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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000131.txt from 2003/10

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: [kl] What to do
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2003 17:35:06 -0400

On Mon, 6 Oct 2003 13:29:50 -0400, said:

> Dan Leeson said, in part:
> > 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.

> I am well beyond forty. Is there still hope? I love Brahms' Serenades
> and much of the orchestral stuff, but I have difficulty understanding
> what is wanted from me as a clarinetist (soloist). And I love
> "listening" to anything he wrote. I just have a hard time
> understanding what to do with his music, unless I listen to a
> recording. I can emulate just about anything, once I have heard it,
> but to figure it out on my own is like opening a can of worms....God
> only knows what might appear.

First of all, there are no 'ageist' rules about all of this. And, the
fact that Dan now rejects his 'youthful' performances says nothing about
their validity. (Perhaps his 'mature' judgement is the one that's
faulty. How would he know:-)

How in any case, do we approach music as performers?

My answer is that we have to have it 'make sense', or 'work' for us.
That makes it clear that a 'youthful' workability may be different from
a 'mature' workability, because we are different people at different
ages. But at any age, it involves our unconscious judgement of 'what

We cannot avoid this unconscious component, because music is, like all
art, 'about' the interface between unconsciousness and consciousness --
'about' the interface between instinct and intellect.

At any age, when we are dealing with our own (clarinet) part of a work,
we may have little context that will help us decide what 'workability'
is. We have to look beyond our own parts to see how to make them work
towards some end. This 'looking beyond' may simply be looking at the
piano part; as a part -- sometimes the most important part -- of the
work that we don't normally see in front of us.

But it may involve wider considerations. And then there is a
multiplicity of choice.

Do we want primarily to make a beautiful sound, as Karajan did? Or do
we want to emphasise the structures in the piece?

My own answer looks to both of these, and makes the former defer to the
the latter when necessary.

But the details of how I do this will inevitably be different from the
details of how *you* do this -- just as the details of how I do this
*now* differ from the details of how I did it when I was starting out.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE
tel/fax 01865 553339

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