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 Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: Ralph G 
Date:   2004-06-07 13:28

I believe I've mentioned here before how I've been tapped to play the first movement of Weber 2 with my chamber orchestra next spring. I think it's a decent solo choice -- relatively brief, somewhat easy for an amateur orchestra, it can stand alone as a complete-sounding composition, and it's a pretty decent technical piece requiring sound fundamentals.

Two colleagues in the local clarinet "clique" (one the clarinet prof at our local university) just went "ewww" when I told them what I was playing. They seem to regard the first movement as some torture you have to endure to get to the Polacca. Meanwhile, some other folks I know who aren't clarinet geeks but are familiar with the piece like it.

So is this too pedestrian a piece or something? What gives? Is this like going to Carnegie Hall and playing "Heart and Soul?"

Just wondering why I'm getting the ol' lemonface whenever I mention this to other clarinetists.e


Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.

- Pope John Paul II

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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: RAMman 
Date:   2004-06-07 13:44

Weber ain't Mozart, however I can't say I dislike any of Weber 2.

Music is what you make it, anyone who calls it boring may need to look inwards...

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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2004-06-07 13:57

It's probably just their opinion. I know the clarinet instructor at my school PREFERS Weber 2 to Weber 1. When I asked him if I should buy a copy of Weber Concertos to work on, he said, "Sure. Why not? But get the second. That's the fun one!!!" But I bought the first. Didn't want to wait around for the second one to be ordered and the first was right there in the music store.


US Army Japan Band

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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: Ralph G 
Date:   2004-06-07 16:39

<< Weber ain't Mozart, however I can't say I dislike any of Weber 2. >>

Mozart would have been the first choice, but my colleague in the orchestra just played the Adagio at our April concert.


Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.

- Pope John Paul II

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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: Clarinetist 
Date:   2004-06-07 18:18

IMO, the Weber´s second is more intesting than the first one. Technically, it is more challenging. Overall, I like Weber´s pieces pretty much. They are beautiful.

Good luck!

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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: Brad 
Date:   2004-06-07 18:53

Weber 2 is a great choice and very appropriate even in Carnegie Hall. I'm sure if Sabina were playing it there it would draw good crowd.

I think some people scoff at Weber's works because they are often not put in context with when and why they were written. They are show pieces for the clarinet and not much more. Weber wrote them with not much more in mind than to show off the virtuoso talents of H. Baermann. Because of this Weber's clarinet works are a lot of fun for the audience to listen to.

Conratulations on getting to solo with your group and HAVE FUN with it.

Brad Cohen

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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: Synonymous Botch 
Date:   2004-06-07 21:10


Clarinet players will do well to consider their audience...

My community orchestra is beginning to realize the value in entertaining the grandkids in attendance, and programme accordingly.

It's a lovely piece you've chosen, and fun to play.

Tell that pretentious git that there's no line forming to hear the Nielsen concerto or any other 'challenging' pieces for the licqourice stick.

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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: LeOpus1190s 
Date:   2004-06-07 22:50

I don't think that Weber's Second Concerto is boring or badly written at all. On the contary, I feel it is a fantastic and entertaining piece to audiences and it requires a level of stamina that is very difficult for most clarinetist.

I guess anyone can say some piece is easy, but here is a question, how easy is it to make Weber 2 sound was well as say, Jon Manasse or Sabine Meyer can play it?

In my opinion, not at an easy task at all.

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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2004-06-07 23:21

It's boring if you play it that way.

It's a piece that's quite easy to fall into the trap of "playing the notes"... also quite easy to fall into the trap of overdoing "emotionality", which can lead to dragging and have a less-emotional net result. Play with a good forward energy, exaggerate the dynamics a bit, and it's quite a non-boring piece.


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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: Kevin 
Date:   2004-06-08 00:40

In my opinion, it's a fantastic movement. Easily accessible (to the audience, I mean) and very fun to listen to. From the getgo - the main theme is attractive: the exposition starts with those strong dotted chords by the orchestra followed with the descending triplets. It could really leave an impressive statement with the listener. Then of course, there's that nice little nostalgic theme the clarinet plays at letter H (Carl Fischer edition) with the C-graceD-C-B-C-E-A-G-D - certainly a charming tiny melody.

Weber of course was one of the founders of romantic writing. One aspect of this movement is that it is rather much more neoclassical compared to any of the other movements in his clarinet works. It is in standard 1st movement sonata form, and emphasizes consonant chords and strong downbeats with lots of scales and arpeggios... the entire tone of the mvt is somewhat Stamitz-ish. However, there is indeed romantic flair in its timbre characteristic of von Weber. An excellent choice of repertoire and good luck with the performance.

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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2004-06-08 17:37

Ralph -

Alex has the right answer. You need to make the slow movement interesting by playing it the way Weber expected you to -- as a slow but passionate operatic scene.

Listen to a recording of a Weber opera -- or any opera. Just because the music is slow doesn't mean it's dull. You have to make yourself into an opera singer, and pour out the emotion. This means, first of all, understanding where each phrase is going (harmonically), and putting your personality into the lap of each member of the audience. Here's what I wrote in my posting on the Concertino at http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=14529&t=14450

The Concertino has constant changes of mood, which it is your job to bring out. Your first entrance must be as soft as possible, but also intense. This long note (clarion Bb) calls for "messa di voce" (a crescendo and then decrescendo). It's your calling card. You let the audience know you're there. It's more than just a crescendo and decrescendo. In addition to getting louder, your sound must also get bigger, warmer and more colorful. Weber was primarily a composer of operas, and the effect he is looking for is like an opera singer starting a note softly and "closed in" and then opening the tone up like a flower, showing it to the audience, and then closing it back up. This isn't easy to imitate on clarinet, but you need to do something. Add some vibrato. Make the sound brighter as well as louder, by pointing the tip of your chin down and pulling your lower lip out from over your teeth, so that at least half of the red part is outside your teeth. An opera singer will face to one side and then swing slowly to the other, to give all parts of the audience the chance to hear his/her beautiful voice. Raise the bell up to get more sound out, and do the swing yourself with the instrument. You can't afford to be timid or embarrassed. This is your chance to shine.

Of course the slow movement of Concerto # 2 is different from the Concertino, but you need to put the same sort of personality into it. When you start work on it, don't be afraid to roar, and even squeak and squawk. You can always do less, but unless you learn to do more, you're sunk. Imagine you're in Madison Square Garden, with an audience of 3,000, some of them over 100 yards away. How much would you have to do to impress the people all the way at the back? Do twice as much, because, remember, it has to be Grand Opera, even in the last row.

Opera isn't civilized. It's barbaric. It's overpowering love, so sweet your teeth ache. It's overpowering rage, so hot you breath fire and spit nails. You need to surprise even yourself, and scare everyone else half to death.

Enough for now. Otherwise I'll get too excited.

Ken Shaw

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 Re: Weber 2 Mvt 1: Boring?
Author: Ralph G 
Date:   2004-06-08 18:50

Much obliged for all the kind words and advice.

The one word that always comes to mind when describing this piece is "operatic." Dynamics, emotions, everything is exaggerated. So much of Ken's advice on the Concertino can be applied to Weber 2 as well.

I hope I can get this thing polished (I'm sure I can). And I hope the orchestra is up for performing it well; the give and take with the ensemble is so important in this piece. Without them, it's just me looking like I'm showing off.t


Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.

- Pope John Paul II

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