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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000746.txt from 1999/01

Subj: Re: [kl] Ridenour's ratings
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 19:22:15 -0500

>On Sat, 16 Jan 1999, TOM RIDENOUR wrote:
>> What I am saying, Roger, is that Ricardo's winning with the Leblanc proves
>> that the instrument is no handicap; that is was an equal and viable
>> instrument, and many, many very fine players agree. Larry Combs told me
>> the Opus he had made his old Buffet "feel like an unfinished instrument".
>> Further, to think that someone with Ricardo's skill and command of the
>> instrument would be stupid enough to play something inferior on such an
>> important occasion doesn't stack up with reason; he played it because he
>> thought it was the best; he even had to buy his first Opus clarinets.
>> I don't accept this old rationalization, "Oh, well, he could have won on
>> anything."
Roger said:
>No offense Tom, but my post was really only to point out that, while you
>have some good reasons for believing that the Buffet is inferior and the
>the Leblanc is better (for the reasons you have described), there are
>other aspects about the Buffet that people other than Morales and Combs
>like better than the Leblanc. Wonderful players still play on Buffet
>clarinets - some play easily as well as Combs (of whom I have the highest
>regard BTW). Larry told me that he loves his Opus A but is still looking
>for a Bb that plays as well........I guess there are things about every
>instrument that require adjustment.

I don't contend with what you say here, nor did I state anything to the
contrary of it in a previous post.

Roger went on:
>Because you believe it is inferior....for the reasons you have
>stated.....doesn't necessarily make it inferior,

I did not make a blanket statement and say the buffet was absolutely
inferior, only that it was inferior in those respects I mentioned. To make
such a blanket statement, one would have to consider the whole instrument
in the light of the whole vision of music and clarinet playing a specific
individual might have.

nor does it convince me
>that mine is inferior, that David Shifrin's is inferior, that Yoshinori
>Nakao's is inferior, that ......etc. etc. etc.
I am not interested in convincing you. A Lister ask for my opinion, I
offered it. My opinion is not uninformed or based on subjectivity. I did
not say, "I feel the tone of this or that is better", I said something
more like, "here is an aspect of playing or technique, generally speaking
the Buffet R-13 does not do that as well" and so on.
Never did I say you should play it because Larry or Ricardo plays it.
That would be ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as implying in a statement
that since the majority of players play the instrument it is beyond
reproach or criticism, and any critical technical analysis offered must be
unfounded and only someone's private opinion.
>> It may be true he could win on a variety of instrument, but he didn't; he
>> won on a Leblanc and it was his free, unfettered choice to do so.
>> But why do people bring up such a statement? What is the psychology
>>behind it?
>> When a Buffet players hears someone wins with a Buffet do they say ..."
>> Oh, he could have won on anything". Or course not. He just silently
>> reflects, "This is a confirmation that I am playing the best instrument."
>Well, I brought it up because you did Tom. Your implication was that he
>won because of the Leblanc.

Forgive me, but that is utterly erroneous, Roger. My statement was that
his winning proves that one _can_ win on a Leblanc. The fact that Larry
plays it successfully in the CSO proves that it _can_ be played
successfully and with satisfaction when musical standards are high. from
both the player and the conductor. No where did I say that Larrry is
successful because he plays a Leblanc.
But , rather than rationalizing Ricardo's success with the Leblanc by
saying "he could win on anythng", I wonder why clarinetists don't reflect,
" If he is that good to win, there must be some reason that he has chosen
the Leblanc. Maybe this is something I should seriously consider."

I just wanted to be clear on what you were
>saying. People have won on Buffets too.....even though you feel they are
>inferior (which is fine) - I'm just trying to present the position that
>you are not providing.

First, Roger, I mentioned nothing about my "feelings". I just spoke about
various acoustical aspects of the instruments that I am familiar with.

>> Saying it about a Leblanc player is just a rationalization to excuse them
>> from not thinking seriously about their art and hanging with the status quo
>> as if its' the unimpeachable sine qua non. They try to confirm this
>> notion and fend off any insecurity by saying such non-sense. They are self
>> deluded.
>> Such a statement is just like the one is Francois' note when he gives the
>> "argument from the majority".
>> Examine it and you see it holds no water. It does not mean what one want
>> you to think it means.
>My apologies for disagreeing with this. I believe it does "hold water."
>Even though we didn't say even the same thing - and you feel we did,

I did not say that you said the same thing, but that the statements are the
same in that, when examined, do not lead to such a simple and obvious

>you have missed the essence of the point of what both he and I have been
>trying to say - that there are good reasons why the majority still use
>Buffet - there is a reason why I didn't switch when the Opus came out and
>I was buying a new set, there are lots, and lots of reasons.

