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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000049.txt from 2000/09

From: "Karl Krelove" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] An interesting story about Schoenberg
Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2000 11:21:32 -0400

Of course, another possibility is that the story was basically true except
that it was actually some other piece by some other, not so acute,
composer/conductor, then re-applied by some storyteller who disliked
Schoenberg or his music and wanted to make a point. Do you play the game in
England we call "Whispering Down the Lane?"

I've actually had the experience of inadvertently playing an unfamiliar
12-tone serial piece on the wrong clarinet for an extended part of a
rehearsal with neither the other players nor the conductor noticing. But it
wasn't Schoenberg, either as conductor or as composer, and it was in fact a
local conductor who I'm not sure to this day would have noticed if I'd been
doing Beethoven 5 on the wrong instrument. In fact, it's happened more than
once to me. Add that to one or two occasions when I've gotten parts for
serial compositions on which the copyist had failed to specify which
clarinet was intended (once the conductor didn't know either).

Karl Krelove

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tony Pay []
> Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2000 4:32 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [kl] An interesting story about Schoenberg
> On Sat, 02 Sep 2000 17:48:56 -0700, said:
> > "At one point the clarinetist Polatschek leaned over to whisper to
> > Burghauser that he had just discovered he had by mistake been playing
> > a clarinet in B-flat instead of the one in A specified in the score,
> > and Schoenberg hadn't noticed it -- which led to Burghauser's
> > suggestion that the musicians play wrong notes to see if Schoenberg
> > would hear them, and their discovery that he did not hear them."
> It's difficult to know what to make of stories like this. We know that
> anecdotes often get exaggerated and elaborated in the telling, if
> they're passed from one person to another -- and even if they're told a
> large number of times by one person.

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