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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000624.txt from 2001/07

From: Cindy Christensen <>
Subj: [kl] German clarinetists defend German system
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 16:48:23 -0400

We also read those letters in the German magazine and they really upset
us. To tell you the truth, we were working on translating those letters
too so we could post them on this list, but David beat us to it. Good
job David. Translating is not easy!

Since we live in Germany, these letters cause us deep concern. My son is
studying right now with Eduard Brunner, one of the finest clarinetists
and teachers in the world. He plays Boehm system and teaches at a German
"Musikhochschule" in Saarbruecken similar to the one where they are
considering hiring a man from Israel. Naturally, most of Brunner's
students play German system and do you think any of them are
dissatisfied with their teacher? If they were, they'd go somewhere else.
They also aren't changing systems just because their teacher plays a
different system.
I'm very disappointed in people like Sabine Meyer that she would sign
such a petition. She plays regularly with Eddie Daniels and other Boehm
players. She herself had trouble with the prejudices of members of the
Berlin Philharmonic because she's a woman. I did notice that her brother
and husband didn't sign though. I'm also surprised Daniel Barenboim
signed. The clarinetists in the Chicago symphony were mentioned in the
letter as playing German system for German works they do at Barenboim's
request. That's perfectly fine, but I'm sure the clarinetists in the
orchestra had their choice. They problem considered a fun challenge and
went for it. My question now is why don't the clarinetists in the Berlin
Philharmonic play French system when they perform French or American
works? How can they justify playing "Rhapsody in Blue" on German system?

My husband and I both learned Boehm system in America. When we moved
here, we switched to German system and played that for 17 years! We have
now switched back to Boehm. Playing German system was a good experience,
and we enjoyed it and learned a lot, but we're very glad to be back
playing Boehm system. We really can see the advantages of Boehm system.
Students who learn on Boehm system progress so much faster than the
Oehler system students. There are so many unnecessary problems they have
because of the wide hand spread, rollers, forked fingerings, etc. I
sometimes feel so sorry for my students playing German system because I
know it would be so much easier if they played Boehm.

I think the Germans shouldn't worry about whether their system dies out
or not. If people want it, they'll continue playing it. If not, they'll
switch. So what? There are much greater differences between the way
people sound in various countries than the way one sounds on a German
system clarinet compared to one playing Boehm system. It depends more on
the player than what system he plays. When my husband and I switched, no
one in the orchestras we play in or anyone around here even noticed. We
play with German system players all the time and mix in just fine. By
the way, it's really no problem switching if one wants to. It's not
really a big deal at all.

I'd love to hear others comments about this.
Cindy in Germany

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