That is great. Why don't you share those reasons for us to consider,
especially since there are lots and lots of them. Rather than argue with
me, why don't you argue with my arguments, point for point.
For example, I say:
Higher register tube placement of the Concerto/Opus (similar to that of the
Festival and RC, corrects the sharp clarion "G" found to be a common fault
in R-13's, to a greater or lesser extent. This, fault, while present to
some degree in some Opus/Concertos, is not nearly as severe as in most
Buffet R-13's, and completely absent in some Opus/Concerto clarinets.

Now where did I say anything about my feelings in the above statement?
This has nothing to do with anybodies feelings. I'm either right or wrong.
If you think that is wrong, or needs modification, say so. It's that simple.

You don't
>have to endorse them or even believe in them if you don't want to!
>But.....there are as many good reasons for not playing Leblancs as there
>are for not playing Buffets as there are for not playing Selmers.

Any specifics you would care to share?

This is
>the reason we have many to choose from. Some people like Chevrolets, some
>people like really is up to the individual. The Leblanc is
>a wonderful instrument - but because it improves on one or two things that
>were pet peeves for the Buffet R-13, that doesn't mean it is perfect.

Roger continued:
>> So please, let's get away from the subjective and look at instruments for
>> their objective attributes. The "sheep" argument is equivalent to the
>> "lemming" argument.
>Clarinets ARE subjective Tom.

Absolutely not, Roger. Our needs differ, and are therefore subjective.
And it is those personal, subjective needs which we bring to bear upon our
choice of an instrument. The instrument itself is objective; it is what it
Whether chocolate cake or lemon pie is best depends upon the subjective
tastes of the individual, but the cake and pie, however, are, objectively,
what they are. If this were not true a person would never had the
reasonable expectation that his tastes might be satisfied; he might pick up
a lemon pie and find it tastes like strawberry-rhubarb cobbler, or begin
testing an R-13 and hear sounds he associates with a Rossi small bore
clarinet (a very good instrument).

I have argued this before. Music is
>subjective - reeds and mouthpieces are subjective.

To expect us, as
>professionals, to not be subjective in some ways when choosing the tool we
>want to play on is not only contradictory to what we do, it is
>unrealistic. I have my own, subjective beliefs that allow me to teach and
>perform successfully using those beliefs as the center of my success.
>Without such convictions, we would not be successful.

We all have individual tastes, and goals. But our ability to achieve them
will be severly limited unless we come to grips with the objective nature
of the concrete elements we must deal with as a means for the achievement
of those goals.
But the more rooted and conformed our understanding and approach is to the
realities of physics and acoustics the more easily and assuredly we will
progress and the more successful we will be.
In other words, the closer my subjective, personal understanding matches
with reality, that is, " what is", the easier time I will have of it.
For example. What if I convinced my self that gravity makes me fly? Does
my subjective position, no matter how strongly my feel and insist upon it,
cause the law of gravity to suspend when I step off the edge of a high
building? No. I die, or do grave injury to myself.
How then, do I fly? Defy the laws of gravity? No. I only fly when I
understand the true laws of gravity and laws which are implied in them,
such as the laws of aeordynamics.
There ARE some things, Roger, which can be clearly and objectively stated
regarding clarinets. For clarinets, mouthpieces, and reeds , being no
exception to the rest of the phenomenological universe, are subject to its'

>We could sit around and argue why the New York Phil. recording of Mahler 5
>with Bernstein is objectively better and more true to the score than the
>Vienna Phil. with the same conductor 20 years later....but it all boils
>down to is subjective to each person.

Not true. We could objectively say, This conductor played the pianissimo
at letter B as Mahler indicated, the other did not. That is objective and
empiracally observable.
But when You say, despite this, I "feel" that other conductor captures the
spirit and meaning of Mahler's intention; that is not as clear, and unless
you have some clear, objective historical evidence, you are wandering into

>I like your post that describes your findings and beliefs about the

I do have beliefs, or a philosophy,and feelings but I haven't articulated
either here. They are just observations.

You need to be secure in those beliefs.....
No, My beliefs need to be roots in objective reality.

It's a clarinet! It's not a religion!

Clarinets, like anything else, are subject to laws and truth.

> offense meant when I say that......the idea that we are
>arguing as a mass.......or a group of people who, you imply, are simply
>mindless souls who don't think or have the ability to think objectively,
>subjectively, logicaly, etc. in the same way that you do doesn't mean it
>is so. I LIKE my Buffet instruments - MUCH better than the Opus clarinets
>I have tried, much better than the Rossi instruments I have tried, much
>better than the Yamaha instruments I have tried, etc....... I hope my
>personal like for my Buffet doesn't, in your eyes, make me lesser of a
>human being?

Those matters, are, apples and oranges. Actually, I might think you more
of a human being if you did not play the clarinet at all;-)

Francois made all necessary
>arguements regarding any possible historical inaccuracies you might have
>made. The rest is for the list members themselves to decide.

Being corrected on a date is not an argument, it is simply a correction of
a date.
But I have said most of what I want as well.
Happy New year, Roger!

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