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 Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: Keil 
Date:   1999-08-09 19:04

I've heard that this piece is hard but quite wonderful!! i was wondering has anyone played this piece and what do they think about it?

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: angella 
Date:   1999-08-10 00:26

IT IS HARD- BUT IF YOU LIKE 20TH CENTURY MUSIC, YOU MAY LIKE IT. IT'S IN THE TOP TIER, I THINK, OF HARD CONCERTOS. I DON'T KNOW THAT IT'S PLAYED TERRIBLY A LOT, BECAUSE IT ENDS QUIET AND IT'S NOT REALLY ONE THAT MAKES THE CROWD JUMP OUT OF THIER SEATS, BUT- THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S BAD OR ANYTHING. SOME PEOPLE REALLY LIKE IT, BUT IT IS AN ADVANCED PIECE FOR SURE.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: Tim2 
Date:   1999-08-10 01:37

It has a lot of good ideas in it. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of connection to me of the ideas in the piece. It keeps going and going.... I guess I don't hear the form. I know it's famous and probably has a following.

There's a lot of other literature out there. I choose not to put any time into the Nielson. Too much work for the music IMHO.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: www.mytempo.com 
Date:   1999-08-10 01:45

The Mozart Concerto does not have a lot of audience appeal either, but that doesn't stop us from performing it.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: angella 
Date:   1999-08-10 02:46

the mozart has a little more accessability to an audience than nielsen and demonstrates a style that judges, commitees are interested in. but i agree with tim- too hard for what it is... kind of like the corigliano concerto! yikes!
it's a lot about personal preference

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: Rick2 
Date:   1999-08-10 04:04

Actually, I think the Rondo has quite a bit of audience appeal, but it has to be played at a good quick tempo.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: Daniel 
Date:   1999-08-10 04:07

When David Peck played it with the Houston Symphony back around '94, he recieved a rather lengthy standing ovation virtually immediately after the conductor stopped. Crowds don't just jump up and applaude for flashy fast pieces... :-)



angella wrote:
-------------------------------
IT IS HARD- BUT IF YOU LIKE 20TH CENTURY MUSIC, YOU MAY LIKE IT. IT'S IN THE TOP TIER, I THINK, OF HARD CONCERTOS. I DON'T KNOW THAT IT'S PLAYED TERRIBLY A LOT, BECAUSE IT ENDS QUIET AND IT'S NOT REALLY ONE THAT MAKES THE CROWD JUMP OUT OF THIER SEATS, BUT- THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S BAD OR ANYTHING. SOME PEOPLE REALLY LIKE IT, BUT IT IS AN ADVANCED PIECE FOR SURE.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: angella 
Date:   1999-08-10 04:22

rick, the mozart, right? at what tempo do you play or like? i've gravitated, for one reason or another to about 84? how about you>?

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: angella 
Date:   1999-08-10 04:25

daniel-

i think it depends on the audience, to some degree, don't you? houston has a pretty decent audience personnel- and one that knows classical music (i.e. not to clap between movements) i just think that piece, as opposed to one with a more obvious ending, could be more likely to leave certain audiences wondering if it's over or not, that's all- especially if they're not familiar with the piece. anyway, i'm sure he did a great job- persoanlly, it's not my favorite piece, but i have a friend who was totally in love with it. i think it's a piece that needs your personality- not just someone who can play notes- do you think?

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: Rick2 
Date:   1999-08-10 06:12

Angella,

the only copy I have heard is the Mozart at Tanglewood CD with the solo performed by Benny Goodman. It sounds like he's playing somewhere between 110 and 116.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: William Fuller 
Date:   1999-08-10 15:34

How about the Bozza Concerto?? If you haven't tried it, you should. Lots of technique required in mvts 1 and 3. Mvt 2 requires a lot of control and is beautiful. Fun to play and nice to listen to.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: ted 
Date:   1999-08-10 19:17

I first heard about the piece (and the Francaix concerto) through comments on this board concerning the incredible difficulty of both these pieces. I purchased a CD of the Neilson (Walter Boeykins was the performer). He played it so effortlessly that I commented to my teacher that it didn't sound terribly difficult. I was blown away when he showed me the sheet music. The intervals and number of accidentals blew me away - it looked almost unplayable.

My teacher, who has played it, commented that it takes a lot of time woodsheding to play it well.

It is rather lengthy, and does not have the typical form (allegro movement, slow movement, rondo) of many concertos. It is very emotional and tempermental.

I have no plans to play it. I'll stick with Weber, Mozart and Brahms for now.

Incidentally if you're into difficult music, look at the Francaix concerto. The clarinet is on the key of B natural, and there are accidentals all over. It's probably even more difficult than the Neilson.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: angella 
Date:   1999-08-10 21:55

whew- i agree. the francaix is incredibly messy with accidentals, not to mention the key it's in. yikes! i haven't actually heard it- it may be great, but for me, i'll wait on that one! what's the bozza like... william?

