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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000681.txt from 2002/06

Subj: [kl] So easy to throw stones...
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 12:09:29 -0400

All due respect to the many contributors here, but I have been reading some recent posts with irritation:

Someone said, regarding jazzers:

> 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.>

At the University of Oklahoma Symposium I heard Paquito D'Rivera and Ron Odrich perform. Both of these gentlemen have *** fantastic technique ***.

I wish mine was half as good.

I sat right next to Ron for about an hour listening to him try out reeds. He was playing jazz licks and an astounding variety of classical excerpts, all of course from memory. Again, astounding technique and musicianship. I'm sure Ron, and Paquito could easily show me up in ANY method book.

Regarding vibrato:

This issue of vibrato on clarinet has been fought for decades. Give it up. A very large population of successful clarinet players are out there using vibrato. May I list just a few names? Stoltzman, Shifrin, Michelle Gingras, Emma Thompson, Howard Klug .......

The battle is over, give it up. Vibrato is accepted. It's one more tool in the arsenal. Use it when appropriate. Don't use it when it isn't.

Regarding Stoltzman:

I don't like everything that Stoltzman has recorded. But then again, I don't like everything that any one person has ever played or recorded. I heard a Mozart Concerto performance, last year, played by a performer who I very much admire. That particular performance left me cold. But that doesn't say much except maybe about that one peformance.

I have had two Stoltzman "experiences", and I believe that I have related them here before, but I'm going to recount them again.

A couple of summers ago, Stoltzman did a recital at Ravinia. Since I can walk to Ravinia without raising a sweat, I thought I should go, even though I was expecting to NOT be pleased. As it turned out, he gave a lovely recital, which included some Gershwin and a particularily satisfying interpretation of the Bernstein Sonata. He also did some pieces for clarinet and recorded sounds which I found musically fun and intelectually challenging. Is was a fun, interesting, stimulating recital.

The other experience involved my sitting in a Panera Bread Company, having soup and sandwiches with my wife and son. If you have ever been to a Panera, they play "light classical" music in the background.

WHile eating and not really paying attention, I heard a clarinet playing "Summertime". I was literally transfixed. It was beautiful. I ran up to the counter to see the CD cover, to see who this WONDERFUL clarinetist was.

It was Stoltzman.

My point to this rather rambling post is this. We often seem to repeat over and over, things we have heard, but NOT thought about or experienced. In particular, it is SO EASY to ctitize and/or "throw stones". I am probably as guilty as anyone else. But it seems to me that much of what we say here does not stand up to critical analysis.

Walter Grabner


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