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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000120.txt from 2008/05

From: "Karl Krelove" <>
Subj: [kl] Bass in A
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 22:43:29 -0400

I'm curious to know how recently bass clarinets pitched in A were generally
available and in use among orchestral players. I'm not looking to re-open
the issue of the importance of playing on the instrument the composer
requested. Rather, I had the opportunity to play bass clarinet in several
performances of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances this past week and was a
little surprised to find a section of about half a page of the first
movement written for bass clarinet in A. This in a piece composed, I assume,
in the U.S. in 1941, not turn-of-the century Europe (we also played La valse
on the same program with a great deal of the bass part in A - but that
doesn't puzzle me nearly as much). Am I wrong to suspect that the instrument
was already more or less extinct in the US by 1941? Could this have been a
copyist's decision, since the other two clarinets are in A for the section
in question, that the bass ought also to be in A?



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