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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000508.txt from 2004/08

From: "Mark H. Weinstein" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] A bass clarinet
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 17:57:45 -0400

Selmer no longer makes an A Bass clarinet, not even on special order, so
it now bewcomes impossible to purchase one new. So are you willing to
part with yours? Mark

Robert Howe wrote:
> > Mahler and Schoenberg both wrote for the A Bass on a regular basis. Both
> > were experienced conductors, especially Mahler. Hence there is
> > not the shadow of a doubt that at least high profile orchestras in Austria
> > kept and used A-bassclarinets.
> What's to debate? I have an A bass clarinet, and so does the Philly
> Orchestra, and I have seen others for sale. They were a standard part of
> German orchestral clarinet playing from Wagner to Schoenberg. I don't
> understand why this is an issue, don't people read Forsythe and Piston and
> other textbooks of orchestration? I just heard Cleveland do the Mahler 7th,
> and the part is written about 50/50 between A and Bb basses. Was Mahler
> too stupid to tell that the player had only one clarinet?
> My A bass is a Selmer and the sound is so fine, SOOOOO fine, that it has
> been borrowed by other players, including a local professional, for its tone
> quality alone--some other players have read Bb parts on it a half step
> higher, in order to get the timbre of this fine bass clarinet. No, I am NOT
> making this up.
> The height of A bass clarinet stupidity is found in Gunther Schuller's
> Sonata for soprano and bass clarinets, which starts with both players on Bb
> instruments but in the third movement calls for, yes you've guessed it, both
> players to change to A... No, I am not making THIS up either.
> Please, don't let anyone carry this discussion into C and D clarinets...
> And by the way, Dan Leeson, Ginny Benade says "Hi".
> Ciao
> Robert Howe
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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