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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000164.txt from 2007/12

From: "Steve Hartman" <>
Subj: [kl] Mendelssohn Reformation Symphony
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 09:25:56 -0500

Dear Benedict:

Robert Howe's suggestion that you learn to transpose the C parts on your
B-flat clarinet is a good one. It shouldn't take too long to learn with
patient practice. It is a very useful skill for any clarinetist, especially
an enthusiastic amateur. It would allow you to play duets with your flute-
and oboe-playing friends, for example.

Dan Leeson's point that most 18th and 19th Century composers were only
following the rules of orchestration when they chose an instrument is
probably correct, in my opinion. I would also speculate that some composers
may have chosen to leave the clarinet part in C in order to allow the
performer to choose the instrument to be employed. I once played the
clarinet 'concerto' in Rossini's opera 'Alcina,' which is written in the key
of E major for the C clarinet, on the A clarinet because it put the solo
into the key of G and made the trills considerably easier. I doubt that the
composer would have disapproved.

I also agree that Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler WERE looking for a
particular color when they wrote for the C clarinet, not simply range.
However, I think the number of professional orchestras which use a D
clarinet for 'Till Eulenspiegel' is very small, in spite of the fact that
Strauss originally wrote for that instrument.

Best wishes to everyone for the holiday season.

Steve Hartman
New York, NY


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