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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001015.txt from 1997/12

From: Larry Paikin <>
Subj: Re: Morales, from Morales
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 17:52:41 -0500

Mr Morales,
thank you for your thoughtful and valuable response to klarinet's tito dilemma. I
salute your respectful
and generous tone (sic), given the unkindness of some of the letter-writers.
I admire your exraordinary career accomplishments and will follow the met's
broadcasts with renewed interest.


> Often when I find the time, I enjoy browsing through this list here for
> interesting reading. I have never felt the need to interject my opinion along
> the way, although I must say I was rather suprised by a recent post. As a
> rule, I try not to take things too personally. I have discovered rather
> quickly that entering a position similiar to mine opens me up to intense
> scrutiny and criticism and it all comes with the job. I don't mind one bit
> reading positive or negative responses to my playing, that is what the entire
> learning process is about. What I do mind is what seems to be an attack
> pointing at my age as a culprit for some degree of immaturity or lack of
> knowledge about music.
> In the Mets "Tito" broadcast on the radio, it was pointed out to the readers
> that I played the great "Parto" aria on the wrong clarinet. That is correct. I
> did play the aria on the standard B flat. Mr. Leeson was kind enough to list
> four reasons why I might have done this:
> <1) The conductor (Maestro James Levine) insisted on a performance played on
> traditional clarinet.
> 2)Morales was unable to find a basset clarinet that had the required
> professional characteristics and this was compelled to ignore the explict
> performance instructions.
> 3)Morales would have liked to play it on the proper instrument but does not
> own one and decided not to incur the expense of one for such a rare occasion.
> 4)Morales does not know for what instrument the work is scored.>
> He continued, in his opinion to say he considered the fourth to be the most
> likely, mentioning that I was twenty when I got my first job and therefore had
> no time to complete my studies and little oppurtunity to get to know things
> associated with music outside of playing.
> About the age thing he is correct. I did not complete my studies beyond the
> freshman year of college. When I left for my first job I was eighteen.
> I was very, very aware of the instrumentation in the "Parto" aria. As we all
> know now, it is scored for basset clarinet in Bflat not A as in the Mozart
> Concerto. And for those of you wondering which of the four reasons stated
> above kept me from using the proper instrument, let me assure it was not as
> easy as any of those stated, more a combination of many.
> For those who truly know me, I hate to admit it, but I am a gadget man. :-) I
> love new toys and I have a relatively open mind in regards to equipment as
> long as I find it acceptable to my standards. It is not in my nature to just
> purchase something to have it, I must love it (or else the wife will get very
> angry....LOL....:-)...) I did do research to see if I could find an instrument
> I would consider suitable to play. (As someone mentioned in a previous post,
> many opera houses OWN these instruments and have them available for their
> players to use. The Met is not one of these houses....not at the moment.) I
> called all of the french major manufacturers and discovered rather quickly
> that these are not in production, only basset clarinets in A (for the Mozart
> Concerto) are being offered by a few of these companies. Most of the
> recordings made with the proper notes played are either on original
> instruments or German ones. Someone else pointed out that there was a
> possibility for me to have one specially made....well, to that I can only say
> that the Met knew of the season far more in advance than I (I choose to deal
> with one season at a time for my own sanity :-).....) I have though, mentioned
> to the Met the need to purchase certain instruments. For years I have been
> asking for a proper working basset horn, and yes, this year a basset clarinet
> in Bflat.....but these things do not suddenly appear out of the sky. The Met
> has a budget like all orchestras in this country and certain monies each year
> are set aside for certain things.
> I think that this post about the proper instrumentation for "Tito" was and is
> interesting to say the least. Yes it is written for basset clarinet in Bflat.
> But because a person is young or didn't finish school has no barring on their
> musical choices or knowledge.
> Lets see. You all will have to pardon me as I am not sure where all these
> clips have come from (I am rather new at this computer stuff and haven't
> learned how to clip from articles :-)....sorry....)
> <Interesting point: Did anyone at the Met announce or on the broadcast
> announce that "we present Mozart's opera almost the way he wrote it? " >
> No...I am sorry to say there was no announcement like this made...and had
> there been the need I am sure Maestro Levine would have seen fit to do so. Do
> you go to many operas? Many times aria keys and even at times notes are
> adjusted to singers who...."can't hit the high notes"...this too is not what
> the composer wrote. (We could go on forever discussing instances in where the
> actual written part can differentiate from many of todays performances) There
> is no need for an announcement, a bit of history at the Met will tell you that
> this aria has been played for many years before me on the regular Bflat
> clarinet and will most likely continue for years after me. (It doesn't make it
> right...but that is the history) For those of you who have asked.....yes...the
> part on my stand was written with both parts on it.
> In closing, I am not defending or denying I played the aria on a clarinet
> other than the one the aria was written for. And I am well aware that no
> reason I could give would be good enough to satisfy everyone. So let me just
> say.... keep up the interesting posts about all subjects, I look forward to
> reading more on a variety of different subjects. :-)
> Sincerely,
> Ricardo Morales, Principal Clarinet, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
> PS- Although I would love to continue to talk about these posts all day and
> evening long, it is really not possible for me. So, if you decide to address
> me on this or any other matter, please do not get offended at the tremedous
> amount of time it takes for me to respond back. :-) Sorry.
> PSS- I did however forget to mention in all the jibber above that I indeed own
> a basset. A Basset Hound named Britanny......and she has a marvelous tone when
> singing at home. :-)

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