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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000720.txt from 2004/10

From: Tony Pay <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Appealing to the superficial
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2004 19:34:27 -0400

On 25 Oct, (Ormondtoby Montoya) wrote:

> Aren't some of us debating different ideas here?
> If we were to take the original suggestion literally --- namely, to add a
> steady 'thud-thud-thud' to K.622, the result would be unenjoyable even for
> a rock-and-roll youngster, I'm sure. Such an audible mess wouldn't
> convince a youngster of anything except that "Something's wrong here."
> We must give even the most classically-inexperienced child credit for
> being a human being who has some sense of what is 'musical' and what is
> not.
> The rhythms and phrase lengths and dynamics in K.622 (and in most other
> pieces of classical music) are too varied and too complex to appeal to
> anyone if there's an unending thud-thud-thud of constant loudness in the
> background.
> At the other extreme, however, it would be ridiculous to ban all
> performances of K622 because we don't know exactly what Mozart wrote!
> Thus every performance must (most likely) alter Mozart's original
> composition to some small extent.
> The question thus becomes: What is appropriate given your audience?

No, it doesn't. The question becomes, what is appropriate to your vision of
something worth communicating?

> Here's an anecdote from my own education:
> One of my English teachers assigned the class to read Shakespeare in its
> original language. One of the passages mystified me. I couldn't figure out
> what the character was saying. So I raised my hand as we were reading
> aloud, and I asked "What does this mean?"
> The teacher mumbled and stumbled and finally admitted that he didn't
> know. Since I had asked in front of the entire class, and since some of the
> students had already complained about being required to read "a dead
> language", it was not a happy moment for me.

But, what happened then? Did you find out what the passage meant, between
you and the teacher? Were you interested in that process?

> So once again the question is: Exactly where do you draw the line when it
> comes to making a great work "understandable" to kids at school? Should we
> have read Lamb's Shakespeare first?

To go back to the original question of K622 -- there are ways into the piece
that you can discover, and relate to other more familiar structures. (Like,
the 'threeness' of the concerto, for example.)

But trying to alter what we have of K622 itself -- to make *it* more
'palatable' -- is to destroy the most important thing about our possible
relationship with it: namely, that Mozart trusted us to take a major piece of
his seriously.

_________ Tony Pay
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