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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000135.txt from 1999/01

From: Roger Garrett <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Beethoven Trios
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 00:10:14 -0500

On Tue, 5 Jan 1999, Fred Jacobowitz wrote:
> The balance was not so much an issue then. If you follow the development
> of the three instruments, you'll find that both the piano and clarinet
> have made HUGE strides in volume of sound produced, while people are
> STILL playing on 1700-1800's celli, and that cello construction has
> changed little in the intervening time. So now the balance problems are
> greater. The only solution is to learn how to play softly and
> delicately like a violinist and not fall into the trap so many
> clarinetists do of being a loud, aggressive, orchestra-oriented wind
> player. It can be done.

Excellent information! When I played the trio on tour in 1990 (Northwest
states), my wife was playing on an 1850 Neuner Cello. Balance was a real
problem on large stages because of the smaller (but sweet) tone of the
instrument she was using. This became an even bigger problem when we
played the Brahms Trio a year later. Subsequently, in 1995, Sara sold her
Neuner (that was a sad day for both of us) in favor of a brand new, 1995
Gary Garivalia Cello. We had traveled to Chicago and tried out a dozen or
so premium celli - ranging from $28,000 to $110,000! Imagine holding in
your hand an instrument that is worth more than your house!!! At any
rate, we had to admit that the $110,000 cello was far superior to anything
else, but the Garivalia was easily in the top four that she tried. And it
was only $18,000 ;) Her tone is much larger now, and, since we cannot
dampen the large 9 ft Steinway and I am playing on an R-13 Prestige with a
Pyne M facing - we are playing Beethoven in modern sounds - nicely
balanced - but completely unlike what would have been heard in Beethoven's

Kind of makes one wonder if Beethoven would have liked the sounds we have
today - but, of course, there will never be an answer to that question!

Roger Garrett
Professor of Clarinet
Director - Concert Band, Symphonic Winds & Titan Band
Advisor - Recording Studio
Illinois Wesleyan University

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