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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001339.txt from 1998/03

From: (Gary L Smith)
Subj: David Shifren with Alabama SO
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 21:18:02 -0500

I got a chance to hear David Shifren play the Mozart Clarinet Concerto
(with basset clarinet) with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra last night.
PHE-nominal. Odd the things you notice about someone of that caliber, but
from where I sat (back row of a reasonably small hall - I was ushering) I
was struck by his ability to fade his tone into nothingness, then bring
it back without a trace of airiness, buzz, etc.(maybe I noticed this
because the first thing I played in my recent recital was Concertino, and
the first note calls for an air-to-tone effect...) I might have noticed
more in the first row, but as I said it was a small hall, and he seemed
to have everyone spell-bound. He and the ASO were great. He played a game
with the audience: make facial expressions and stick the horn in your
mouth every time the introduction *sounds* like the clarinet is about to
come in. Finally, a Grecian Formula report: his pictures (including the
newspaper ad for this concert) show him with black hair and beard, but
he's quite grey.

Since I can't begin to actually describe the performance, I'll just run
down how he would stack up on the latest Klarinet List Important Topics
Scoreboard. You will, of course, have to grade him based on your own
personal beliefs:

- Vibrato: apparent on sustained notes.
- Playing from Memory?: Yes.
- Authenticity:
-plays with Basset Clarinet (+)
-it's Boehm system, not period (-)
-there's not a definitive score for Basset anyway (?)
- Ligature: apparently some species of Rovner or other fabric
- Type of reed used: couldn't tell.
- Does he call an Eb an eefer?: It didn't come up.

On this last point, the Berlioz Symphony Fantastique, Op. 14 was played
as well, and the program notes allude to "a shrieking E-flat clarinet in
the finale." At least the writer didn't call it "a shrieking eefer in the
finale." :-)


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