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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000597.txt from 1997/12

From: "Ginstling/Ransom" <>
Subj: RE: Dan on Morales and basset clarinets
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 20:45:09 -0500


>From your most recent post it sounds like you were hoping to bring this
discussion to a conclusion, but I can't resist one more reply.

First, you write that:

>Today, anyone making a recording of K. 622 on traditional clarinet
>runs a risk for not performing the work on a basset clarinet. And
>any player in a position like Morales' has to come to grips with
>the issue. It is no longer a question that can be ignored and it
>certainly is not going to go away.

My question is, just what "risk" does a player take by not performing Mozart
on a basset clarinet? Certainly you don't mean the risk that Dan Leeson will
vehemently protest on the klarinet list? Perhaps you mean the risk of not
being a leader in the field of clarinetistry? I simply cannot agree.

Question #2: Do you feel the same way when clarinetists play the Brahms
symphonies (or sonatas, or quintet or trio) without using a German System
clarinet? After all, Brahms wrote his clarinet music for the German

Question #3: OK, this is a repeat from an earlier post, but you did not
respond and I am even more curious now: Since you feel robbed that you did
not get your money's worth and you heard "stale bread", would you have felt
more satisfied and content if someone had played the aria on the basset
clarinet, but played it terribly? Because you still seem to use the
"clarinet vs. basset clarinet" issue as a yardstick by which your overall
opinion of the performance (or, perhaps more accurately, the performer) is

Ultimately, it seems that the "revolution" you so lament will not be halted
unless every clarinetist in a major orchestra plays Mozart on basset
clarinets. Yet this would then logically extend further, to the Brahms
example I cited above, and, expanding to the entire orchestral world, would
continue to an insistance that all flutists play baroque and classical music
on wooden flutes, etc...

It seems that a more inclusive and logical approach would be to let those
who want to play this music on the instruments for which it was originally
written do so (as many have), while at the same time recognize that many of
today's successful instrumentalists, who have developed their extraordinary
talents on specific instruments currently in vogue, will play the same music
on the instruments to which they are accustomed.

Perhaps Ricardo Morales is not a leader in bringing the clarinet world back
to playing Mozart on the basset clarinet. Yet this is not the only way in
which a prominent clarinetist can be a leader; in my view, he is most
certainly a leader in representing some of the most exquisite clarinet
playing that can be heard today.

Gary Ginstling
Los Angeles, CA

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