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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000793.txt from 2004/10

From: "dnleeson" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Mozart, Don Giovanni, and Tony Pay
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 11:43:03 -0400

Well Patricia, I promise it will not wind up as a historical
mystery novel, and contrary to your speculation, it is very much
a musical issue. The keys that were permitted for clarinets were
quite restricted and, at that juncture of Mozart's life (though
not later) it was not legal to write in 4 flats. So he wrote in
1 flat and added the accidentals in where needed. Though it may
appear far fetched, this business of the impermissability of
certain keys for clarinets is behind the history of the use of
multiply-pitched clarinets, a phenomenon that only the clarinet
family is stuck with. While other instruments also have a little
bit of this problem, no one has it to the extent that the
clarinet family does.

Horns may appear to have the same problem but they don't. They
change keys (and horn pitches) for a different reason.

There are several recordings of the overture with Mozart's
concert ending, all, in my opinion, in the wrong place.

Dan Leeson

-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia A. Smith []
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: [kl] Mozart, Don Giovanni, and Tony Pay

Dan Leeson wrote:

>The clarinet problem is that in the first 30 measures for the
>clarinets, Mozart deliberately writes for the instruments in the
>wrong key. That's correct. He does it wrong on purpose. And
>I've checked the manuscript in Mozart's hand (a copy of which I
>own, so we talking about the straight skinny here), and that's
>the way it is in the autograph, I assure you.
><snipped for space; read with interest>
>At measure 31 of the overture, the work slips from concert d
>minor to concert d major and the A clarinets are happily left in
>the key of one written flat which is exactly what they need for
>piece in concert D major.
>So the question to the list is this: why did Mozart deliberately
>write in the wrong key for a pair of A clarinets for 30 full
This looks like the beginning of another historical mystery novel
concerning really does!

I wonder if the answer is maybe a non-musical one, such as,
Mozart was
simply in a hurry to get the parts done? I know...mundane, but,

Or perhaps that the players didn't have other clarinets in Bb or
C (How
many people on this list complain - "But I don't have an A
clarinet" or
"I don't have a C clarinet" etc... It certainly is possible that
did the same thing in Mozart's time: "Maestro Mozart, I left my
Bb at
home; it's in the shop... my cat chewed up my last C clarinet
mouthpiece..." Silly? You bet. But still...)

Perhaps the players looked at an earlier write out of the parts
complained about playing in four flats (silly of them) so, rather
argue with them, Mozart simply changed the parts, and put in
accidentals, and "sneaked the music up on them"? Or maybe he felt
since it was only thirty measures, what were a few accidentals
here and
there, just to keep from having to write in another key change in
parts that would have the players complaining?

>But the question is this: exactly where in the overture should
>Mozart's concert ending be placed... I prepared the edition for
performances by the San Francisco Midsummer Mozart festival so
you should be aware that this issue exists, still unresolved more
than 200 years after Mozart wrote the opera.

Dan, is there a recording of any of the performances of the SF MM
festival out for purchase?

>Tony's playing of 622 was exquisite, breathtaking, and with lots
>of surprises.

Thank you, Tony. I not only love the ornamentation, but I also
like the
tempo you take in Mvt. 2. I have always thought that it is
played too
slowly by many people; now I feel justified! And I couldn't get
the announcer discussing the instrument so intelligently!

This version will be the one with which I introduce MY children
to the
Mozart Clarinet Concerto!

Patricia Smith

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