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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000029.txt from 2004/08

From: "Lelia Loban" <lelialoban@-----.net>
Subj: [kl] ClarinetFest: A reply from Stephen Fox
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 10:53:35 -0400

The following is my reply to Stephen Fox's message that I posted here with
his permission:

----------------

Thank you for giving permission to relay your message to the Klarinet list.
I've done so. Thank you for such a gracious and temperate response, too.

You wrote,
>It would be a bit surprising as well as distressing,
>though, if the instrumental balance were as bad as
>all that throughout the whole piece. A couple of
>other people voiced similar reactions, but several
>others said they had no trouble hearing all the
>instruments. So, maybe location in the audience
>was a factor.

For your recital, I sat toward the right side (from audience point of view)
of the center section, about halfway between the stage and the rear wall.
Maybe I was mistaken, but I had the impression that this was a good
location, as it is in most halls. (Not all, of course -- in fact, I live
near the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D. C., where, before the first of
many remodellings, there used to be a dead zone, spang in the middle of
the Orchestra section. The most expensive seats outside the boxes had the
worst sound!) It may be that there's something acoustically peculiar about
that hall that I don't know about. However, I sat in several different
places in the Clarice Smith center during ClarinetFest and thought that it
was an excellent, very live hall. I didn't notice anything strange about
the acoustics except that clearly the balance on stage must have sounded
different from what we heard out in the audience, since several of the
concerts had balance problems. I appreciate your point about the
difficulty of doing sound checks when so many different groups must rotate
quickly in and out of the hall.

As I mentioned, the clarinet even got drowned out in klezmer music, of all
things, during the otherwise excellent David Krakauer concert (with all
instruments amplified) in the opening recital, in the same concert hall, on
Wednesday. On Saturday, I heard his clarinet again, at his seminar in the
other auditorium (in the Conference Center), where he used no microphone.
He's got that instrument set up for serious carrying power. He could just
about peel paint with that clarinet, and yet, during his Wednesday concert,
with him standing right in front of a mic, there were times when the
accordion and the electric guitar totally drowned him out -- when his
fingers were flying and everyone's facial expressions and body language
made clear that he was burning up a solo that the others accompanied, yet I
only heard his clarinet notes during the other musicians' rests. That
concert had a different balance problem as well, in that all the
amplification (including Mr. Krakauer's, as was apparent when he played
alone), was painfully loud.

You wrote,
>Having worked with and listened to Ellen in
>countless concert and recording settings over
>the past eight years, I can testify that she's an
>outstandingly sensitive and thoughtful musician,
>and in particular is always concerned about balance.

Yes, I've heard that from other people. I have to stand by my impression
of this particular recital, but I'd like to hear the two of your again. I
wouldn't have cared about the balance problem if there weren't so many
other indications that it was a fine performance from both of you. I'm
glad to hear there's going to be a recording, which I'll certainly buy.

Best wishes,
Lelia

Lelia Loban
http://members.sibeliusmusic.com/LeliaLoban
Kerry and Edwards in 2004

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