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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000640.txt from 2000/09

Subj: RE: [kl] Espressivo, Brahms Sonata #2
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 12:38:48 -0400

At 11:24 AM 9/21/2000 -0500, you wrote:
>I am forced to conclude that you are obsessing far too much about the word
>"espressivo." It means just what it says, play expressively. In answer to
>your original question, is it ever appropriate to play inexpressively, my
>answer is yes. For one example, if you are playing background parts in an
>ensemble, such as arpeggiated chords or other "noodling," trying to play
>super expressively can be distracting to other players. I remember well a
>flute player playing the second flute part in Ravel's Bolero, who tried to
>use vibrato on every note of the part, which is essentially the same as the
>snare drum part. The result was about the most comical effect you can
>But, it is not really the instructions in the score, but rather the internal
>musical content that tells us when to play expressively, how expressively to
>play, and how to accomplish that. Determining those things is subjective,
>and accounts for the fact that performers have individual styles.

This is the best description I've seen posted yet on this subject. Thanks Ed!

A colleague at one of the neighboring institutions (a bassoonist I play
poker with) told me that he has a half a dozen recordings of the Brahms
Sonatas with all the big name artists. His opinion is that everyone is
trying to do too much with Brahms. I'm not sure I agree with him, but
there is something to be said for simplicity when it is needed!

Roger Garrett

Roger Garrett
Professor of Clarinet
Director, Symphonic Winds
Head, Recording Studio
Illinois Wesleyan University
School of Music
Bloomington, IL 61702-2900
(309) 556-3268

"A man never discloses his own character so cldarly as wehn he describes
Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825)

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