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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000605.txt from 2000/07

From: "Tony Wakefield" <tony-wakefield@-----.net>
Subj: Re: [kl] enthused musings upon Mozart Concerto
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 18:10:49 -0400

Lelia,
There`s <nothing> that <anyone> can add to, subtract from, criticise or
disagree with, in my honest opinion, your <musings>.
I firmly agree with the concept that there is <no such thing> as <Art>,
only <human expression> in all it`s many different forms. I believe we have
far too much intellectual pretence for our own good. <DO>
whatever springs creatively into your mind. It is <not> "Art" - is <life>.
Play the concerto well. Play it badly. The expressiveness, whatever shape,
distorted or otherwise, if you are genuine, originates inside your own
soul. The technical ability used to realise this, is only a means to an end.
In the end, we all create and effuse the same amount of <giving>.
The best posting this year so far!!!
Tony W.
----- Original Message -----
From: <LeliaLoban@-----.com>
Subject: [kl] enthused musings upon Mozart Concerto

> I've learned a lot from the professionals and advanced amateurs
contributing
> to the threads on the Mozart concerto (under several headings now). It
> bothers me, though, that several people sing theme and variations on, "I
> refused to study this concerto at such-and-such time, because I wasn't
worthy
> of it, and of course I'm still not worthy of it." (I'm loosely
> paraphrasing.) I agree with the general idea that beginners could put
their
> time to better use than by tackling a professional-level concerto, but I
hope
> the "we're not ready yet" idea doesn't prove so contagious that adults and
> advanced students think they can best show respect for Mozart by putting
off,
> and putting off, and putting off learning his music. I think there's a
> danger of deifying Mozart, when the repertory of really first-class pieces
> for clarinet is so small.
>
> IMHO, an overly-fervent adoration of music or any other art can stifle the
> learning of it. When I taught English 1A (then the required freshman
> composition class) at the University of California at Davis, I was
surprised
> by the number of students who said they'd done almost no writing in the
lower
> grades. Apparently, certain school districts operated under the official
> policy, "They're not ready to write yet." (Not much has changed in 30
years,
> alas -- I was appalled to read quotations from a local public school
> principal saying the same thing in The Washington Post just a few days
ago!)
> Teachers in those schools spent the class time "getting the students ready
to
> write," with workbook drills. Not surprisingly, my students brought up
under
> such a regimen wrote poorly and suffered from severe writer's block. The
> mechanical drills had taught them to perform well . . . on drills. They
> seemed to think *real* writing was for *real* writers -- for Shakespeare,
not
> for them. How does someone learn to write, except by writing? I had to
> spend a lot of time in overcoming the intimidated, defeated attitudes of
> these students.
>
> I have the strong impression that something similar can happen with music.
> Yes, fundamentals are necessary. We need to learn them. But, how do we
get
> ready to play the Mozart concerto, or any other "real music," except by
> playing it? Progress isn't a steady march. It involves many small steps,
> some of them backwards. People need to take breaks - - take time to
> consolidate what we've learned. I know I learn something best by working
on
> it for awhile, setting it aside, then going back to it later and making a
> fresh start. Meanwhile, other studies will add something to my
understanding
> of the music.
>
> If I waited to study something until I was sure of getting it right the
first
> time, then chances are I'd never study anything and I'd die ignorant. It
> seems better to me to work on something and get it as close to right as I
can
> for now, set it aside, then go back later and try to get more of it right:
> build the Tower of Babel one brick at a time, from the bottom, not try to
set
> it down ready-made, from a helicopter on high. Isn't that a horrible
> metaphor?! Oh well, I can't think of an appropriate one right now. That
> doesn't mean I'm stuck with the horrible metaphor forever. I've
reconsidered
> it too late for *you*, of course, because here I go, shamelessly
performing
> my horrible metaphor in public -- but if I wanted to, I could decide not
to
> send this message, until I thought of a way to revise and improve it with
> (among other things) a less unfortunate metaphor.
>
> Similarly, I don't want to inflict my rendition of the Mozart concerto on
an
> audience. (Imagine one horrible metaphor after another.) I'll never be a
> pro musician and I hear no reason to think my Mozart will ever sound good
> enough for me to want anybody but Shadow and Dick Vigorous in the
audience,
> but for those of you do or *will* perform the Mozart in public, learning
an
> inadequate interpretation of it now isn't something to dread as if it
would
> condemn you to play it that way forever, any more than my horrible
metaphor
> above condemns me to write that way forever. If you don't like the way
> something sounds now, nothing stops you from changing it later. Even
> recording something, putting it on permanent record, need not end the
> learning process. The great performers revise even first-rate
> interpretations if they get the chance. Violinist Nathan Milstein
recorded
> the entire cycle of Bach's unaccompanied sonatas and partitas twice. Both
> sets are superb, IMHO, but they're different. Nothing wrong with that.
> Alfred Brendel did the same thing with Beethoven's piano concertos. I've
got
> both sets and wouldn't like to lose either of them.
>
> I resist the idea of setting up Mozart as some sort of holy icon, to whom
we
> must genuflect from a reverent distance for many years before we dare
> approach (crawling on our bellies). As far as I'm aware, Mozart wrote his
> music to be played, not worshipped. By the most rigorous standards, I've
got
> no business practicing the Mozart, since I'm an amateur who will never
play a
> concerto in public or with an orchestra, or even well enough that I'd want
> anybody else to listen to me. Yet I do practice the concerto, because I
love
> it, and because *playing it* as well as possible strikes me as a
completely
> appropriate way to show respect for it.
>
> Lelia

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