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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000058.txt from 2008/05

From: "Ted Casher" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Why not a tone like a slippery eel?
Date: Sat, 10 May 2008 15:49:03 -0400

Ted Casher here. If memory serves me, the mature Brahms dearly loved
chocolates and caramels. He was known to share those confections with his
favorite ladies of the evening!

If indeed, Ms. Gekker had a tone like a ribbon of caramel, Brahms was up
there, smiling.....

The story of Brahms and Clara Schumann was one of those strange tales from
the annals of music history. After Robert Schumann died, Brahms helped
raise his children. He dearly wanted to marry Clara, but Clara wouldn't
hear of it; she loved Brahms as a brother, but wanted no more husbands who
would keep making her pregnant! She wanted to get back to music--it was a
categorical imperative, as she needed to compose, give lessons, and
concertize to support the family.

I'm a jazz clarinetist--but I used to teach music history!

Cheers to all.....Ted Casher
----- Original Message -----
From: "Audrey Travis" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2008 3:00 PM
Subject: Re: [kl] Why not a tone like a slippery eel?

> Contrary to the almost automatic bashing (in this forum)of the use of
> words like dark (tone) and caramel, I find meaning and usefulness in these
> descriptions. These wods, and others such as chocolately, like Belgian
> chocolate or choclatey with a cherry overtone, or spinning or swirling
> evoke a context for me. While one person's understanding of these words
> are clearly going to be individual and different from the next person's,
> that is partially the point. No one's tone is identical to someone
> else's, nor should it be. But if use of these words evoke some meaning
> and help develop tone in a direction that is beautiful or useful in some
> way for the player, then the use of these words has value. I do not
> suggest that one can scientifically quantify the tone colour by using
> descriptive words, but one perhaps may indicate a useful direction towards
> tone colour useful or wanted in a particular piece or even a passage.
> Words, for me, are highly suggestive and creative. This is the point of
> writing, speaking reading and hearing them. Each will understand and
> perceive the same words differently, but they enrich our world and our own
> creative minds. If they make even one musician move in a new and (to that
> person) new direction, they then hold great value.
> What is banal, trite or laughable to one may be the impetus for a 'light
> bulb' moment for another.
> Audrey
> On 10-May-08, at 11:21 AM, Harold Smith wrote:
>> 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.
>> Regards.
>> Harold
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Alexander Brash
>> Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2008 12:40 PM
>> To:
>> 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.
>> (sarcasm)
>> 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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