these issues not for ourselves, but
> for the music, could, as you say, be considered the "highest degree of
> professionalism"; however, beautiful, sensitive, intelligent and emotional
> music-making is, to me, the highest degree of artistry, and, to me, it is
> artistry and not professionalism which is the bottom line.
> Gary Ginstling
> Los Angeles, CA
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----
> Dan Leeson wrote-
> I think that one of the most valuable things provided by this list
> is for a variety of viewpoints to be displayed. It is a measure of
> its excellence that one is able to solicit comments on many things,
> and receive some that are anathmatic to one's own personal views...
> ------------------------------

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