Advertising and Web Hosting on Woodwind.Org!

Klarinet Archive - Posting 000114.txt from 2002/02

From: Daniel Leeson <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Bassett clarinet
Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2002 22:58:43 -0500

I know the documentary well. In fact I had a copy made for me by a
friend in Australia where it was first shown. Unfortunately I lent the
tape to a friend and have not gotten it back.

The player was a Frenchman who wanted to have a basset horn in G made so
that he could play the Mozart concerto on it. It was very interesting
but full of technical errors. There was an interesting conversation
between the clarinetist (whose name escapes me) and H.C. Robbins Landon.
Landon speaks no French and the clarinetist spoke no English, but they
chatted on about the problems for some time. The player finally made a
G basset horn for himself and played the concerto, properly transposed
to G major. It was very interesting but hardly accurate.


Magnus Börjesson wrote:
> Has anyone heard of a TV-documentary about the "missing clarinet" that
> Mozart had in mind when he wrote the concerto. I saw it a couple of years
> ago. It was a man in Switzerland (I believe he was a historical instrument
> craftsman) and he had done some researching. He found some old bassethorns
> in a castle in Hungary. There was some great musical perfomances too ...
> Do anyone know if that documentary is on video somewhere to purchase?
> Magnus
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "David Glenn" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Friday, February 08, 2002 10:41 PM
> Subject: Re: [kl] Bassett clarinet
> > wrote:
> >
> > > I recently heard a very prominent clarinetist (for whom I have the
> greatest respect) perform Mozart on a bassett clarinet with a major symphony
> orchestra.
> > >
> > > My admiration for the performer notwithstanding, I was left cold by the
> performance. Among other issues, not related tom this topic, I found the use
> of the bassett clarinet disturbing.
> > >
> > > Two things bothered me. One was that the tone of the lowest "bassett"
> notes were "different", not in the same "character", as the tone of the rest
> on the chalumeau register. Secondly, they were sharp.
> > >
> > > I kept wishing that the artist was playing on his/her normal A clarinet.
> > >
> > > Lest Dan Leeson jump all over me, I will say that I love to hear the
> arpeggios played starting at "the bottom of the staircase". However, I do
> expect the bottom three steps to have the same character as the others
> above.
> > >
> > > Walter Grabner
> > >
> > >
> >
> > +++++++++++++++++++++++
> >
> > Walter,
> >
> > The basset tones are the greatest tones on the instrument! And that's why
> it's tempting at first to really let them boom out. But at some point, the
> clarinetist must realize that they are normal notes that just belong there
> > (as far as we can surmise since they MS is lost). Maybe your basset
> clarinetist was still (overly) fascinated by these new low notes??
> >
> > In fact, the Mozart was not written for a basset clarinet with a normal
> bell and that might also be part of the problem. Stadler's bell was not bell
> shaped but bulbuous. There is a picture at klarinet/clarinet but I don't
> > remember the URL. In fact, I'm having such a bell made for my modern
> basset A and am planning to do this performance on it. I tried a prototype
> already and was thrilled with it. I was inspired to do this by Eric Hoeprich
> who
> > has made such a bell for his own copy of the Stadler clarinet. I am
> waiting with baited breath for his new CD of the Mozart with this new bell.
> >
> > As for the pitch, it is difficult. My basset tones are tuned fairly well.
> But when I overblow the low F to get a C, it's very sharp unless I let it
> down. I think the problem is more difficult than with the normal-short
> > clarinet. In fact, I'm toying with the idea of adding an E-F mechanic to
> the A-basset.
> >
> > Hope you hear a nice Mozart performance soon!
> >
> > David
> >
> >
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------

** Dan Leeson **
** **


     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact