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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000150.txt from 2002/02

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] Mozart slow movement, grace note
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 08:05:52 -0500

On Mon, 11 Feb 2002 13:30:08 +0100, said:

> I guess I didn't make it clear but I intend to play that grace note
> how I feel it unless I am convinced that this is an historically false
> practice (which I already considered unlikely). My problem is more in
> how to *convince the conductor* (and the concertmistress) to play it
> the same as I do. I'm looking for a more weighty argument after
> failing to convince them that they should do it how I do it because I
> am the soloist.

The difference musically is that off the beat, there is no harmonic
clash, whereas on the beat there is an appoggiatura-type dissonance.

If you tell them that you think the melody calls for the piquancy
of the clash at that point, and play the rest of the melody (especially
the two previous bars) so that the clash clearly works, then that rather
more 'global' argument could convince them.

(Or you could argue the the other way around, if you happen to favour it
off the beat:-)

But actually, consistency between you is not such a big issue, I'd say,
even though I mostly ask the orchestra to do what I do at that point.

We're in the habit of throwing up our hands, and thinking inconsistency
implies a lack of attention; but varied decoration was commonplace at
the time, and 'rationalisation' of differences in a written score often
obscures a charming variety. Consider also how Mozart scores the
orchestral tuttis in different ways, finding a completely new harmony
for the second half of the main theme at the recapitulation.

I remember reading Neumann talking about the phrasing of the violin
theme of the Allegro of Symphony 39 in E flat. He was pointing out that
it is inconsistent between exposition and recapitulation, and that
Mozart might be said to be indifferent to phrasing at that point -- it
just wasn't important to him.

I'd rather say that both versions have life, if a slightly different
life, and that that's to be celebrated rather than ironed over. You can
have it either way, or in the case of Mozart 39 *both* ways, provided
you take each way seriously enough to have it work in its own terms.

By the way, IMO that particular gesture in the concerto is often
'overcelebrated' by players of the Mozart. It's almost totally
formulaic, and was written hundreds of times by many composers of the

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