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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000929.txt from 2004/10

From: Adam Michlin <amichlin@-----.com>
Subj: RE: [kl] Appealing to the superficial
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 2004 20:30:34 -0400

Matthew,

At 12:47 AM 10/31/2004 +0100, Matthew Lloyd wrote:
>Adam Michlin wrote "I only add that if a student can get through 4 years
>of band and ever hear Mozart or Bach or Beethoven there is something
>serious wrong with all the
>above."
>
>Adam,
>
>I know I'm only an ignorant Limey, but bear with me.

Eh, no problem, I'm the ignorant American and I'm fairly sure that is much
worse!

>Mozart, Bach and Beethoven wrote NOTHING for what seems to be taken as a
>"band" which I assume - for clarity I think this ought to be stated - to
>be what I would call a Concert Band (or Military Band) and which would
>have the correct instrumentation for something such as a Sousa March or
>the Holst Suites for Band.

Well, I suppose that depends on your definition of band. If by band you
mean an assorted collection of wind and percussion instruments both Mozart
and Beethoven wrote music for such collections.

Mozart's, of course, most famous example being the Gran Partita. I know, I
know, it involves a string instrument. You can always substitute a Contra
Bassoon (or is that Baritone Saxophone?) if you don't consider the Double
Bass a legitimate member of the wind band. Mozart would have done so if he
could have, I talked to him personally. You can trust me. Honest. Really. Ahem.

The band establishment has laid claims on this piece as being part of the
band repertoire for years. I don't necessarily agree with them, but they
don't have much else to work with so I don't take issue with them. You
really have to feel sorry for them when it comes to repertoire.

Beethoven wrote at least the following (from
http://www.unheardbeethoven.org/seldom/woonumber.html):

WoO 18, Military March in F for Wind Band ("Yorkscher March"). The CBE
recording omits the trio added by Beethoven in 1822. The complete march
appears on another DG recording, 439 690-2. It was also available on
Telefunken (LP) SLT 43104.

WoO 18 March in F for wind band, complete with trio, appears on ARTS
47551-2, volume 2 of the Arts label's complete Beethoven music for winds.

WoO 19, Military March in F for Wind Band. The CBE recording also omits the
1822 trio from this march. The trio is included on Telefunken (LP) SLT
43104 and also on an LP by the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Philips 6599 172.

WoO 19 March in F for wind band, complete with trio, appears on ARTS
47551-2, volume 2 of the Arts label's complete Beethoven music for winds.

I must say I find these pieces rather dull (some people translate WoO as
Works With Out Numbers, I think in some cases a better translation would be
Works Which Aren't Worthy of a Number), but I wanted to make sure I set the
record straight.

You are correct that Bach never wrote for band. So I guess we should all
stop playing Bach transcriptions. Um. Sure.

>They wrote for orchestras. [I'm obviously aware of wind music for larger
>ensembles, but none that meet my definition of "band" above.]
>
>Do American Schools not have orchestras? Is there no equivalent to our
>County Music Service Orchestras - taking the best students from the
>County (ours are larger than yours) and forming an orchestra. The one
>from my county, Bedfordshire, played annually at the Albert Hall.

American Schools do, in fact, have orchestras. I can't imagine you are
suggesting only the students who are able to make it into the school
orchestra or local youth orchestra (standard instrumentation: 10 flutes, 8
clarinets, 1 oboe, 1 bass clarinet playing bassoon parts, 456 violins, 3
violas, 5 cellos and 1 double bass.. right?) should have the privilege of
playing Mozart.

>I cannot see how you can transcribe K622 for band. I am sure you'll
>disagree. But if you want to expose students to orchestral music, am I
>hopelessly naive suggesting that you do so by getting them to play in an
>orchestra?

Not naive at all. It is just a numbers game. We have many more wind players
in our schools than we have string players. Is this not the case in the UK?

If I ever perform K622 for band, I promise not to tell you. I may go to
hell for doing so, but I am sure I have already done worse things, so I
really have nothing to lose. The transcription has already been around for
decades and the transcriber may already be in hell, I don't know.

-Adam

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