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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000021.txt from 2005/08

From: Adam Michlin <>
Subj: [kl] Low C Bass Clarinets
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 11:10:50 -0400

Dear List,

I had a chance to discuss low C bass clarinets with Jimmy Abato and wanted
to share his input. Playing with the NY Philharmonic in the 40s, he only
had need of a bass clarinet to low C once, for Shostakovich 7. Playing with
the Met until the late 90s, he can only recall having to use a bass
clarinet to low C once, but he isn't entirely sure. He has never owned a
low C bass clarinet and in both cases can remember borrowing an instrument
for the performance. He tells me this was not at all uncommon among the
circle of players he knew.

It seems that most (Northern American) players in the early second half of
the twentieth century played on low Eb bass clarinets and borrowed low C
bass clarinets when necessary. My tentative conclusion is that it was not
acceptable to ignore notes below Eb on bass clarinet parts, but most
players could not justify the cost of or, perhaps, hassles associated with
owning early model low C bass clarinets.



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