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   1999-08-10 23:41

angella wrote:
-------------------------------
the francaix is incredibly messy with accidentals, not to mention the key it's in. yikes! i haven't actually heard it- it may be great, but for me, i'll wait on that one! ----------
To me, the Francaix is difficult for difficult's sake alone. J. Lawrie Bloom once referred to it as a "circus piece" - a show off piece. Nothing wrong with showing off - I enjoy listening (and watching!) to Bob Spring doing his tonguing calisthenics (listen to Dragonstongue for a fun filled CD of tonguing.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: angella 
Date:   1999-08-11 03:11

i think so too- just hard for hard's sake. that's right! i guess if you really want a challenge and to say you've played it.... whatever. i feel similarly about the corigliano concerto. yikes! again, i think it's just whether or not you want to put the time and effort into learing the piece.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: www.mytempo.com 
Date:   1999-08-11 04:44

Goodman's performance of the Mozart is a joke.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: www.mytempo.com 
Date:   1999-08-11 04:48

Corigliano is not as hard as the Francaix to me.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: ted 
Date:   1999-08-11 15:44

Someone posted "Goodman's performance of the Mozart is a joke."

I'm curious about this statement. Can you elaborate? I have recordings of Goodman playing the Concerto and Quintet, and thought he played them well. Though I have not heard his recording of the Neilson, I've heard many people say that he probably should not have recorded it.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: Ken Shaw 
Date:   1999-08-11 18:24

www.mytempo.com wrote:
-------------------------------
Goodman's performance of the Mozart is a joke.


Dave -

I assume you mean his recording of the Nielsen, with Morton Gould and the Chicago Symphony. He plays most of the notes, but has to slow down to a snail's pace to do it, and the very prominent snare drum part is played ppp, like a jazz drummer with brushes in the background. I can't imagine a more misguided performance, and it's recently been reissued on CD! Several years ago I was at a workshop with Grover Shiltz (the Chicago engligh horn player), and I asked him how they kept from laughing during the recording session. He said that was the most difficult part of the process.

Actually, BG made a pretty good recording of the Mozart concerto back in the 50s with the Boston Symphony. Some of his later recordings, particularly the live one with the Malcolm Arnold Concerto # 2, are weak. He was no joke as a classical player early on. His recording of the Bartok Contrasts, with Szigeti and Bartok, is still the one to have, and his first recording of the Copland was also excellent.

Best regards.

Ken Shaw

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: Tim2 
Date:   1999-08-16 02:41

BG sneaks in here in a lot of posts. I have heard a recording of the Mozart by BG, I think it's fine, also. You have to know it's BG. I wouldn't know about the Nielson and BG.

The first phrase of the Nielson is so nice and one thinks they are going to have a melodious neoclassical piece to listen to, _and then the truth comes out_. And it keeps coming out and coming out, until the end when that theme comes back. Where were we?? What a journey. I'm tired from going around in one big circle. It probably grows on you?

IMHO, a lot of works written later in this century are more accessable to even trained ears as shorter works or works written in short movements. I think of Hillandale Waltzes of Babin, Lutaslawski Dance Preludes Stavinski Three Pieces, and multitudes of other SHORTER works (clarinet [& piano], I know). The harmonies deviate but they are not one long continuous piece. Dazzling technique in portions. I suppose that's tough to do in an orchestral setting. People don't write like that, hey?

Even the Rudolf Jettel Studies have _form_ - "Preliminary Studies to 'The Accomplished Clarinettist'" Book One. ABAB coda (more or less), except #4 which is variations and a coda. They are more musical than the Nielson.

Also: Mozart has no audience appeal? Sorry, I disagree on this one.

When I heard Sabine Meyer perform the Mozart earlier this year, she got a big ovation. People told me that they did not know the piece but it was wonderful. One woman saying, "Now I know why that is my husband's favorite piece by Mozart." Her husband is NOT a clarinetist. Sabine is an exceptional performer. She brought the Mozart to life as it should be. Any performer should do this, obviously. The Mozart had great audience appeal that night. We knew what country we were in on that journey.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: angella 
Date:   1999-08-16 06:28



Also: Mozart has no audience appeal? Sorry, I disagree on this one.


tim- i agree totally. but, though it looks simple, it's very difficult to play, for stylistic reasons... maybe it's the same with listening to and appreciating the music? just a thought. maybe it's just a little long for some audiences, but... plenty of appeal, i think.

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 RE: Nielson clarinet concerto
Author: Phillip Chance, M.D. 
Date:   1999-08-20 23:34

Yeah, I think his (Goodman's) version of the Copland is just about the best thing I ever heard him do. Recall that Stanley D. (who I think is incredible in the Nielsen, BTW) also played the Copland on a "Young Person's Concert" and he seemed a bit taxed pulling it off. The old recording of Louis Cahuzac playing the Nielsen is very interesting and I doubt if it will ever find its way onto a CD. It's quite debatable for any individual clarinetist whether or not the Nielsen is worth the grunt to "master" it, but I suspect that history will certainly record this piece as a definite 20th century masterpiece for the instrument! BTW, I did get to hear Stoltzman do the Corigliano with the Seattle Symphony several years ago-just wish that he had done the Nielsen, Hindemith or almost anything else instead! Phillip

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