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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000124.txt from 2003/10

From: Dan Leeson <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Lying awake early in the morning
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2003 13:18:49 -0400

Buckman, Nancy wrote:

> Without commenting on relative beauty (which is an impossibility
> anyway), the confusion lies in the fact that Romantic music paints
> while Classical music speaks. Most players are attuned to music that
> creates a mood by its painting of one, and presume that such is the
> function of Mozart's music. But it is not and many performers and
> listeners are disappointed by his music failing to paint such a mood.
> So the use of terms like "too many words" shows what people from the
> classical period listened for. It's a very good description.
> Dan
> I have always felt more comfortable playing Mozart than Brahms. When
> I play Mozart, it just seems to come out sounding right to me and, I
> assume, my audience, because they always compliment me on my
> performances of his music. However, when playing Brahms, for some
> reason I don't see the same beauty in his music that I do in Mozart's
> and consequently, am always asking for guidance concerning performing
> practices and whether my performance of his music conveys what he
> wanted to be heard. Dan, does your statement above pertain to any of
> this?

I don't want to stretch the speech vs mood metaphor so far as to distort
its meaning, but I suppose one can argue that pictorial representations
obtained from hearing romantic music might well be more difficult to
assimilate than the speech of Classical music. In my own case, I found
that my playing of Brahms did not even begin to approach acceptable
until I was well beyond 30, and possibly even 40. Oh, I played all the
notes, and thought that my interpretation was mature, but it was
childish, something that I did not figure out until later.

While I have no information to sustain this view, I have found that
Brahms comes to one through age. Further Brahms has sexual passion
within his music as well as introspection (as a person might do in
thinking about their youth from a much later time, or considering their
position in society at any time) and this is an emotion that young
people cannot accomplish precisely because they are too young to do so.
Besides, their hormones are still going crazy. So while a younger
person can certain feel the sexual passion of the first and second
movements of the clarinet quintet, for example, they will find it much
more difficult to assimilate the more mature emotions of the E-flat
clarinet sonata.

But that is just shooting from the hip. I'm confident that other people
will feel quite differently.

**Dan Leeson **
** **

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