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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000616.txt from 1997/12

From: Ken Bryson <>
Subj: Re: More on Gervase
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 23:55:10 -0500


So, I wonder how I should instruct the oral surgeon. Perhaps it would
help if I arrived with a dental impression from Sabine Meyer or Karl
Leister or Robert Marcellus (post accident) and said "something like
this, please"?


John Gates wrote:
> Nancy,
> I should think that dental work would have a negative effect although I'm
> told that some years ago Robt. Marcellus was in an automobile wreck and had
> to have some reconstructive surgery on his mouth. Evidently he, and I have
> no memory as to how I heard this, told the surgeon how he wanted his teeth
> placed so that he would get even a more beautiful tone (sic!). Well the
> story goes that after the operation his tone was even more beautiful !!.
> Maybe somebody out there knows more about this?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ken Bryson <>
> To:>
> Date: Thursday, December 11, 1997 5:10 AM
> Subject: Re: More on Gervase
> >Thanks, John, for a very informative posting on de Peyer's career. I
> >appreciated your description of the excitement he brings to his
> >performances. I had been thinking recently about the difference in
> >reaction to his playing between my clarinetist friends and other
> >musicians--violinists, pianists, cellists--who are chamber music fans.
> >In general, the clarinetists are highly critical whereas the other
> >musicians (perhaps not burdened by a preconceived notion of the
> >"perfect" clarinet sound) are much more appreciative of him on general
> >musical terms. That said, even a clarinetist friend of mine, having
> >heard de Peyer's performance of the Weber Grand Duo last year, found my
> >Leister recording of the piece rather anemic and, well, boring by
> >comparison.
> >
> >I was also interested in the role that dental work can play in changing
> >one's tone quality. I am about to have two wisdom teeth extracted (the
> >only parts of my body that possess any wisdom at all, and I'm told
> >they've got to go!). I have heard many times of wind players' sound
> >being affected by dental work--generally, not for the better. It makes
> >sense that if changes of millimeters and less to the inside of a
> >mouthpiece can radically alter it's playing characteristics, that
> >changes to the inside of the mouth could do the same for a player. I am
> >curious if any members of the list have had personal experience of this?
> >Or the opposite, extensive dental work with no effect on sound?
> >
> >Nancy
> >
> >John Gates wrote:
> >>
> >> I realize that the recent thread on Gervase de Peyer is probably a couple
> of
> >> weeks old by now but I have not had an easy time getting this on the
> >> klarinet BBS. I think I finally have it, (the listserve), figured out
> and
> >> hope that those of you who were in one way or another touched by
> Gervase's
> >> playing will enjoy this.
> >>
> >> Today (12/5) I spent nearly an hour and read all the recent comments on
> >> Gervase de Peyer. Thanks for Mark's database!!! I think that with the
> >> exception of a very few (Nancy Sulfridge, Jim and Dan P) none of the
> >> commentaries have looked at the whole picture of what he has brought to
> >> performance.
> >>
> >> First of all his rhythm is compelling; I don't mean necessarily
> >> metronomic but the type that makes for very exciting playing. Heifetz
> had
> >> that same sort of quality. Secondly he has/had a wonderful sound in so
> many
> >> respects, however it certainly is not a beautiful tone all the time. He
> is
> >> able to play extremely brilliantly and then take the tone, when the music
> >> calls for it, and melt all that urgency into intimacy. Yes usually with
> an
> >> English style vibrato (thank you Haydn Draper and Reginald Kell). Who
> else
> >> does this? Thirdly he has the talent to walk out on stage and make the
> air
> >> sizzle with excitement. There is something very thrilling about Gervase.
> >> You know something is going to happen when he walks out on stage, in this
> >> respect he is a natural performer.
> >>
> >> Now for some info that any of you that have been affected positively
> or
> >> negatively by Gervase de Peyer's playing might find interesting.
> Sometime
> >> in the mid sixties he became very dissatisfied with mouthpieces. I
> studied
> >> off and on with him from 1966-68. I remember that he was always trying
> to
> >> find a mouthpiece that could give him the ability of playing with great
> >> flexibility. When he made the 2nd recording of the Weber Quintet (for
> >> EMI/angel) Cecil Aronowitz, violist with Melos ensemble, told me that he
> >> would squeak so much that took out a pocket knife and work on his
> mouthpiece
> >> when the rest of them listened to playbacks!! I remember once when he
> was
> >> about 40 yrs. old that he showed me a box with over a hundred mouthpieces
> >> that he had worked on.
> >>
> >> I think that after he came back to London after studying with Cahuzac
> he
> >> played his best. It was then that he just got into the London Symphony
> >> Orchestra and recorded his first Mozart Conc. (the one with the bassoon
> >> conc. on the other side). He played it like Weber. It was very fast and
> >> brilliant. Jim Lytthans has this recording. Incidentally he is the
> >> clarinetist on just about all the recordings of the LSO in the sixties.
> >> He's the clarinetist on the Joseph Krips Beethoven Cycle, all the Dvorak
> >> cycle with Istvan Kertez (also Galanta Dances with Kertez), and a slew of
> >> other ones. He also played Principal on all the Peter Maag Mendelssohn
> >> works (probably the greatest Scottish symphony ever recorded, thanks
> Peter
> >> Maag)
> >>
> >> Shortly after he recorded the Weber2/Spohr1, with the young Colin
> Davis
> >> conducting a rough sounding LSO, the Weber 5tet and Kegelstatt and a
> >> clarinet recital album including Le Tombeau de Ravel, Martinu Sonatina
> and
> >> Weber Grand duo Concertante. These recordings launched his career.
> There
> >> was a new voice on the clarinet, nobody had ever played like that before.
> >> Wow. All of a sudden the clarinet opened up an exciting experience, not
> >> just another beautiful sound. He could play like Kell but also with the
> >> energy of Horowitz.
> >>
> >> At any rate he had some dental work (never have an English dentist do
> >> work on your mouth) including a root canal sometime in 1967 and from then
> on
> >> his tone began to deteriorate, also he started squeaking a lot. I think
> >> that his dental work, and not therefore not being able to produce the
> tone
> >> he wanted to, and his drive to make the polarize the tempers of the music
> >> had a negative effect on certain aspects of his tone.
> >>
> >> I hope he is doing well, like Kell his career never did that well
> when
> >> he came to America and I know he's probably not all that happy with the
> way
> >> certain events have gone. He tried to launch a conducting career but it
> >> never took.
> >

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