Sherman Friedland 1933-2017

June 17, 2017

sfSherman Friedland was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1933, and attended Brookline High School from 1947-51.

After serving as a bandsman in the U.S. Army, he attended Boston University, studying with Gino Cioffi at the New England Conservatory of Music, as well as with Rosario Mazzeo.

He graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Music degree.

He was appointed Principal Clarinetist of the Milwaukee Symphony in 1961 and studied at Le Conservatoire Americain.

He studied with Marcel Jean in Paris, and studied chamber music with Mademoiselle Nadia Boulanger.

He was awarded the Diplome cum Laundes in Clarinet by Mlle. Boulanger in 1960.

In 1965, he was appointed as Creative Associate at the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Lukas and Foss, directors, under a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

sf2The group, which included Paul Zukofsky, Buell Neidlinger, John Bergamo and Carol Plantamura, focused on avant-garde music and performance, performing regularly in Buffaloand in New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall.

Friedland was Professor of Music at Plymouth State College of the University of New Hampshire in 1968-69, and he served as Assistant Professor at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado from 1969 until 1976.

In 1976 he became Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Concordia University in Montreal, where he taught Clarinet and Chamber Music, and was conductor of the Concordia University Symphony Orchestra until 1993.

Friedland organized, and was clarinetist and director, for the Concordia Chamber Players.

His concerts as clarinetist have been reviewed by The New York Times among other publications.

He has appeared as clarinetist in over eighty-five concerts of chamber music for Radio Canada. He has also appeared in Musicien Québécois.

Friedland has recorded four compact discs for SNE Records of Montreal: The Concordia Commissions: Music, When Soft Voices Die, Vibrates in the Memory (SNE 614), Sherman Friedland in Concert (SNE 618), The Dream Itself Enchanted Me (SNE 538), and a release including the John Bavicchi’s Clarinet Quintet.

Sherman Friedland died January 26, 2017

He leaves his wife of 51 years Linda, four sons Noah, Abram, Nathan and Joseph; and 2 grandchildren Kayla and Sarah.

A private family service was held. Funeral arrangements entrusted to Wilson Funeral Home 822 Pitt Street, Cornwall. If so desired, contributions to the Ottawa Heart Institute would be appreciated by the family.

Nota bene: Sherman’s Clarinet Corner will remain online until January 2018.

– Neil Schwartzman, webmaster, colleague and friend of SF

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More on the metal clarinet of Gaston Hamelin

June 17, 2017

Here is perhaps the finest metal clarinet ever made. (see below)
http://www.uark.edu/ua/nc/NCCollectionPage/Page/SelmerMetalFullBoehm.htm

It was the model played by Gaston Hamelin in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Serge Koussevitsky. In 1931, Hamelins contract was not renewed by Maestro Koussevitsky, specifically because Mr Hamelin played metal. Hamelin went back to France and Ralph McClane went to study with him. (We know that he returned to play Principal in Philly until he died from cancer. He produced some of the beautiful sounds ever made on our horn.)

The clarinet was later taken out of Selmers catalogue with the caveat that it “damaged our prestige.” The late Wm McGibbon of Milwaukee, (who was my techy while I played princoal in that orchestra)gave me part of that information and I trust it to be true.

In any event, that was one of the reasons that the metal horn became extinct.

My first clarinet was metal. It was all shine and spiny and I loved it and vowed that after my first disastrous lesson, I would never squeak again.

I didn’t. At least not for a while.

Sherman Friedland

Of course after this somewhat disastrous event both Selmer and metal becme somwhat of a pariah within the business of orchestral clarinet playing. It is my belief that this event started the move toward other clarinets, (specifically Buffet, by both players and orchestra players) Selmer continued to make fine instruments and still does excelling in workmanship and tuning and consistency but lacking until recently a polycylindrical bore.) The Selmer 10G was supposed to be an exact copy of Tony Gigliotti’s Buffet, but many say it was not and didn’t play half as well.

But McClane and Gigliotti spent hour with Hans Moennig tuning and voicing their instruments and getting them to the level that we still emulate. Of course Bonade, another wonderful player played Buffet. Did he play Buffet because of what had happened to Hamelin? We cannt ask him but we can surmise. Moe recently there have been actual cases where Selmer players wond auditions to major orchestras and then were hooted out with great anxiety when they played Selmer and not Buffet. This is true.

