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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000192.txt from 2004/10

From: "davidglenn" <>
Subj: [kl] 4th German Clarinet Symposium in Berlin (3 of 4)
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 18:32:51 -0400

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Hi again,

Here's the report about day two of the 4th German Clarinet Symposium in Berlin.

The day started early at 8:30 with a meeting for the members of the German Clarinet Society. I'm afraid I missed this one as the "private meeting" the night before went too long ;-)

At 10AM was a concert with students of Profs. N. Kaiser and F-U Wurlitzer. The 11 o'clock concert was canceled.

Here follows the surprise of the day.

I had a letter to translate and decided to skip the concert as I was late anyway and went to sit down and work in the cafe. Since Alan Hacker was busy rehearsing something with a clarinet quartet, I sat down at a distance and got ready to start writing. What's that I hear? Alan was calling me over, "Do you have your basset clarinet with you?" "No, only a Bb" And so started the adventure. You see Alan had written a new arrangement of the accompaniment for the Mozart clarinet concerto for clarinet quartet (better than only with piano and easier to get together than a whole orchestra). To cut a long story short, after all conceivable efforts were made to contact the missing soloist who supposedly had a basset clarinet and after no success reaching him, Alan asked the firm Schwenk and Seggelke (Jochen Seggelke was also playing in the quartet) to loan me a normal (short) A clarinet from their exhibition stand and asked me to play the solo part. I hadn't warmed up that day and I ha
ven't played the concerto for about two years and then only on the basset clarinet. In addition the A clarinet by Schwenk and Seggelke even though it was excellent, did have a very strange feel to it with the covered thumb hole and no long Bb. I felt like I was playing a German system clarinet and so a few German system fingerings slipped in at first. I would have to sight read, with no rehearsal and transpose the low passages and watch out for the different fingerings all at the same time. Well never mind, there was hardly a soul there anyway and so I did it for Alan so that he could show how his arrangement worked and also some new details about the text for basset clarinet. Unfortunately, as we started playing with Alan conducting, more and more people turned up until, soon the room was filled with not only audience but nearly 100% clarinettists. It was actually a relief when after the second movement the bass clarinettist suddenly got up and left for another rehearsal.

Following that was the clarinet choir rehearsal. Great fun again. Parallel to that was a lecture on teaching the clarinet to young beginners.

After all that playing I felt ready to try the new Swiss invention called Claripatch. It consists of thin plastic sheets coated in aluminum which go between the reed and the mouthpiece and thereby change the lay. You can make the reed harder or softer or make use of other effects which changing the lay would cause. I found it very interesting and decided to buy it mainly for the purpose of using older reeds a bit longer after they get softer. Aside from this exhibitor there were a few firms exhibiting clarinets, reeds, equipment.

At 2:15PM was a concertante presentation of new literature which is suitable for lessons at the music school.

At 3PM was a clarinet concert by Ensemble Clarinesque. My favorite piece was by Leonard Bernstein (again!). Seven Songs arranged by Bruce Edwards (who was playing in the quartet). So many colors were conjured up by using Eb, Bb, basset horn, bass clarinet and even contrabass!

At 4PM was a recital by students of Chen Halevi, professor for clarinet in Trossingen. It had been the Berlin clarinettists who had protested against him gettng the job at the time a couple of years ago. Now we could see a sample of his work in the very city which was so adamant on not having him in Germany. The level was very high indeed, also tonally.

At 5PM was a concert of solo pieces by Stockhausen presented by participants of a Stockhausen course. All pieces were presented with panache and very solid technique, tone, flawless performances. The most enjoyable for me was "Der kleine Harlekin".

6PM was a presentation by Jochen Seggelke which bordered on a criminal novel about the oldest clarinet. It was the story of a J.C. Denner clarinet loaned out from Berkeley for which he provided a mouthpiece. Very enjoyable!

The evening concert turned out to be the most memorable event of the entire symposium for me. It was the group "vienna clarinet connection". Four magnificent young Austrian clarinet players presented a program with everything from Jazz to Classic partly composed by the members themselves. I cannot limit my self to one high point here. The first one
for me was their rendition of "The Klezmer Wedding" by M.Curtis. Their brilliant ideas like when they were holding out a chord for a soloist to walk around and shake each others hands (including the audience) was just great. The playing was superb and they were very convincing in their interpretation. After the piece was the interval but the audience didn't want to stop applauding. Finally one of them held up his hand. Everybody stopped applauding immediately suspecting an encore or whatever. But what did he say?, "Don't worry, don't worry! We'll be back in only ten minutes!" The high point after the break was their arrangement of the Scherzo from the Midsummer Night Dream by Mendelssohn. The tempo was breathtaking and the staccato just didn't want to get tired! I could go on more but it would be too long for a this report.

The late night concert was the Jazz Duo Steffen Schorn and Claudio Puntin. Between them they played Eb and Bb clarinets, bass and contra bass clarinets, baritone and bass saxes. Very fluent and never a moment where the ideas didn't keep coming. But after the vienna boys, I couldn't absorb much more and started early on my beer....

This day was a success and the high point of the symposium for me. - Not that I would keep tomorrow's surprise for myself - tune in tomorrow for the last report!

Schlafft gut!



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