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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000525.txt from 2004/08

From: "Thiel, Mark" <>
Subj: [kl] The making of K. 581
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 09:59:46 -0400

OK, here's a bit of idle conjecture to add to our other discussions
based on little or no evidence.

Dan Leeson wrote:
> If it was not modified, who would buy the work? Who could play the=20
> work?
> What is the market estimate for a composition that cannot be played by
> clarinetist other than Stadler, because it required a special
> So the clarinet part, at least, was modified to an unknown degree, and
> was probably done in the creation of a score (made from the
> parts) which was input to the engraving process.

Now Mozart was no dummy. He knew that both the concerto and the quintet
were pretty good stuff (even for Mozart) and it would be nice to sell
them. He also knew that his buddy Stadler had the only clarinet to low
C around. What are the chances that he wrote for BOTH normal and basset
clarinets -- that is, the original manuscripts are/were riddled with
alternate notes or carefully bracketed "ossia 8va" or the like?

Then when the first edition came out or at some step along the way, the
copyist or engraver looks at the alternate lines and thinks: "huh,
clarinet to low C; Stadler had the only one and we'll never see another
of THOSE again. I'll be damned if I draw all the ledger lines for those
low notes." And thus the version for basset clarinet is lost.

By the way, though I realize the improbability of this hypothesis, I
will not accept Mozart's never doing anything like this in anything else
he wrote (if this is indeed the case) as a counterargument. After all
clarinets are special.

Mark Thiel

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