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 Frederick Thurston
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-12-24 13:27

I have been listening to a few recordings on YouTube of this great English clarinetist. Unfortunately, the quality of the recordings is awful, even by my tolearnt standards. I'm struck by how "modern" Thurston was: no vibrato and tempi rather on the rapid side. He doesn't remind me of the Brymer and Kell at all, though I hasten to add that I admire them (at least Kell's earlier work). If any of you have more acceptable recordings of Thurston -sound-wise-to put on YouTube, by all means do so.


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 Re: Frederick Thurston
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-12-24 20:46

The clearest recordings of Thurston I know are on the Symposium CD 1259--which I believe is still in print--of the Stanford Concerto in A minor, the John Ireland Fantasy Sonata, and the Fibich Quintet (with Dennis Brain). He had excellent technique and a forthright style unmarred by excesses of rubato or vibrato that marked some of his British successors. Though playing a large bore clarinet he preferred something of a closed facing, French style mouthpiece rather than the more open one favored by many British players. His method book and three vol. passage studies series are still challenging and worthwhile for study and practice.

If you were to listen only to recordings by Thurston and Haydn Draper, you would never guess that the next phase of British clarinet would be Kell, Brymer, and DePeyer. The current, straightforward styles of British-born Michael Collins, Anthony Pay, and Julian Bliss, seem to flow from Thurston and Draper rather than from Kell, Brymer, and DePeyer.

Post Edited (2019-12-24 20:55)

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 Re: Frederick Thurston
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-12-25 03:18

Seabreeze; thank you for your comments. Brymer got his vibrato from listening to the oboist Goosens, whom he greatly admired, and from being primarily self-taught. Kell thought the clarinet was essentially a boring and rather inexpressive instrument that needed to be spiced up. de Peyer had Thurston as a teacher, but didn't like how he played. I imagine he was influenced by Kell. I knew John Denman who was also of that tradition. These players don't represent my ideal, but are far from being without any merit.


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 Re: Frederick Thurston
Author: Paintrunner 
Date:   2019-12-25 07:12

Samek music has some historic recordings, cd or download, eg


Also Thea King, Reginald Kell and several others, as well as more current.


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 Re: Frederick Thurston
Author: Reformed 
Date:   2019-12-25 12:16

I've always felt that there is no such thing as a single English or British clarinet tradition. Players had the freedom to copy others or to develop their own unique ways of playing (within reason).

As youth growing up in 1920's Yorkshire, I doubt that Reg Kell had much access to players from London and far less further afield. By the time he went to college in London many of his ways of playing may have been generally self-set.

My own teacher, Harry Morrison in 1960's Glasgow, actively encouraged me to listen to and copy whatever players and their instruments could be heard. By this time records and radio had opened the clarinet window to the world.

The trend to ever growing mono-culturalism in clarinet and woodwind playing is a loss. Of course, modern players have immense pressure to "fit in" in order to earn a living.

I feel the same way when I go to France and every other word is in English!

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 Re: Frederick Thurston
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2019-12-26 15:59

Thurston has been an inspiration to me, a few people have said i’m a little like him in approach. Listen to my recordings Seabreeze and see whether I’m worthy of being added to your list. To add I just recorded 4 Concerto for the BBC which have Thurston connections

Peter Cigleris

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