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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000347.txt from 2005/07

From: "dnleeson" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Mahler's Symphonies
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 22:35:03 -0400

Well, I had owned and used the bass in A many times before the
Mahler 4 (with the San Jose Symphony) came about. At the time of
the first rehearsal I had a clarinet factory in front of me.
Four soprano clarinets (E-flat, B-flat, A, C) and two bass
clarinets (B-flat and A). (As I remember the E-flat part is
really for D clarinet but I didn't own one._

I tried that final bass clarinet solo several ways, playing the
part as written in many sharps on the requested B-flat
instrument, and then also playing it on an A bass under the
necessary transposition. I was very puzzled because the part lay
so well on the A bass that it was beyond my understanding why
Mahler, who called for the A bass several times in the symphony
suddenly wrote in a way that appeared to me to be irrational.

And then I began considering the authority of the performance
part I was using. Who is to say that it is accurate. I think
that we were using a Kalmus edition, and my goldfish is more
authoritative than that. So I went to Stanford University and
got hold of several scores of the work to see how the part was
written there. It was B-flat bass in all of them, but that is
not conclusive.

I even tried to find a facsimile of the mansucript of Mahler 4 to
see what was in the composer's hand but I never was able to find
one. Besides, Mahler's autographs are not necessarily what was
executed in practice.

I gave up on the problem when it became apparent that I could not
solve what was a conundrum only in my mind. There was no
universal scream of "What about that bass in B-flat at the end of
Mahler 4?"

So I dropped it, but as you can see I never forgot the problem,
nor have I ever really come up with a rational explanation of
what appears to be an anomalous situation.

In the final analysis, I can find nothing that supports the use
of an A bass at the end of that symphony, though the instrument
has ample use within the work, as does the B-flat bass. But it
still wrankles me.

Dan Leeson

-----Original Message-----
From: Joseph Wakeling []
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2005 5:30 AM
Subject: Re: [kl] Mahler's Symphonies

dnleeson wrote:

> It contradicted my belief that instruments were selected on the
> of minimizing sharps and flats.

It's interesting you say this because I remember you commenting
that one
of your reasons for buying an A bass was that you found a
character difference.

The story is probably in the archives somewhere but it's a tale
bears repeating---do you want to tell us about that?

And did you get to play Mahler 4 on it, and how was that

-- Joe

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