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Author: Mitch K. 
Date:   2002-11-14 23:43

I've been playing clarinet for 20 years, and I just finally heard the Benny Goodman recording of the Copland clarinet concerto with Copland conducting. I'm avoiding making stylistic comments because I know what sort of back-lash I'll suffer from the other readers, but I must ask some questions.

For some time I've heard of a list of errata on this concerto, but I can't seem to find that list. Is there such a listing? I'm forcing myself to ask because there are a few rather noticable note differences between the edition I practice off of and the Goodman recording. Specifically: mm. 413 he plays C-natural, but C-flat is printed. There's a couple more spots like that...

I am assuming that Mr. Goodman was not playing from a Boosey & Hawkes edition; I do assume that he had he own unedited copy directly from the composer. So, are these "changes" from the editor or composer?

Thanks much,
Mitch King

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: diz 
Date:   2002-11-14 23:50

GBK - go for it

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: ron b 
Date:   2002-11-15 01:25

Why not make stylistic comments, Mitch? After playing twenty years I'm pretty sure you've earned the right to say whatever you wish. I've had to duck and run a time or two - but nobody died from it :)
I haven't heard that piece in a verrry long time. My guess is that, whatever chart he was using, he played what sounded good to him. A little artistic license maybe?

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: Won Kim 
Date:   2002-11-15 01:57

I have been working on this piece for couple months and listened to many recordings. I liked Shifrin's recording but I also got BG's recording. I worked hard with my teacher to make the best interpretation we could. I played this piece at the MTNA competition and Dr. West of VCU gave me comments that there is a misprint in measure 415 (Boosey & Hawkes). I think he was talking about the Cb's. Since I just got BG's recording I am not familiar with the C natural sound here. (Cb sounds better to me because I heard other recordings so much) That's all I can say and I didn't really answer the question... But I need to figure this out too since I'll have to play it later again and again!! Thanks!

-Won Kim

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: GBK 
Date:   2002-11-15 03:35

Mitch...There is a comprehensive list of misprints for the Copland Concerto. It was published in <i>The Clarinet</i> Volume 19/Number 2 (February/March 1992).

The measure that you refer to (m.413), as well as m.415 are both C natural, not Cb.

As Charles Stier writes in the introduction to his article concerning the misprints in the Copland Concerto:

"...The basis for the corrections in the solo clarinet part in the reduction for clarinet and piano (Boosey & Hawkes No. 16656, copyright 1950) is the comparison with the orchestral score (Boosey & Hawkes No. 17942, copyright 1952). According to Bob Wharton, editor at Boosey & Hawkes, his errata file of the score contains no corrections..."

A further, very interesting article to read concerning the Copland Concerto was published in <i>The Clarinet</i> Volume 23/Number 1 (November/December 1995) entitled "Too Difficult For Benny Goodman - The Original Version of the Copland Concerto" The author, Robert Adelson disects (in detail) the four passages where Goodman requested changes from Copland - in each case for technical reasons.

A definite must read...GBK

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: HAT 
Date:   2002-11-15 14:48

I am looking at the orchestral score right now. The cflats are in the key signature.

I haven't seen the article in question, but I believe the cflats to be correct.

David Hattner, NYC

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 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: Larry Liberson 
Date:   2002-11-15 22:01

As far as Charles Stier's article goes,'s only as good as the errata he catches.

First, both the orchestral score and the piano reduction say Cb (concert A) for each of the instances asked about in measures 413 & 415. Where Stier got C-natural from, I don't know. Maybe he contacted Copland on the "other side"? Maybe it's right -- but it's not supported by either score.

Anyway, take a good look at measure 421 (the last eighth note tied over to the next bar) - we all know that as an F# (concert E). However, the orchestral score has it as an E (D concert) which is in direct contrast to the piano reduction and the clarinet part, not to mention the very prominent concert Es (again, "our" F#) in the accompaniment. BTW, Stier doesn't make note of this in his article.

So....not only are things missed by "commentators" but you can't always rely on the score as gospel.

And you can't always believe everything you read on the editorial page, either.....

