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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000299.txt from 2001/04

From: Neil Leupold <>
Subj: Re: [kl] On the matter of editing and other things
Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2001 21:44:58 -0400

Dan Leeson wrote:

> Well, they are terrific questions Neil, but that does not mean that
> they serve to answer anything.

They don't lead to definitive answers, correct, which is basically the
point of posing them. I'm glad you're astute enough to pick up on that.

> Such remarks are musings, items for woolgathering, but not responsible
> answers. Instead such off-the-cuff questions are used as an excuse to
> do anything one wishes.

Is this the only attitude, the sole interpretation, with which you are
able to respond? The questions weren't off-the-cuff. Here's one poss-
ible outcome, one possible train of thought, that could arise from some-
body thoughtfully considering the questions I posed. It's not a matter
of right or wrong. It's a matter of stimulation and exercise.

Composers didn't, and still do not, compose under conditions which allow
them to dismiss non-musical considerations while producing their "art."
They may have been artists, but unless they had other forms of income (or
were independently wealthy), their output always served at least one pri-
mary extra-musical purpose: to put money in their pockets -- to pay rent
and/or put food on the table. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven...Larson,
Rouse, Tower, a single composer of significance whose out-
put wasn't/isn't influenced in any way by the fact that their art doubles
as their meal ticket. Yes: they're deep, they're inspired, and they em-
body the noblest of human capacities. But they're human, just like we
instrumentalists. And they do what they must in order to satisfy the
demands and expectations of those from whom their money is coming. I
have never been comfortable with this dogmatic notion that composers'
output is meant to be inviolate and sacrosanct. It is compromised be-
fore the first note is even conceived, much less notated, by the fact
that its purpose is at least bipartite: one musical, the other economic.
This is a reflection of real life, which is the world in which composers
and instrumentalists and most sane people must operate. I've heard the
argument before that instrumentalists who make their living as musicians,
who are paid to play, have an obligation to be especially vigilant of a
composer's intentions and to strive for the utmost in authenticity of
performance practice. The paid musician is compromised in the same way
that a composer is, and I would submit that the amateur is far more be-
holden to the demands of the composer and his/her context, precisely be-
cause the amateur is untethered to any extramusical influences or ex-
pectations. In order to be consistent, perhaps amateurs should only
play music written by composers who don't make their money by writing

~ Neil

> Dan
> Neil Leupold wrote:
> >
> > --- Daniel Leeson <> wrote:
> >
> > > More and more we see performing musicians making the presumption that
> > > their experience gives them the authority to do almost anything they
> > > wish. At the smallest level, that is the same brand of ego that says,
> > > "I don't care if it says C clarinet. I'm a performer, not a truck
> > > horse. I shall play it on whatever clarinet I chose." And with that
> > > decision, made 1000 times a day worldwide by respected players, the
> > > orchestral palette of sound undergoes a fundamental alteration. It is
> > > nothing more or less than the production of music driven by economic and
> > > physical considerations instead of musical ones.
> >
> > Economic and physical considerations for producing music, instead of musical
> > ones. Composers past and present...were they and are they themselves driven
> > to produce music for music's sake alone? Did they and do they live in a vac-
> > uum, free (and inclined) to produce music purely for the art and pleasure and
> > personal fulfillment of the act and its outcome? Or were/are they, too, pos-
> > sibly also motivated by extra-musical considerations? Maybe even economic
> > and physical ones? And with the answers to these questions in mind, taking
> > a broader view, how truly eggregious are the economic and physically driven
> > compromises that composers' partners, the instrumentalists themselves, found/
> > find themselves making, while simultaneously attempting to serve the musical
> > considerations as well? Do we live in a world of clarity and absolutes?
> >
> > ~ Neil
> >
> > Do You Yahoo!?
> > Get email at your own domain with Yahoo! Mail.
> >
> >
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> ***************************
> ** Dan Leeson **
> ** **
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