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 Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2018-02-12 08:43

Presented without comment. Perhaps someone else can find the words.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woot8-a-uWs&list=TLGGWwhQ-TlgiQIxMTAyMjAxOA&index=1



Post Edited (2018-02-12 08:44)

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-02-12 09:26

Lee Morgan presenting the same topic:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Lee+Morgan+Midsummer+Night.

Wenzel Fuchs doing the same:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Carnegie+Hall+Master+Class+Mendelssohn+Scherzo.

And Michael Lowenstein:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Earspasm+Music+Mendelssohn+Scherzo+Clarinet.

And Talia Dugan illustrating:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ItXNuioKJs.

And Alain Desgagne and student:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Play+with+the+masters+Alain+Desgagne+Mendelsohn.



Post Edited (2018-02-12 10:15)

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-02-12 09:38

Here's Wenzel Fuchs giving a masterclass on it:

https://youtu.be/AZzQynA6WKg

and Michael Lowenstern talking about it:

https://youtu.be/WNiE50uSBrY

-- Ray Zhang

Post Edited (2018-02-12 09:42)

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2018-02-12 10:42

Not sure what's the problem, to me, her playing is far away from anything satisfactory, particularly the sound.



Post Edited (2018-02-12 10:48)

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-15 08:56

Klose, I'm in agreement with you. Disappointed. Tonguing was tubby not crisp. Sound also suffered from articulating on the side of the reed. The whole setup seemed stuffy. Maybe the reed wasn't balanced, a different mouthpiece, the ligature is choking off the vibrations of the reed, Don't know. Just way too heavy. Not light and fun as this piece so desperately needs. Her air stream flow had back pressure. I noticed her mouthpiece patch is too high on the mouthpiece and she doesn't take in enough mouthpiece into her mouth so the reed isn't vibrating correctly. You can see the teeth marks on the patch. So she won't ever be able to play the piece cleanly. The patch is too thick. Probably a Zinner mouthpiece. She has to at least have more reed in her mouth to reach the heart of the reed to get that great sound. There is that thug before each not, that is the back pressure of the lack of airflow. Teeth marks on the patch show biting. Wish I had her as a student for a few lessons.

Some of the other players nailed it. Lee Morgan, nice light and crisp, single tonguing. There were some double tonguing which is fine with me. Very clean and light.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2018-02-17 15:07)

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2018-02-16 07:45

I sat in a room and listened to Iggy Gennusa play this lick. I've never heard any body play it any better. And he did with the most beautiful sound. Iggy had suck a great sounding staccato, when he played long tones he just made his staccato longer.

Tom Puwalski, Yamaha and D'Addario artist, author of the Clarinetists Guide to Klezmer, Klezmer Basic training, and former Principal clarinetist, United States Army Field Band.

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-17 00:30

Agree Tom. Too bad we don't have any recordings of him playing. Heard him play Daphnis et Chloé too one time. Had to play it with the Peabody Sym. I happen to be working on it now for a performance. THis is why I studied with him for 7 friggin years! Then with Marcellus.

Steve Barta recently retired from the Baltimore Sym studied with Harold Wright, Robert Marcellus and then taught with Iggie at Peabody. He said Iggie had all of them beat. But I'm not claiming that. All of them were great. I learned a lot from Bob and Iggie. I also learned perhaps more from Fred Ormand. If we look at some of the major symphonies it seems like half of the players at one time studied with Fred! He had that magical touch. But that's another subject.

I do have a recording of Iggie playing the Copland. It's up there with the very best, friggin great but sadly the recording quality is horrible. No mistakes, a jazz feel, just perfect. I have some other recordings as well. There are some other recordings. Weber, About 5 or 6 CD's.

Can anyone take CD's and improve the quality? I can't post these recordings because it just doesn't show how GREAT this musical genius was. If so I'll be happy to forward them to someone that can. Then I would like to put them on YouTube. He is in the ranks of Wright and Marcellus. Perhaps better. Sound is better for sure. They are still wonderful, but it doesn't depict his brilliance as Tom refers to.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2018-02-18 08:56

I'm a master at Audio Mastering Bob - ask Michele Z what my Audio work can be.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2018-02-18 08:59

But to those who were ripping on Jessica - why????


Is that really necessary???


Nobody stays playing at the Met unless they are a very solid, strong player.
It's really easy to rip someone from the cheap seats.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: hartt 
Date:   2018-02-18 11:50

I do not disagree with Jessica's playing as commented above .
However, I agree with David......are those rips really necessary.

Not only is she a high end player but compared to the other links, which were a wholly more acoustical environmentally friendly atmosphere, her atmosphere seems to be a in-home room set up for practice

There are people who are find faults in another's playing, instead of fixing their own

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2018-02-18 12:05

I assume she is a good player but that is also my honest opinion. I don't know what's the problem, most likely her setup, maybe also the accoustics of the room. To be frank, I feel this video has a negative impact on Backun.

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2018-02-18 12:42

Do you really have to ask why? This is unacceptable playing as an example. Furthermore, the advice is sub-standard. The long vs. short notes, fine, but the tonguing on the side of the reed? Yeah, it sounds like she may be tonguing on the side of the reed.

I don't give a crap how long she has "stayed playing" at the Met. The video, like others from her, is embarrassing. It should be called out for what it is, not sheltered behind the position she holds.

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2018-02-20 01:12

This reminds me of an experience I had playing in an orchestra with the 2nd clarinetist of a regional pro orchestra. Sitting next to her I didn't like how she sounded at all. It was, I thought, an unpleasant, raspy kind of tone color. However, when I had the opportunity to hear her from the audience section, I was astonished to hear a glorious clarinet sound that soared above the orchestra and filled the hall. I decided never to judge someone based on what I heard just a few feet away.

