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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000602.txt from 2003/10

From: "Peter Flint Jr." <>
Subj: [kl] Re: who speaks
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 10:27:24 -0400

RE: lots of discussion on composers and performers take on pieces...

As composer who is returning to playing clarinet after a 10 year
hiatus, I should perhaps offer my two cents here.

There are definintely composers out there who like to think they can
control every facet of a performance of their pieces. We've probably
all seen such scores with the clouds of markings around the notes.

Personally, I like to specify the elements that are most crucial to
me and then leave the performer a certain amount of latitude to bring
their own personality and skills to bear on the work. I find I'm
always pleasantly surprised and I often get good results that I
wouldn't have come up with on my own. It does take a performer with
a certain degree of motivation and willingness to interpret.
Interestingly, I've found performers who are quite willing to
interpret old scores by long dead composers, but who then freeze up
with a living composer in the room and who expect us to provide all
the answers. I much prefer it when someone takes a risk and goes out
on a limb rather than sticking to the "safer" middle of the road

>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

Thankfully, I think we're moving away from the era of the omniscient
composer and the obedient performer. I'm quite happy to see a little
more sass from the performer and a little more humility from the

Peter Flint

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