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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000666.txt from 2002/06

From: "Michael Norsworthy" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Stoltzman & Over-tuning a Clarinet--absurdity
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 09:16:40 -0400

> Could it be possible that his physical setup has something to
> do with this sound that some of you have described as not to
> your liking?

I suppose it is possible. One's setup does influence how one sounds.

> I understand that Kalman Opperman tuned his clarinet, and
> made his barrel and mouthpiece.
> Maybe some of those on this list that have the knowledge of hand
> tuningclarinets could confirm that it is possible to go to far in
> this quest for a perfect clarinet.

Perhaps you should call Kal and speak with him about this. I'm sure
he'd have quite enough to say, though probably not in the nicest manner!
This statement above is absurd and completely unwarranted. Kal only
seeks to make the instrument do what the great makers, i.e. Buffet, say
they will.

He doesn't re-bore the instrument, he doesn't break it in half and put
it back together again, and he certainly doesn't take the core out of
the sound! His barrels are made uniquely to match each individual
instrument and player, as are his mouthpieces. He does "tune" certain
notes on the instrument, as any good player would expect from his
repairman or acoustician, but then again, you've already supposed that.
(again with no firsthand knowledge to make informed opinions or
accusations) If you want to know exactly what Kal does to instruments,
call him and see what he tells you.

Speaking for myself as an Opperman, and yes, dare I say, a STOLTZMAN,
student, these two guys are simply about playing the instrument as well
as possible and about making music beautiful. If your equipment can
help you, by all means. There is no magic and certainly no voodoo
involved. Play on good equipment and sit down and practice. (btw,
you'd be astounded at the accuracy of Stoltzman's technique if you sat
down with him and heard him rip through the Opperman, Mimart, Baermann
or other exercises.)

Also, when discussing Stoltzman's playing... Why is it that noone
mentions the things they DO like? How about his beautiful legato,
phrasing, stacatto, dynamic range, or sound malleability? Does anyone
like these besides me? Quite frankly, I'm astounded every time I sit
down with him at his ability to do all of these after picking the
instrument up cold after a flight from Italy or elsewhere, much less
when he's had a chance to warm up.

> 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 agree wholeheartedly Dan. Could this be the case with Stoltzman as

> 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.

Again, I agree Dan. (btw, heard a wonderful proponent of the French
school last night, Philippe Cuper. Superb playing and very French!)

I won't be posting anymore on this topic because I believe it to be
somewhat ridiculous. IMHO, another case of jealousy. Stoltzman's out
there doing it every day, a lot of us are not. End of story for me.

In the essence of not getting into huge email arguments, I won't be
posting on this topic anymore to the list. If anyone would like to
email me privately, please feel free.

Opinions are opinions true enough, and everyone is entitled to theirs.
The talk about Stoltzman, however, is beginning to border on Hollywood
supposition for me though. Get to know him, you might learn something.

Best regards,
Michael Norsworthy


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