Interestingly, the mantle of the fine clarinet will fall on the heads of those who have designed superior instruments of hard rubber and even grnadilla-dust and carbon fibers, speaking of the Ridenour Lyrique and the Buffet Greenline.


Sutermeister Capriccio for Solo Clarinet (in A)

June 17, 2017

The Sutermesiter Capriccio for Solo Clarinet is one of the more accessible solo worksfor the instrument. I had a request for information on this work from a young man in New Zealand who is studying and working on it in order to play for anexam. He could find nothing about it to place in his program notes; and in away there is not a lot or material on Mr. Sutermeister


Your sound: “setup”, or head?

June 17, 2017

Just thinking about David Glazer, looked his name up and found that he passed away last week. Brother of Frank, (perhaps a more well-known pianist), David was the clarinetist with the New York Woodwind Quintet at its prime and made many recordings and appearances with them. (Sam Baron, Flute, Ronald Rosenman Oboe, Arthur Weisberg, Bassoon, and John Barrows Horn.) It was at the time, simply the best ensemble of its kind.David Glazer was a player of rare ability in that he was able to blend i with a chamber ensemble with a wonderfully sensitive musicality. David also concertized with many orchestras mostly in Europe. In the early 60’s he was in residence along with the Fine Arts Quartet at the University of Wisonsin, (Milwaukee). I went to see and meet him one afternoon. He played a Chedeville mouthpiece with a metal inlay and we immediately tried each others mouthpiece(and clarinet). At the time, I was playing a Selmer S, a very bright mouthpiece and I thought his sound to be quite thick . Within about 5 minutes, he was sounding like David Glazer on my mouthpiece and I like, my bright self, on his. He had retired in 1985, and is survived by his brothers.

As a clarinetist, like you who reads this, I’ve thought about sound for as long as I have played the instrument. From my first efforts, when I heard my first teacher play, it has remained paramount in my mind and certainly whenever I play, (sometimes to great frustration), perhaps as you have as well. So, when I remember the playing of David Glazer and that afternoon in Milwaukee so many years ago, I realize that most of my sound must lodge somewhere in my head, resting in my conception of what the clarinet ought to sound like. Music and the musical phrase have always been more important to me than the basic making of the sound, however that sound does come first. If David Glazer was able to make his sound on my mouthpiece, (and mine on his), what in the world do the things that many students and professionals talk about all of the time have to do with the sound we make on the instrument? NOT all that much, which is basically the subject of this posting.

I am almost overwhelmed by the amount of words I read and hear about mouthpieces, instruments, “setups” and even ligatures. It is enough to make one overcome with the selling of equipment, for that is what it is.

There are folks who market all of the above at prices which are inconceivable to me. Mouthpieces for five hundred dollars! I am especially bothered by the so-called “stepup” products for that is pure and utterly ridiculous crap! A player of the clarinet can make a beautifuly sound on a Bundy mouthpiece, or one of the myriads of Kaspar mouthpieces, (knockoffs and otherwize) for sale out there for hunreds of dollars. And that doesn’t get close to the clarinet itself.

I am maddened by the price that students must pay for what they thnk or are told is a good clarinet, one that has that special sound or ping. Anything near the ballpark of three thousand dollars (or more) is wrong. Wooden instruments are not necessarily better than plastic or hard rubber. The Buffet Greenline clarinet is essentially a plastic clarinet and it is about three thousand bucks! Is that right?  Hard rubber is as good a material as grenadilla or even more exotic woods. These weird woods are much more prone to cracking than hard rubber and the sound is essentially the same. The Lyrique clarinet, (which I play) costs about a third of the price of a wooden instrument and the essential scale is better in tune. This is not an advertisement for my clarinet, for I have never met the man who designed it, nor spoken with him. But I know we feel the same about the hurt we experience when we know a young student or the father and mother of that student have to go and get a loan to buy the youngster an instrument that will run them almost four thousand dollars.

So think about the late David Glazer and me that afternoon. We played with our basic sound on each others mouthpiece (and clarinet). Take it from there when you look at asetup, a step-up, a horn, mouthpiece, ligature or the rest of it. Use your head and your ears.

Stay well, and keep practicing.

Sherman