My first clarinet was a one piece metal made by Pedlar It looked spookily complicated He fastened the mouthpiece, and played my first example of the most lovely thing I had ever experienced: HIS SOUND, which ,after constant work became mine.
I carried that sound in my head, still carrying it, and I would imagine that most clarinetists do, as well. I, as well as most of you,listen and choose the sound of certain well known players, and that these work their way into your head. Very early, we are virtually inundated with the makes and models of clarinets, and yes, these manufacturers have to pick what is most important to the clarinetist, the sound.
They say anything they need to say in order to have you consider obtaining their instrument.
Sounds sell, and then we are directly into the business of selling , which means money, income, competition, various markets, whether they be educational institutions, or other paths that sell.
Many year past , Mr. Benny Goodman was soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony.
As Principal , I was to rehearse the orchestra in the two pieces he was to play, The Rhapsody by Debussy , and the Concertino, by Weber.
The concert was in the Milwaukee Civic Auditorium, a huge hall ,seating 3200.
When he finally walked on stage, He played a very simple tune in the middle register of the clarinet. He said, “playin’ here is like spittn in the ocean”
He repeated the pretty warmup. And he performed with that same sound throughout the concert, never ever pushing his sound in order to match the orchestra’s fortes. His sound at that concert was never anything ,but beautiful, constrained and controlled.
Now that was a wonderful lesson in performance.and there are many more,always to do with the actual qualitative parts of that lovely sound, able to really sing at any time,in any work.
Loud is simply not a component, and it generally is a forced, stiff line. Gino Cioffi always believed in a free unforced quality.When he first went to Boston, that incredibly beautiful Hall freed his sound to literally soar above the orchestra even in pianissimo. Harold Wright carried that torch even further by exactly the written dynamics. it was not Ginos crystal mouthpiece, nor was it Wrights clarinet or mouthpiece. Wright sounded the same in Constitution Hall in DC. The so-called
big sound was , merely a sales gimmick, and then finally an attempt to make the
recorded performance sound as it would be in he hall.
That is what mixers and mikes are for.
thank you for all of the nice words, and play freely, and sing.
thank you, shermane