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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000821.txt from 2004/10

From: "Noel Taylor" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Mozart
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 05:20:06 -0400

More mystery and suspense...


-----Original Message-----
From: dnleeson []
Sent: 26 October 2004 16:40
Subject: RE: [kl] Mozart, Don Giovanni, and Tony Pay

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 measures??
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 they 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 and
complained about playing in four flats (silly of them) so, rather than argue
with them, Mozart simply changed the parts, and put in accidentals, and
"sneaked the music up on them"? Or maybe he felt that, 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 the 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

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 over 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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