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: GBK 
Date:   2002-11-15 22:50

Just out of curiosity, I pulled out 9 different recordings of the Copland Concerto which I had in my library. I may have others, and will also check them if possible.

As to the note discrepancy in m.413 and m.415:

Goodman/Copland (Columbia Symphony) - C natural
Gary Gray/Newstone (Royal Philharmonic) - C natural
Wright/Copland (Boston Symphony) Tanglewood 1980 (live) - C natural

Stoltzman/Lawrence Smith (London Symphony) - Cb
Stoltzman/Michael Tilson Thomas (London Symphony) - Cb
Paul Meyer/Zinman (English Chamber Orchestra) - Cb
Hosford/Fischer (Chamber Orchestra of Europe) - Cb
Blount/Davies (Orchestra of St. Luke's) - Cb
Sabine Meyer/Franck (Melbourne Symphony) live 2002 - Cb

What does jump out is that both recordings with Copland conducting, the performer (Goodman, Wright) played C naturals.
Gary Gray (who in the cd booklet notes) says he played it for (and apparently worked with) Copland, also plays C natural.

If anyone else has additional Copland recordings, I'd be interested in noting whether the performer played C natural or Cb, as there seem to be advocates for both...GBK

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: Micaela 
Date:   2002-11-16 14:53

I have recordings by Stanley Drucker, Sharon Kam, and a different one by Sabine Meyer (as well as the Goodman). I'll check on it. I've always played C natural.

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: Micaela 
Date:   2002-11-16 15:08

I take that back, I play a C flat. I wasn't looking at my music at the time and was thinking of a different C flat.
All my recordings except BG's use the C flat:
Stanley Drucker/Leonard Bernstein- New York Philharmonic
Sharon Kam/Gregor Buhl- London Symphony (interesting interpretation)
Sabine Meyer/Ingo Metzmacher- Bamberg Symphoniker

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: Ken 
Date:   2002-11-16 20:03

I have an LP of Janet Hilton doing the Copland and she plays C-flats. I haven't read the suggested articles but heard tales on the dummying-down of parts. Goodman did have his whimsical side and given to on the spot composing/arranging in the studio…the substitution could’ve been as much purely impulse as pre-determined. As for the C-natural versus Cb, Copland incorporated jazz idioms into many of his melodies, even borrowing elements from other works. A conceivable source of the “correct” pitch (if there is one) could lie in a previous work. My piano reduction also reflects a written C-flat and in the key signature and I don't believe it to be a typo. Personally, I haven’t performed the Copland for over 15 years but interestingly after pulling it out, my working copy has C-naturals penciled in both measures...other than being told to change the note by one of my teachers I haven't a clue why. Mox-nix, either pitch fits tonally.

I’ve run across other Benny-isms in some of his recorded solos; specifically, in the CBS 1955 Gould Derivations recording. On this occasion I caught four note changes. Like the Copland, all of them curiously were a half step up or down from the ink and in the key signature. There was also a "seven" measure obligato deletion in the 2nd Mvt. that leaves me stupefied to this day. v/r KEN

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: nzdonald 
Date:   2002-11-17 11:57

maybe i'm a bit silly but.... i'd go with the Goodman/Copeland performance.... especially as both of the Copeland recordings had C natural, right?

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: Robert 
Date:   2002-11-17 12:05

I agree with nzdonald. Although I have a feelig that if we could ask Copland today if it was C or Cb, he'd probably say ... "yes"!

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: John J. Moses 
Date:   2002-11-17 17:11

I recorded the Concerto with Aaron Copland conducting in the early 80s, when he was quite old.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the movie was "Love & Money", and Copland used the Concerto as his film score.
I played a "C" in that spot, and Copland didn't bat an eye.
He complimented me after the session and signed my solo part. He seemed pleased.
The film was never a big hit, but the memory of working with Aaron Copland will last a lifetime.

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: ken 
Date:   2002-11-17 20:09

John J. Moses wrote: "I played a "C" in that spot, and Copland didn't bat an eye."

