Klarinet Archive - Posting 000833.txt from 2004/10
From: "dnleeson" <dnleeson@-----.net>
Subj: RE: [kl] Mozart, Don Giovanni, and Tony Pay
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 14:36:26 -0400
Tony, you have a bunch of historical and musical stuff mixed up,
judging from your note on the subject.
First, the name: while it true that the soprano clarinet that
descends to low written C is called a basset clarinet, it's just
a clarinet with some extra keys. Thus, the work that Mozart
wrote for it is a clarinet concerto. If you want to be super
precise, one could say that he wrote a basset clarinet concerto.
But there is a limit to how far one needs to define individual
peculiarities of the several different members of the B-flat
soprano clarinet family. For example, one does not play the cat
solo from Peter and the Wolf on a "Full Boehm Descending To Low
E-flat, B-flat Clarinet." It's just a clarinet that happens to
descend that low, and its rare enough that the solo is invariably
played on an A clarinet. And there are special keys that one can
get on a particular model clarinet that are not present on a
different model, and these peculiarities do not find their way
into a name description. So why should the basset clarinet
somehow be treated differently?
It's just a clarinet, that's all. It happens to descend to low
written C. But that supplement does not really require a special
name as you suggest. It could, of course, but the Germans would
called it "überflussig" or "over specified."
Insofar as what came first, that's clear. He wrote (or began) a
concerto for basset horn and orchestra and then changed his mind
for whatever reason. By the way, it was a basset horn in G, but
the pitch of the instrument rarely sneaks in to a discussion of
I'm curious to know why you think that there is some kind of
conspiracy theory associated with the basset clarinet. From my
perspective, it's a very simple story. Only because the
instrument disappeared and did not reappear until Dazeley's 1948
paper speculating about such an instrument, has there begun a
mystery about it. There was no mystery. Stadler had three of
them, one in A, one in B-flat, and one in C. They all went down
to low C. So? Nu?? Wha?
Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 10:48 AM
Subject: Re: [kl] Mozart, Don Giovanni, and Tony Pay
The BBC listed the 'Performance on 3' concert with Tony Pay as
Mozart`s Clarinet Concerto and not Mozart`s Bassett Clarinet
I wish everyone could finally decide once and for all what
concerto was written for. Would we call the W. Walton viola
concerto for violin? Is Elgar`s cello a viola?
I recently played a piano acc. to the slow movement being played
bassett. (The performer like me, a pianist as well, also played
Fantasie Impromptu - without any wrong notes). The player stood,
and used a
metal rod (fixed to the bell) which rested on the floor to
instrument. I believe Emma Johnson uses a sling. Do we know what
players used - Stadler? And would Tony Pay let us know what he
prefers. I forgot (!!) to ask if I could hold the instrument at
performance - I would dearly like to experience what it`s weight
nothing else - you see I`m afraid that similar thoughts occur in
me, to what
our other colleague expressed in here a few days ago. I have to
express that I also am not a fan of the bassett instrument.
Could this following situation have arisen? Mozart and Stadler in
and egg situation. What came first, the bassett or the concerto?
knowing the bassett, Mozart would have written the concerto for
clarinet - wouldn`t he? And maybe without the fiendish break
in the last movement. Could he have done so tho`, and then when
introduced him to the Bassett, Mozart set about revising his
If the *bassett* came first, then where is the bassett`s other
repertoire, for this instrument? Stadler must have invested some
into it`s design and manufacture. He would have wanted more than
piece of music to help him recoup his investment. He was after
skin-flint - he didn`t pay Mozart for the concerto. When
bassett fell out of favour, the subsequent editor(s) then moved
the ACGC etc
passage (what may not have been in Mozart`s original 'A' clarinet
to the break notes. Not incredible I`ll say!
There`s something not quite right about all aspects of
concerning the bassett, which, if you ask me, requires another
novel (we ain`t gonna get the truth) from someone!
I thought of it first - All Rights Reserved!
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