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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000056.txt from 2008/05

From: "Harold Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Why not a tone like a slippery eel?
Date: Sat, 10 May 2008 14:21:08 -0400

Sorry the reviewer used "caramel" and other banal references. Yes, that is laughable, but as for the mentioning of Brahms' autumnal, wistful melancholia, I'd say if it got to the reviewer, then Brahms accomplished his objective. I'm a jazz guy, but I can't hear the Brahms without some deep soul searching.


-----Original Message-----
From: Alexander Brash
Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2008 12:40 PM
Subject: Re: [kl] Why not a tone like a slippery eel?

The comparison of late Brahms with autumnal glow is new and original
- an exciting metaphor I'm glad this writer has stumbled on for
definitely the first time ever.

On May 10, 2008, at 1:32 PM, Lelia Loban wrote:

> You think we've already got problems figuring out what "warm, dark
> tone" means? Here's The Washington Post's current idea of an
> appropriate review:
>> It's a rare treat to hear Brahms's Clarinet Quintet
>> and Piano Quintet in the same evening. But on
>> Wednesday the Embassy Series brought an
>> ensemble of local musicians to the German
>> Embassy to perform these pinnacles of the
>> chamber music repertoire.
> [snip]
>> The Clarinet Quintet (played first on the program)
>> is characteristic of the composer's later years--
>> suffused with nostalgia, melancholy and autumnal
>> glow, its underlying heartache left unresolved in
>> concluding bars that die away with a sigh. [snip]
>> Clarinetist Suzanne M. Gekker, though overemphatic
>> in some of her phrasing, caressed Brahms's writing
>> with a tone that was like a ribbon of caramel.
> --Joe Banno, "Embassy Series: Brahms Quintets," The Washington
> Post, Friday, May 9, 2008, Style section, p. C11. The full review
> is available online at
> Gosh, that caramel must have made an awful mess of the sheet music,
> not to mention the clarinet. Didn't the pads stick? What sort of
> reed should I use--and what swab should I buy for cleaning out the
> instrument later--if I aspire to caress Brahms's pinnacle with that
> caramel tone? (Come to think of it, I'm not so sure Brahms would
> want me to go caressing his pinnacle.) I wonder, too, what caramel
> with an autumnal glow sounds like, and why a concert in May didn't
> caress with springtime caramel instead? I've never heard a ribbon
> of caramel sigh, either. Must've been an amazing concert.
> Lelia Loban
> ------------------------------------------------------------------



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