--John, I'm curious why you opted for the C natural in those measures? Assuming your copy had printed Cbs, was it an "integrity" thing from picking-up on/hearing the Goodman recording or did you feel the Cs were structurally a better choice? v/r Ken

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: John J. Moses 
Date:   2002-11-18 02:49

"John, I'm curious why you opted for the C natural in those measures? Assuming your copy had printed Cbs, was it an "integrity" thing from picking-up on/hearing the Goodman recording or did you feel the Cs were structurally a better choice? v/r Ken"
Hi Ken:
I was told shortly before the recording session, that Benny was called by Copland to do the movie.
Benny backed out at the last moment, so I figured I better get the "Benny thing" down before I went in to do my thing. I listened to his recording to try to get into his head about the Concerto.
So, the "C" just seemed right after all those listenings.
The notes on the page don't matter as much as what you feel at the time. Benny liked the note, and Copland liked what I did, so I guessed right.
I'm going to let it stand...until next time.

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: Ken 
Date:   2002-11-18 19:38

John, thx...given the same cirumstances I would've done the same thing.

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: GBK 
Date:   2002-11-18 20:13

John...Thanks from me as well.

As your experience is "first hand" information, the type that musicologists live for, I have duly noted your comments on my copy of the Copland and will be playing it and instructing it that way in the future.

Now if only Poulenc were around to comment about the note discrepancies in his Sonata....GBK

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: John J. Moses 
Date:   2002-11-18 21:03

Hi Ken & GBK:
Glad I could offer a little assistance.
I do think it could go either way and still be OK with Copland.
He was a very sweet guy and very much enjoyed the Concerto, both as a listener and as a conductor.
Carter Burwell was so impressed by the movie score to the flop, "Love & Money", that he wrote a film score using Copland's orchestration; (cl,stgs,harp,etc), and I played it for his HBO special on AIDS. The film was "And The Band Played On", it was the first CD put out by HBO, and it's a terrific piece.
I don't know if it's available, but it sure would be a nice "new" Concerto to follow the Copland!

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: Andrija 
Date:   2009-12-17 10:38

There is one more excellent live recording of this Concerto, although less known in the West. In 1961 it was performed by Serbian clarinetist Milenko Stefanovic ( and Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra (;the conductor was Copland himself: . I haven't got the recording with me now, but will check the disputed note soon.

Reply To Message
 RE: Goodman/Copland
Author: Bigno16 
Date:   2009-12-19 05:08

Michael Sussman told me that he once played the Copland Concerto with Copland there and asked him about the note discrepancy based on the Goodman recording. Copland said "What do you mean?" and Sussman replied with "Well, Benny played a C natural here, is that what you want?"...After Copland, seeming surprised, played around on the piano with that, he said "No, play what's written," so the Cb.

Ultimately, it seems somewhat insignificant since it's been such a discrepancy, but from this experience, it seems that the Cb is what Copland wanted.

Reply To Message
 Re: Goodman/Copland
Author: mrn 
Date:   2009-12-19 17:58

The Cb makes more harmonic sense (at least to me). If you play a C natural in bar 415, you get a nasty clash (a minor 9th) between the orchestra's concert A and the clarinet's concert Bb. If you play Cb in bar 415, on the other hand, your note is doubled in the orchestra in that bar, so there's no clash.

Not that Copland doesn't include some dissonant intervals elsewhere in the passage, including a minor 9th or two, but when he does, he mitigates the dissonance so it's not quite as harsh. For one thing, when he employs sharp dissonances in this passage, they are lower down in the chord and also confined to the strings. He doesn't create sharp dissonance *between* the clarinet and the strings.

Also, the minor 9ths in the strings are really minor 2nds with octave doubling of the top note. I have always considered minor 2nds to be more pleasant sounding and more easily "softened" with other tones than minor 9ths.

The ambiguity of the passage with regard to C natural vs. Cb seems to stem from bar 413, where the orchestra does not have the concert A. If you play a Cb, you get an F#m7 chord. If you play C natural, it's an F#7 (dominant 7th).

It's only in bar 415 that the problem with C natural becomes apparent.

Post Edited (2009-12-19 18:23)

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