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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000099.txt from 1999/01

From: David Bourque <>
Subj: [kl] Re: Basset horn vs. basset clarinet
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 1999 13:05:08 -0500

David Niethamer wrote:

>Richard Strauss also had a wide variety of sounds in mind for this
>instrument. If you are lucky enough to play the 4th book in Rosenkavalier
>(basset horn doubling bass clarinet), you'll find yourself playing 1st
>clarinet, 2nd clarinet, and bass(et) clarinet, all in the same book. It's
>a remarkable array of sounds.

Strauss used clarinets in a very specific way. David is right on about the
way this part is written. The bassethorn is a serious solo part. The
voicings are fascinating.

The third book has E flat, D (I believe) and A Clarinet. There are many
times during the opera where the A clarinet (the only A clarinet in the
score is in the third book) is playing solos while the first clarinet is
tacet. Same idea goes for the wind piece The Happy Workshop (many believe
it was inspired by K 361 -- check out the figures in the last movement).
There is a C clarinet part that is very much independent from Cl 1 & 2.
The C clarinet often plays tunes (Cl 1 is tacet) with the flutes and oboes
-- it definitely seems to blend better with them.

BTW, returning to the subject of Der Rosenkavalier, I once had opportunity
to play bassethorn in Strauss' opera Daphne. After slogging away
practicing the part, I was moaning that it was the hardest orchestral part
I had every played. That was until I looked again at my Rosenkavalier part
(bassethorn/bass clarinet). THAT is the hardest part I have ever played.

David Bourque
Bass Clarinet, Toronto Symphony Orchestra


Hey! Check out the TSO Musicians Website!


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