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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001057.txt from 2001/02

From: Daniel Leeson <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Landler of Mozart
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 08:57:45 -0500

This was a fascinating note, not only for what it said, but also the
analysis involved.

Both Tony and I are mathematically trained. Tony and I both read
matheamtics for our first degrees and, in my case considerably beyond
that. Perhaps Tony did too. And it shows in how he examines an issue.
It is invariably at a microscopic level but within the context of a
broad perspective; i.e., if the little things aren't considered to be
important, then the big things aren't going to work.

While I can't generalize too much, one of the things that I do notice
about people who have studied music without a strong mathematical basis
invariably work from the other direction; i.e., if the big picture is
OK, then the details will all take care of themeselves.

I mention these points only because I find Tony's arguments fascinating
for two reasons: (1) the arguments are invariably carefully thought out,
and (2) the underpinnings of his arguments are very much like the detail
one uses in establishing a mathematical proof, so analytical are they.

This has nothing to do with my agreements or disagreements with his
argumentation. After all, despite similar academic studies, we often
will wind up on the opposite ends of an analysis. I speak here only of
the value of a certain kind of intellectual training as a support for
the study of music.

What I am suggesting is that, as hard as it is to believe, study of the
excruciating details of epsilon/delta method of continuity theory is
helpful in playing Mozart right. Go figure.

Tony Pay wrote:
> On Mon, 26 Feb 2001 15:05:11 -0800, said:
> > Very interesting note. In Kell's case we are speaking about his
> > remarkable ability to play rubato extremely effectively. But he also
> > took great care never to change the tempo itself. That is, he might
> > very well alter the tempo of HIS part, but the string quartet drove
> > along without change. So Kell would rob time at the beginning of the
> > measure and then give it back by the end of the measure, and everything
> > worked out fine.
> >
> > What I don't think works well at all is when ALL the players decide to
> > do a rubato at the same moment and, in fact, I think that this is very
> > damaging to the overall tempo.
> >
> > So what Kell did was exactly the way Mozart described his on rubato
> > playing. He told his father that, while he might change the tempo in
> > one hand, the other one drove on unmercifully.
> Yes. I wasn't really thinking of the slow movements in Kell's
> recordings, but rather of the sorts of rubato he does in faster
> movements. (Mozart's comment was about tempo rubato in an Adagio.)
> Tempo rubato in an Adagio serves a particular function. Of course, what
> function Kell wants his rubato to serve in faster music is his own
> affair, but I have to say it often goes against what I would want it to
> do. As I said before, if your rubato always lingers on the first note,
> it has the effect of putting energy where you don't want it, at the end.
> Obviously, the effect appealed to Kell, or he wouldn't have done it, and
> clearly it appeals to others too. I wasn't particularly aware of it
> when I was 9 years old, but nowadays I feel that you lose more than you
> gain if you do it that way, particularly to the degree he does it.
> The business of the slight distortion of oom-cha cha in the Viennese
> waltz is a much more delicate affair, and except at wild moments (when
> the second beat is almost part of the first), it's almost imperceptible.
> A related issue is playing the string quaver movement in the Adagio of
> either quintet or concerto with the quavers 'not slow' at the beginning
> of the bar, and 'not fast' at the end of the bar.
> Compare the unease you generate if you make the repeated viola notes in
> the slow movement of the G minor Symphony 'linger' at the beginning. It
> all works much better if the time is 'taken', not at the beginning, but
> towards the end of the bar.
> The overall length of a bar is always the same, of course; it's just
> that there's a very delicate change of pace through each bar.
> > I am also not yet convinced that the Landler of which we are speaking
> > (the 2nd trio of the minuet of K. 581) has to have this done for every
> > performance; i.e., is this rubato playing a function of the player's
> > personality or is it a function of the Landler itself?
> I'd say the latter; but although it may be a part of the style of the
> Landler, it obviously admits of degrees, as it does in the Viennese
> waltz.
> The three minuets (the minuet and the two trios) 'play with' the
> relationship of the upbeat to the downbeat, and the nature of that play
> is quite naturally one of the things you modulate. In that context,
> these microchanges of beat placement have a quite objective purpose.
> Their effect, when combined with changes of dynamic and tonecolour, is
> to help divide the overall line into bars, to a greater or lesser
> degree. So you might have done that anyway with this trio, even without
> ever having heard of a Landler.
> Tony
> --
> _________ Tony Pay
> |ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
> | |ay Oxford OX2 6RE GMN artist:
> tel/fax 01865 553339
> .... Psychoceramics: The study of crackpots.
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** Dan Leeson **
** **

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