Klarinet Archive - Posting 000642.txt from 2002/06
From: Neil Leupold <leupold_1@-----.com>
Subj: Re: [kl] Vibrato REDUX
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 15:56:30 -0400
Is was wrong? Was were right? Really Richard, ask though I
might, I think the former was actually right!
--- Richard Bush <rbushidioglot@-----.com> wrote:
> Change "was" to "were" in the second sentence of the second
> Richard Bush wrote:
> > In my formative years (assuming I've now taken on a form), I remember
> > vividly the flap that Reginald Kell presented to the clarinet world.
> > "How dare he do these things...." many would say. At least he got some
> > attention for his efforts, though not a lot of it was positive.
> > Maybe I'm just a gumba, but I liked "some" of what he did. I also happen
> > to like some of the oldest, rankest, most unschooled clarinet playing
> > that was first recorded in the 1920's. Right now, I think the only
> > clarinet player I don't like is one thick tongued lady who lives and
> > records in Britain.
> > Vibrato, I think is more of an issue with classically trained American
> > clarinetists than in other countries because America is the birthplace
> > of "jazz" and "legit" musicians don't want to associate themselves with
> > those who can't play the hardest of the method books.
> > I'm always fascinated when I hear the clarinet played in different ways.
> > What a wonderfully expressive and diverse instrument it is when played
> > by people of different backgrounds. Does anybody here like Jimmy
> > Giuffre, by chance?
> > Daniel Leeson wrote:
> >> The notes below from Jeremy Schiffer deserve some response. That
> >> response appears following Jeremy's postings.
> >> First posting:
> >>> Stoltzman, I can do without very well. I have never liked his sound. I
> >>> have a personal aversion to vibrato in classical clarinet performance. I
> >>> won't buy his recordings. He played in Nashville with the NSO a
> >>> couple of
> >>> years ago. A friend who teaches middle school band took his clarinet
> >>> section to the concert, and said he regreted it; hoping that they
> >>> wouldn't
> >>> try to copy Stoltzman's sound.
> >> Second posting:
> >> Just to follow up on my previous point of not liking Richard Stoltzman,
> >> I
> >> want to make clear that I have no aversion to vibrato in classical
> >> clarinet music. In fact, I use it often. If you've listened to my mp3s
> >> of
> >> the Dvorak Serenade (especially the third movement), you'd know that.
> >> :-)
> >> This comes from having studied with a British teacher in high school
> >> (John Denman), who was a big proponent of vibrato - though he warned me
> >> that most Americans won't accept it, and to be careful, especially in
> >> orchestra auditions, because it can count against you.
> >> However, that doesn't mean that I think vibrato is always appropriate,
> >> or
> >> always done well. I like the way Benny Goodman used it, but not the way
> >> Stoltzman always does. To be honest, there's a lot of stuff that David
> >> Krakauer does that I'm not thrilled to hear; it's just not very musical
> >> (to my ears). That's not to say that I don't like his playing, but there
> >> are aspects of his playing that I wouldn't strive to emulate. I much
> >> prefer the more straight forward (less experimental?) playing of Margot
> >> Leverett (which is a big reason why I recently started studying klezmer
> >> with her).
> >> Of course, I also happen to really like Evan Ziporyn's "This is Not a
> >> Clarinet" so who am I to comment? :-)
> >> -Jeremy Schiffer
> >> 1st Clarinet, Columbia Wind Ensemble
> >> Clarinet, Columbia Klezmer Band
> >> Leeson's response:
> >> There are several things that I'd like to comment on here because Jeremy
> >> begins his posting with a statement sufficiently strong that he felt it
> >> necessary to clarify what he had said in his second posting. There's
> >> something Freudian there. He may have an unfulfilled desire to visit
> >> Yellowstone National Park or whatnot.
> >> As a complete irrelevancy, I'd like to mention that I like Stolzman's
> >> playing and I have no idea if his sound is measureably different from
> >> most other clarinetists trained as he was, namely in classical
> >> performance. I know that it is easy to say, "I don't like his sound,"
> >> but that is a pile of doo-doo as a statement in itself, because one can
> >> make it without any explanation that is objective, clear, rational, or
> >> useful. When pressed for some reasons, many players will say (as if it
> >> is the obvious cause behind Stolzman's suggested-to-be-unpleasant
> >> sound), "He plays double lip," (which he does by the way). And that
> >> sort of closes out the conversation as if some rational reason has been
> >> given for his allegedly ugly sound.
> >> Mind you, I think Jeremy has a perfect right to like what he likes and
> >> hate what he hates. It's a free country. But while he begins his
> >> comments innocently enough, his later remarks appear to me as if he is
> >> expressing what he believes to be clarinet-playing orthodoxy. Maybe
> >> that is not his intention, but that is the way it reads at this end.
> >> And maybe I'm being unfair to him. However, I try to read between the
> >> lines, and that is what I think is on Jeremy's mind. Maybe I have an
> >> unfulfilled desire to visit Yellowstone National Park.
> >> Clarinet players in America more than anywhere else, are neurotic about
> >> the use of vibrato. Those who don't use it are sure they don't like it,
> >> but that may be because they have little experience with it. It's
> >> perceived as being unAmerican, which means it is either French or,
> >> worse, Reginald Kell-ish. Some that do use it do so in a very
> >> apologetic manner; i.e., "I use it but sparingly, quietly, you don't
> >> even know I'm doing it. It's hardly noticeable. You won't even hear it.
> >> It's really not that there at all."
> >> We have been through this vibrato neurosis on multiple occasions, but
> >> new people come on the list and don't read what the various players said
> >> last year and the year before and the year before that.
> >> It was this attitude towards vibrato playing that ruined Kell's American
> >> career more than anything else, though, in my opinion it was the
> >> exceptional brilliance of his playing that caused most American players
> >> to run for the hills, not his vibrato.
> >> I'm not suggesting that the subject vanish or that anyone take a
> >> position other than that which they feel to be true. But unless someone
> >> is prepared to be more specific, objective, and rational, expressions
> >> about "not liking xxx's vibrato" just don't represent either anything
> >> more than a particular personal opinion or a statement about clarinet
> >> sound orthodoxy.
> >> In my opinion, vibrato, like wooden vs. metal clarinets, sound
> >> production, clarinets in C, the lovely French sound, etc. is just part
> >> of the "great misunderstood and therefore disliked" in American clarinet
> >> playing.
> >> P.S. And I like Krakauer's sound too!
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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