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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000592.txt from 2003/10

From: Dan Sutherland <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Who speaks?
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 23:16:00 -0400

At 03:02 AM 10/22/2003, you wrote:
> > > > On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 12:39:11 -0400, said:
> > > > > Here's something worth bearing in mind: you are *always* expressing
> > > > > yourself, or at least some part of yourself, when you play. How can
> > > > > it be otherwise?
> > >
> > >Tony Pay siad:
> > > > I couldn't put it better.
> > > > Another way of expressing it is: what's required of you is in the
> > > > of 'being' rather than in the realm of 'doing'.
> > > > (I'll leave you to judge where "How to sell slow movements" lies in
> > > > of this:-)
> > >
> > >The article - cut short, and T.P`s short remark , "I couldn't put it
> > >better";
> > >and previous posts re this seems to be so logically summarised, yet I
> > >help but think of a 'more obvious?' teaching.
> > >*Learn about the composer, and how he/she may have wanted the music to be
> > >played*.
> >
> > What if the composer just got lucky and created something sublime by
> > What if the composer was of detestable character and learning about him
> > severely alters your ability to perform his work well?
> > Composers compose. Performers perform. Composers do not necessarily know
> > the best way to perform their work.
>True, and with this statement you have to add "and neither do a lot of pro
>players" to balance what seems to be some bias against composers.

Well, what I wrote was mostly idiocy. If it were not for composers we
would have nothing to play. I recognize in my diatribe the assertion that
composers' own thoughts on their music is of little consequence. As Mr.
Pay observed this may or may not be the case. I think we at least owe them
the consideration of trying to find out.

> > > What we have seen in this discussion is of course a break down of
> > >how to go about this. We may all have different ideas, but no matter how
> > >much or how little of our own personality or technical skill we input
> > >our playing, the composer`s intentions will to some degree become
> > >by our own choices, which IMO is not too good. When we play, we always
> > >ourselves on the line - to be judged - and we will always 'reap the
> > >of someone`s comment, be it favourable or otherwise. So I would summarise
> > >this way (as above) composer first and foremost, and performer`s
> > >to be always based on this.

Embarrassing drivel next.

> >
> > Regardless of what a composer intends it is his music we are stuck
> > with. There is enough not so great music which composers intended to be
> > played by great artists in filled concert halls. That was the scope of
> > their intention. I do not feel traitorous for not fulfilling their

>Why then do we emphasise in colleges, in schools, in private teaching, in
>master classes and to a large extent on radio, the importance of searching
>for composers` intentions.

I am not sure. Do we really put much effort into searching for composers'

> Is this not important at all, for the reason that
>the composer may have been a real sod?

Interesting choice of words. Mr. Leeson could elaborate on Schubert and
Tchaikovsky in this regard.

> This is silly. We all of have this
>ability in us, not least of all the performers, who wouldn`t work for the
>pay check that composers receive.

Yes. What I dislike is the view that the composer has THE magical or
mystical answer to the secret of the performance of their work. I used to
feel they did. Maybe some do. Mostly they rely on the performer to put in
his best effort to learn and present their work. They listen and learn and
decide what direction they will take in subsequent compositions. [gross

> >
> > > There is therefore, to me, not much room for
> > >personal preferences, unless one is a 'showman'.
> >
> > What the heck is that supposed to mean?
> Yes, this was probably not phrased too well, due to my wanting to get the
>e-mail off as I wasn`t feeling too well. But in fact it means exactly what
>you have said below: >In fact - - - - etc. So there *are* similarities in
>our thinking.
> > In fact that assertion caught my eye because the thing that drives me
> > is the performer that does not get out of the way of the music. Little
> > idiosyncrasies like adding a dash of vibrato here, some rubato there,
> > swells every measure in the quest to help out the performance distract and
> > mess it up. Too fussy and busy.
> > "That was so boring everyone should have left the hall so the tumble weeds
> > and crickets could come in."
> > Eric Sutherland age 9, after hearing his dad and 3 other clarinettists
> > perform Anderson's "Clarinet Candy" in concert.
>So who was at fault here - the composer or the performers? : )

The artistic director. It was his big idea.
But really folks "Clarinet Candy" is a delightful bon
bon. "Buglers' Holiday" with scales. A treat to play and hear.


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