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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000391.txt from 2001/04

From: "Gregory Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Re: Questions for former Marcellus Students
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 09:32:59 -0400

----- Original Message -----=20
From: "Bill Hausmann" <>
Subject: Re: [kl] Re: Questions for former Marcellus Students

> At 04:32 AM 4/17/2001 -0500, you Gregory Smith wrote:
> D. Leeson said:>I do not want to get into a dispute about the=20
> recording. My objective
> > >was simply to state that the Marcellus recording does not hold the
> > >universally positive opinion from all clarinetists that I thought =
> > >were suggesting.
> >
> >No? What makes D. Leeson now a scholar in this catagory? His =
> >with many the top wind performers of the day? I would suggest that =
> >kind of statement is opinion only and not based on fact - a rather=20
> >unscholarly approach from a scholar of his stature. (No group by the =
> >can hold a "universally positive opinion" on anything, so =
unfortunately I=20
> >personally find this a statement of no useful value.)
> All Dan said was that not EVERY clarinetist holds the opinion that the =

> Marcellus recording is the be-all and end-all. In that opinion, I can =

> state categorically that he is correct. I, too, find that it lacks =
> SPARK that would take it from "excellent" to "wonderful."
> Dan wrote:
> > >And while no other person has voiced a view on that performance on =
> > >list as part of this discussion, from the last time round on this, =
> > >believe that others may still hold similar opinions.
> >
> >Do you mean on this list? Or are you referring to the active =
> >wind professionals in the trenches (nationally & worldwide) that I=20
> >personally have found hold an opinion in most cases diametrically =
> >to what you say for the last 25 years?
> I'm sure he was referring to the list. I recall the discussion.
> For a statement that is so correct as it stands, so calmly stated, and =

> including remarks in a later post that indicate his highest respect =
> Marcellus' OTHER recordings, Dan's comment has certainly created a=20
> firestorm. For all of his fine qualities, Marcellus was not a GOD. =
> over it. And maybe lighten up just a touch?
>Bill Hausmann =20

Leesons' statement is in error by it's act of omission, not comission. =
He left out the part about how the whole discussion and following debate =
was then about authentic performance practice and how the performance =
was less great, boring, politically and musically conservative because =
of the supposed deliberate omission of improvisation. I argued to the =
contrary - that the music spoke for itself and taken for what the =
performance was, improvisation would not have helped the performance to =
be any greater than it was considering the style and taste of the =
performers at that time. They did not believe in it. Period.

Agreed, there is a "carefree" quality missing in the recording that =
Marcellus or Szell (or both) obviously thought inappropriate to this =
piece. That is why Marcellus always used the quote Szell used when Szell =
was criticised for his Mozart or Haydn being interpretively speaking, =
too boring or serious. Szell retorted, "You don't expect me to pour =
chocolate sauce over asparagus do you?"

Szell also said something else appropos I think about music making in =
general that reflected his seriousness about music making. In a Time =
magazine interview with him as the feature on the cover from 1963, "It =
is perfectly legitimate to prefer the hectic, the arhythmic, the untidy =
- but to my mind, great artistry is not disorderliness."

By the by, who said Marcellus was a God? Why all of this exaggeration =
about God? Didn't Neil bring the subject up? I got over that in grade =
school as I mentioned in my post to Neil. I did study with Marcellus in =
college but knew even then that no one deserved to be worshiped as =
perfection. He and I talked about the phenomenon in later years as =
friends when I came back to play in Chicago professionally for the =
orchestra and for ensembles that he directed at music festivals.


Gregory Smith

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