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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000956.txt from 2000/09

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] Silly things with Clarinets
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 16:52:30 -0400

On Fri, 29 Sep 2000 10:47:29 -0700, said:

> My orchestra plays a great deal of new music (about a third of the
> music programmed is a world premier). Over the years, we've played
> some really good stuff. Other stuff, well, not so good.
> I've been asked to do some interesting things, like
> -- rub a tone out of a tuned champagne glass. (Unfortunately, no
> champagne).
> -- remove the mouthpiece, and buzz into the barrel as if a brass
> mouthpiece.
> -- remove the mouthpiece, and play it sans clarinet.
> -- click keys. (This composer complained that the key clicks on my
> clarinet were not loud enough; could I please make it louder?)
> -- same composer -- asked me to strike the bell of my clarinet with a
> drumstick. (I did not.)

Yeah, that's my experience too (London Sinfonietta, for several years).

Don't understand why you didn't want to use the drumstick.

> In one piece, the clarinet solo was just unplayable; it was obviously
> composed by striking two index fingers at random at a keyboard.
> Random hemi-demi-semiquavers, multiple registers, all staccato. The
> composer must have been jilted by a clarinet player, because it was
> just painful to try and play. I brought it to the attention of the
> composer (a local university professor), pointing out that clarinets
> "just can't do that," hoping that she would be willing to rewrite the
> thing in a playable fashion. Her response was that I should practice
> -- her little book stated that clarinets could play within this range,
> and she couldn't see why these notes would be so hard.

Of course, the difficulty with the clarinet is that it can do
practically anything -- or rather, someone somewhere can do practically
anything on the clarinet.

They said that Stockhausen's Zeitmasse couldn't be played -- someone
called the complaints, "lazy dogmas of impossibility" -- but of course
it can.

I've always found that composers are amenable to modifications if you
approach them properly.

> . . . I bet it sounded great on her computer.
> We have tried to get the conductor to adopt a policy of playing only
> works by dead composers. They don't have to be dead very long, mind
> you, just dead enough not to skulk around in rehearsal snorting at the
> musicians.

Perhaps this is a particularly *American* thing. You have this
*confrontational* style, that we have very little experience of:-)

> When programmed works by live ones, we've offered to enforce the
> policy, too.

Doubtless your experience of working with micro$oft has helped there.

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

... Oh no, not another learning experience!

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