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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000070.txt from 2002/02

From: "Tony Wakefield" <>
Subj: [kl] Period clarinet reproductions and performance.
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 00:27:42 -0500

I have Tony Pay`s period clarinet recordings of the Weber concertos. I also
have 3 recordings (not Tony`s) of the Mozart concerto, 2 played on the
normal modern "A" instrument, and 1 on the modern "A" basset clarinet. I can
see an anomaly here.

My first question - if I may, is not solely directed at Tony, but he may be
able to shed some light on my query. Is there a period "A" basset clarinet?
Have any been manufactured for clarinettists` like Tony, who wish to perform
the Mozart as it may probably have been originally performed? I believe no
original basset clarinets have been discovered, but today`s intelligent
engineering must be able to reproduce something very close to what the
originals must have worked and looked like. This being the case, why is the
Mozart still being performed on <modern> basset instruments when it is very
common to perform the Weber works on repro period instruments? - in some
cases, original period instruments.

My second question is mainly directed at the professional performers. It is
probably only they who will be able to shed light on this - what are the
views of the professional concert artiste booking agencies, or orchestral
managements towards a clarinettist who still wishes to perform the Mozart
(or the Webers`) on modern instruments, especially the modern normal "A"
clarinet for the Mozart. Concerning the Mozart, is the modern normal "A"
taboo these days, or are the orchestras` not bothered which instrument is
used? Without involving audiences who sometimes can have funny toffee-nosed
attitudes, which sometimes cannot be ignored, what is the "musical" clarinet
world moving towards? I s`pose I`m a bit "old fashioned" `cos I can`t stand
the sound of a basset clarinet. To me it`s like a flute AND piccolo all in
one instrument, or an oboe and cor, or a bassoon and contra, or even a
trumpet and trombone.

And finally, for the historians, I believe that as the clarinet was still in
it`s development stage in that era of Weber and Mozart, experiments were
being made 100`s of times to find a "nice" sounding instrument. Mozart just
happened by accident(?) to come across the basset experiment, and he wrote
for it. It then faded into obscurity, and his publishers, maybe even he
himself then had to re-write it for the new instrument - the normal Bb and
A, quickly gaining in popularity over the basset. Plausible?

I`ve been quite ill for the past month with quite serious sciatica.
Hospitals, and three doctors have all been useless. I visited a chiropractic
clinic where the "quack" kneed me in the base of the spine quite violently,
and I`m walking around now in only a little pain. I have one more
appointment today with him - keep yo` fingers crossed for me.


Tony W. (Ouch)


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