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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000689.txt from 2002/05

From: Oliver Seely <>
Subj: [kl] Re: Beethoven's Opus 20/38 question.
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 18:50:38 -0400

Sorry that I never responded on the points made by Tony Pay on November 19,

He asked for clarification on a statement I made about a get-together of a
violist, a pianist and clarinetist -- that I had both the Opus 20 septet
(for winds and strings) and its reduction, the Opus 38 trio (for clarinet,
cello and piano), in my box. So the pianist and I played the piano and
clarinet parts for the trio and the violist played the viola part from the
septet and complained that it was a "tick-tack" accompanying part.

At a later date I decided to prepare a viola part better than that which
she had played from the septet. I had the septet in Finale format, but not
the trio, so trying to use the easiest approach I started with the cello
part from the septet, copied and pasted it to a new file, then transposed
it to alto clef. But I discovered that that is not what Beethoven did. He
created the cello part largely from the cello and bassoon parts of the
septet and to a minor extent from the viola and French horn parts.

So the answer is "yes" to Tony's question, "So do you mean that you had the
Finale score of the original Septet available; and the fact that you could
use that quite a lot was a valuable insight into how Beethoven had done the
transcription -- that is, more by mechanical than recompositional means?"

Regarding the Krommer Partitas, in response to my comment

> Krommer delighted me in an opposite sense: just as soon as I figured
> I could copy and paste one staff to another with a third transposition
> up or down and some manual shifting here and there to fourths, Krommer
> surprised me with an original part which I'd then have to return to
> and enter manually., Tony asked

"Here you were just entering the one work, right? There was no
transcription involved, apart from using the material from one instrument
to help in entering another.",

the answer is also "yes."

As regards his final comment about Mozart's K.388 octet for winds,

"I wonder what happens if you try to use the wind parts of K388 to
transcribe the string quintet version? My guess is that you wouldn't have
much luck, because of the way in which Mozart worked.",

it seems to me that that would be another valuable exercise. As luck would
have it, I just finished sequencing the octet last night. I'm going to do
the world premier Karaoke performance this afternoon and I'll put it on my
Web page for downloading soon thereafter. One of the four movements, I
think it was the fourth, shows Mozart in a great hurry when he got to the
bassoon parts. Copy and paste turned out to be the order of the day with a
pair of measures here and there which had to be entered by hand. (I can
just hear him saying, "Oh, screw the bassoons. Most people think they're
farting bedposts.") I was surprised by just how well copying and pasting
from the 1st bassoon part to the 2nd did the job. I was working from a
score in which the horns were lumped into one staff. I guess it was done
to save paper. In the spirit of Florence Foster Jenkins, my modern
edition, with eight separate staves, is without doubt "excellent -
virtually beyond improvement". There may be a note here or there that
gives me some concern. 8-)

By the way, the first three movements of K.388 were already available in
MIDI format at the Pierre Schwob site, but the guy who sequenced them
lumped each pair of instruments together on a single track, so playing
along meant that I'd have to mute the second clarinet as well. Moreover,
the sequencer created the files in a very stylized way and my attempt to
import the MIDI files into Finale ended up being a bust. So I did the
whole thing over. But all four movements are ready to be played!

I leave it to the budding string players among us to do the wind octet -->
sting quintet exercise.

Finally, I get together again with the same pianist and violist next
Thursday in Oakhurst, CA, near Yosemite (where my wife, even as I write, is
looking for a fixer-upper where her husband will be able to spend a restful
retirement! That woman watches far too much Home and Garden TV.)



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