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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000904.txt from 1999/01

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] Subjective and Objective
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 19:15:10 -0500

On Mon, 18 Jan 1999 11:14:13 -0500, said:

> Tony wrote:

> > But it's perfectly possible *as a player* to come at the situation
> > from the other way around. Some players may indeed have "so much of
> > their personal lives "invested" in learning [a particular
> > instrument] that they [are] unwilling to consider anything else";
> > but others of us deliberately choose certain limitations -- like 5
> > key clarinets -- because we find, after considerable effort, that we
> > wind up with something different, interesting and expressively
> > generative. And sometimes our audiences agree, too.
> I agree, Tony. But I would be that it is interesting because of the
> insight it gives us about the past and past sensibilities (all of
> which are extra musical issues). But if the audience was asked they
> would probably say they would not care for a steady diet of it.
> Subjective differences aside, clarinets have really been improved at
> making music, and if Mozart were here he would write for the modern
> clarinet.

This is the other bit of your post that I want to respond to. I would
say that it's just not true that "clarinets have been improved for
making music."

It very much depends on what sort of music you're talking about.
They've been improved for making *some* music.

I definitely made a mistake writing above:

> > And sometimes our audiences agree, too.

...assuming that you would read it as an understatement. The truth is
that in cities where there are considerable concentrations of excellent
period instrument players, modern orchestras are hard put to compete in
the baroque and classical repertoire. This is now extending into Brahms
and even later. Far from "not caring for a steady diet of it",
audiences are demanding it.

At least a part of that is the 'special' quality that is brought to what
a modern orchestra regards as standard repertoire. I well remember when
we played the Brahms violin concerto for the first time a few years ago.
We were all going around saying, guess what *we're* playing! The
*Brahms violin concerto*!!! Wow! And it sounded really different on
gut strings, natural horns and simpler woodwind. Much clearer, much
more contrapuntal. And looking at the scores, I'd argue that this is a
very viable way of playing it.

Contrast this with the fact that performing the Brahms violin concerto
would hardly make a standard symphony orchestra break step, or look up.
Perhaps they might spend a couple of hours rehearsing it, top weight.

And while it's is certainly true that Mozart, had he lived today, would
have written for the modern clarinet, what's also true is that he
wouldn't have written Mozart -- or rather, he might have written music
under the name of Mozart, but it wouldn't have been the music we know.

The real Mozart's music was written in response to his situation within
a tradition, and for his sound-world, which was different from that of
modern instruments.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE GMN family artist:
tel/fax 01865 553339

... Hardware: The part you kick.

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