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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000444.txt from 2004/08

From: "dnleeson" <>
Subj: RE: RE: [kl] Bass Clarinet in A - historical evidence?
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2004 15:06:15 -0400

David, Beethoven's use of a C clarinet (as well as Mozart's,
Schubert's, and probably even Mendelssohn's) was probably not
related to tonality. It's a good idea and at one time I
subscribed to that theory too, but it turns out that the evidence
does not support it. They used clarinets purely for the purpose
of avoiding restricted keys for clarinets. The main restriction
deal with the presence of sharp keys, and the general rule was
never to permit a clariet to play in any key with more than one
sharp. So whenever that pheneonement happened, they simply
changed clarinets.

I suspect that this ceased being true by the late 19th century
but I can't really prove it.

Dan Leeson

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 10:53 AM
Subject: Re: RE: [kl] Bass Clarinet in A - historical evidence?

The other thing one may think a bit about is the whole concept of
colour which composers have in mind when specifying a given
tonality for a
clarinet. My experience has been the majority of the Beethoven
specify the C clarinet too...Richard Strauss is specifying the D
for the famous Till Eulenspeigel as well...small wonder when I
first heard
the Weiner Phil do this years ago with Karl Bohm and the player
mentioned as using the D clarinet that one realized the value and
of the Viennese tradition...not to mention in this concert the
player had a
wonderful sound on the D clarinet to boot!!!

As to the Bass in A I studied in France and played in various
ensembles and
know that for a fact a few french players on the Bass clarinet do
use it!!!
However, that was some twenty years ago.

I am also sure there are plenty of A bass clarinet parts...but
alas I make
my living off playing the Soprano...there are also some great
parts in
Lazzzri's Effet de Nuit with a very big opening Bass clarinet
solo in it!!!
There is a bunch of repetoire that is rarely heard on this side
of the

David Dow

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