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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000702.txt from 2004/10

From: Adam Michlin <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Appealing to the superficial
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2004 15:22:14 -0400


So many things to say.

I don't think anyone said or implied that the only reason kids like their
music is "just because there is a drumkit under it". My point was only:

1. I would not consider putting a beat to K622 sacrilegious. This does not
mean that I would do so or even musically appreciate someone else doing so.
2. I would *consider* doing so if I thought it might help a kid come to
appreciate Mozart.

If your point is that doing so would and could never help at least one kid
come to appreciate Mozart, then we will simply have to agree to disagree.

My first exposure to K622 was in a terribly played band transcription.
Playing 1st clarinet (translation: violin parts) as a sophomore in high
school (without tonguing, I might add!) I distinctly remember the soloist
saying to us "Can't you sound more like strings?" and me thinking "Strings?
What is he talking about?" as I struggled to play notes I didn't even
*know* the clarinet was capable of playing.

Sad, but true. Nonetheless, this is what brought me to Mozart. Many would
fault my band director (and I use that term for a very good reason) for
playing Mozart with a band, perhaps even call it sacrilegious. I *know*
Mozart wouldn't have written K622 for band accompaniment if he had the
option! The artistic faults are too numerous to count, but I found
something which I cherish to this day.

To say "it doesn't really matter if they don't [come to appreciate Mozart]"
is a particularly ironic statement coming from a soloist who just had his
rendition (which, quite unfortunately, I missed) of K622 broadcast on the
BBC. Was this broadcast truly only intended for those who already
appreciate Mozart? If so, why are so many non-appreciative people paying
taxes and license fees to support these BBC broadcasts? Apparently, the
British Government and enough of the population think it matters.

It seems to boil down to Milton Babbitt's famous question "Who cares if
[they] listen?". My answer to him and you:

I care.


At 07:24 PM 10/24/2004 +0100, Tony Pay wrote:
>There's perhaps one point to be made.
>We do no-one any favours by trying to appeal to merely superficial aspects of
>what they currently seem to 'like'.
>This is a principle that applies to art, to politics -- and, I'd say, to life
>in general.
>In particular, it's worthwhile understanding that kids don't like 'their'
>music *just because there's a drumkit under it* -- or whatever.
>To think that they do, and to act as if they do, is to demean them very
>They may, or may not, come to appreciate Mozart. But if they do, it will be
>on what are *both his and their* own terms.
>...and, it doesn't really matter if they don't.

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