The recording is on the dry side....so you can hear the details of Ms. Phillip's playing and tonguing. I would say this is the equivalent to sitting next to her on stage as opposed to what is heard in the hall.

That is also a good reason to practice at least some in a very dry room, so you can hear those details. If you haven't done this, you probably won't like it.

Just say'in

John Gibson, Founder of JB Linear Music, www.music4woodwinds.com

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: Caihlen 
Date:   2018-02-20 01:56

She's in the big game. She's out there doing it. That's a lot different than woodshedding, (which is me). I got nothing but respect.



Post Edited (2018-02-20 02:01)

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2018-02-20 08:49

I guess it just doesn’t matter how any of these videos sound, then.

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-02-20 10:03

Musicians get off very lightly compared to pro athletes when it comes to public critique of their performance. Just a thought.

Somebody decided this was ready for prime time and put it out there. Nobody snuck this video with their cellphone, and it could have been reshot and edited as many times as Backun or Ms. Phillips thought was needed.

John's point is a fair one, but again, this was the choice they made. If nothing else, it should have been talked about in the video.

The combination of the odd advice and less than optimal results makes it more than fair to critique. Educational materials should never be shoddy, especially from a 'name' player. There's a responsibility to make it right.

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: brycon 
Date:   2018-02-20 10:57

Quote:

The combination of the odd advice...


Quote:

Furthermore, the advice is sub-standard. The long vs. short notes, fine, but the tonguing on the side of the reed?


I learned how to tongue to the side of the reed when I was studying jazz saxophone in highschool; it's a pretty common technique for creating a "ghosted" note.

I later started applying it very sparingly on the clarinet. The normal tongue-stopped staccato on the middle of the reed can be rather dead sounding. Tonguing to the side of the reed, however, keeps the note sounding a little longer, creating the effect of a string pizzicato--a full volume staccato note followed by a muted but ringing "after note." I also later found out, through lessons and masterclasses, that some other clarinet players, including Steve Williamson, Chen Halevi, and Ricardo Morales, among others, use this technique. (After some practice, it's possible to do it while touching the reed closer to its middle; it requires incredibly little tongue pressure.)

To my ears, a staccato in Stravinsky shouldn't be the same as a staccato in Mozart. So why not cultivate different techniques for different expressive ends? (I myself don't use this technique in the Mendelssohn, though I know some very successful clarinetists, like Jessica, apparently, who do.)

Anyways, maybe it's not something to teach typical high-school students. But I don't think these videos are meant for them.



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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: wkleung 
Date:   2018-02-20 14:26

I find it funny that some of us consider it off limit to criticize this video.

Having an esteemed position doesn’t necessarily mean playing well. I know someone who didn’t survive the first round of an audition for a principal chair of a major US orchestra, and still got the job through the back door.

Should people be forbidden to criticize Donald Trump then? He was democratically elected afterall.

I am no expert on clarinet but found this video disappointing.

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: MartyMagnini 
Date:   2018-02-20 18:28

wkleung wrote: I am no expert on clarinet.

Yep. Agreed.

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2018-02-20 20:46

Brycon - WHAT? I thought I invented that (ghosting decay). LOL, I need to get out more. The technique is useful in other contexts than varying staccato too, like imparting a sense of added resonance to final notes to increase a feeling of emphasis. Center tongue, nuanced pressure - has to be practiced.

Ghosting doesn't sound like what the video performance is doing. That's just how she articulates in general. I doubt that tonguing on the side is causing the issues of lightness and tone that people are mentioning (issues I tend to agree about, especially comparing several other videos on this piece.) I assume that's how she chooses to play, and the recording setup is probably making it sound worse.

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-02-20 21:42

Tip of the tongue to tip of the reed action is only one of several styles of articulation that have long been considered "legitimate" parts of clarinet technique. Keith Stein in "The Art of Clarinet Playing" published in 1958 said that "Some fine artists occasionally go to the extent of touching only the extreme upper right or left edge (of the reed) to obtain certain delicate entrance effects" (p. 25). He also cited the common technique called "mid-tonguing" in which the "tip [of the tongue] anchors lightly on the gums just below the lower teeth, leaving the middle of the tongue free to contact the reed." Far from condemning this practice, he called it "an extremely sensitive, rapid and effective way to articulate, allowing for a surprising degree of finesse." He was also familiar with the concept of side to side tonguing espoused by David Pino and others. He noted that "some outstanding players" glided the tip of their tongue "roller-fashion back and forth into the angle where the reed and lip meet."

So, if in 1958 there was no one right way to tongue (including the tip of the tongue directly forward to the tip of the reed method), then six decades later there is also not just one right way to do it.



Post Edited (2018-02-20 21:46)

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: Alphie 
Date:   2018-02-21 15:54

I assume that those who criticise Jessica's playing in a little studio with bad acoustics are non professionals or wannabes, who are usually very fundamentalistic about "how to play the clarinet." A full pro usually leave the instruction books at home and do what is necessary to achieve the musical result he/she, or the conductor wants, even if it means breaking the "rules."

Alphie

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 Re: Deconstructing Mendelssohn's Scherzo with Jessica Phillips
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2018-02-22 17:17

Obviously, if her Staccatto always sounded that horrible, even from afar, she'd be long gone from MET. Any sensible player will know that the recording can absolutely distort the impression.
That being said, she might not have used her best reed and I find it questionable to post this online, because it will at first glance leave a negative impression. Hence the many dislikes...

Best regards
Christian

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