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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000641.txt from 2000/07

From: "Keith" <>
Subj: [kl] Clarinetfest impressions
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 16:06:08 -0400

Beautifully described, Bill! There was a point at which I thought I wouldn't
be able to breathe any more!

There were indeed some wonderful moments, of which Carbonare's serious
playing as well as his vaudeville were high. I also really, really enjoyed
Larry Comb's playing of the Brahms Quintet, in which his exquisite tone and
musicianship blew most of the rest away.

Of the contemporary music players, I was the most impressed by Caroline
Hartig. She could really bring out in her playing the line, phrasing and
meaning of modern music, not just putting out a collection of notes. I would
like to hear a lot more of her. I was glad to hear the prodigious extended
technique of Bob Spring, too, and the way he made it serve the music.

The New Zealand trio, appropriately dressed in All Black, played some
excellent contemporary NZ trios for Eb soprano and bass, or soprano/2
basses, that were exciting and effective - music that is worth following up.

But I have to say this as well. There were quite a few players of
astonishing prodigy, who could spit out any random collection of notes at
high speed (and often did), whose sound was pretty unpleasant and who did
not make MUSIC. No sense of line, of phrasing, of emotional communication or
anything but pyrotechnics. I'm afraid they have had an undue emphasis on
technique in their training and nothing else. And don't think that I don't
like contemporary music - I've been playing it since it was classical ...
but the contrast with the players named above (and some others) was vast.

I was not quite as overboard in praise for The Kid (Julian Bliss) as most
were. Truly it was an astounding performance and he is a genuine prodigy. I
hope I live long enough to hear his mature playing, which should be
astounding. But at the moment his sound quality is not appealing to me, and
I'll wait a while!

As for the equipment show, that was like being a kid in a candy store.
Wonderful to be able to try out pretty much anything. I confirmed others'
opinions of the new Buffet Prestige bass (even better than the previous
model, which I have) and like Doug, I much enjoyed meeting Stephen Fox and
playing his instruments. I was impressed by Howarth clarinets as well.

For me, one of the most astounding clarinets on display was also the
cheapest - the Lyons C clarinet priced at about $175. Apparently this
actually gave Julian Bliss his start when he was about 4, because his family
knew the inventor! It's a plastic injection moulded instrument, shaped
something like a metal clarinet with protruding tube tone holes, and with a
very ingenious system of injection-moulded keywork that just snaps together.
The system is "simplified Boehm" - all the keys do what you expect, but the
alternatives and trill keys are omitted. Eb mouthpiece. The sound is real
clarinet, and I am considering getting it as my C instrument - can hardly go
wrong at the price. This really deserves to be better known, and I am
thinking of nominating it for a UK design award if it has not already got
one. If anyone has a young child to start on clarinet, take a good look at

And meeting so many of the Listers was terrific - thanks, Mark, for
arranging the Friday night bash and for all you do!

Keith Bowen

> ------------------------------
> Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 11:28:41 -0700 (PDT)
> To:
> From: (William Wright)
> Subject: Re: [kl] 'Fest antics
> Message-ID: <>
> <><> Neil=A0Leupold asked:
> Alright, now this is hardly fair. Now I'm REALLY jealous of everybody
> who was able to go to the Fest. What did he do?! Do tell!
> He did a classic time-honored comedy routine, but it was the
> *manner* in which he performed it, and the way that he adapted it to a
> clarinet audience, that brought the house down. I am mostly a
> non-demonstrative person (in the flesh), and his performance was the
> first time in 20 or 30 years that I have laughed so hard that I cried
> openly.
> The key to it was that Carbonari (sp?) is what the ladies would
> term "a hunk" who dressed immaculately in black, radiated virility, and
> played the most serious music in (IMO) the most beautiful manner. There
> was absolutely no hint whatsoever that this fellow could engage in
> shenanigans of any sort.
> After his third standing ovation, he consented to play one more
> piece -- Saint Saens, if my memory serves -- and then the accompanist
> began to do everything wrong. After trading scowls and shamefaced
> expressions and starting over again several times, Carbonari's clarinet
> fell apart; and then everything else went wrong. Carbonari went into
> satirical antics (with just a hint of truth in them) about adjusting his
> reed, blowing out the holes -- at one point, it actually looked as if
> his lips were going to fall off his face and he was going to slobber on
> the floor because he was blowing on the holes so maniacally. Then he
> tried to give his now-dripping-icky reed to the accompanist in hopes
> that the accompanist would put everything right -- that was the moment
> when I tipped over the edge and began to howl uncontrollably.
> The entire routine lasted 2-3 minutes, and when it was over,
> Carbonari resumed playing his encore seriously. Then the pianist
> decided (once again) to upstage Carbonari and hammer out some 'ffffff'
> chords, so Carbonari pulled out a pistol and shot the accompanist.
> It was classic vaudeville, a la Jimmy Durante and Victor Borge, but
> it was done to perfection. As they say, t was worth the price of
> admission by itself.

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