RIDENOUR C clarinet and Esperanza

September 17, 2015

Hi Mr Friedland

I have just ordered a ridenour C clarinet and Bb Speranza (a discontinued model similiar to the 576bc at a very good price). My main music interests are klezmer, jazz, band and pop tunes. Would having a C and Bb clarinet cover all my bases, or would it be worthwhile to purchase an A clarinet sometime down the line even though (at least at the moment) have no interest in orchestral playing? In other words, should my next clarinet be another Bb with different characteristics, or an A clarinet. Can a C clarinet play the A clarinets parts? Also, are you familiar with the Speranza clarinet at all and if so what’s your opinion. Thanks in advance, Eli

It is very interesting, but it is a very simple recommendation to make. Tom has solved the problem, actually a long time past. I have played all of the many models he has produced and/or designed, including the Opus, my best clarinets. THE best clarinet.

William Ridenour is the best designer of clarinets in the surrent era.

The material he uses in all his intruments is more stable in all ways, than any other used to make clarinets. Of course, it is hard rubber, or ebonite, which is as stable, and will not crack, will not crack or shatter in any way, and is virtually impervious to temperature changes.

Take all of that to the bank, as they say. Enjoy them.

All good wishes.

sherman

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A letter from A student from UMASS

August 24, 2015

Hi Sherman,

My name is Steve and you were my clarinet teacher MANY YEARS AGO at UMASS (1965?) and I played 2nd clarinet with you that year in the UMASS orchestra before I transferred to MIT. I have continued to play the clarinet – and still practice almost every day – and still take lessons (now with Tom Hill in Boston). I have enjoyed your blog for years but have never written. I wish you well

I recall the incident that they decided to take a photo of the UMASS orchestra and you suggested we hold our clarinets with hands reversed. What a lark.You gave a recital at UMASS that (my freshman) year and you played the Schumann fantasy pieces. I had never heard the clarinet played that well before (by leaps and bounds). I was ready to give up, but I am glad I did not. I play much better now (at age 67).

Dear Steve:

Thank you for your kind letter, deeply appreciated. I remember 1965 as it was our first year of marriage, (and we are still adjusting)

I still play with my hands reversed, which is of course, more fun, but am considering no hands at all.

Have been quite ill with varia, a new valve. a few heart attacks, am in a long term care facility, and feel much better.

Thank you again

Keep practicing.

Stay well.

sherman

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From John McKinney, Leblanc and Selmer

August 8, 2015

ear Mr. Friedland, Hope You are well!

Just wanted to say I read your letter on your website. Please have faith there are many people who still remember all you have done for championing beautiful values in music and clarinet playing.

Today there are so many famous players who believe only in super hard reeds and jaw pressure. I direct my private students to the Clarinet Central website, so they can hear recordings of Gustave Langenus, Louis Cahusac, Reginald Kell, and many others. It then becomes obvious what Benny Goodman was doing with his classical performances and tone concept. Two of my teachers were Ronald Phillips and Eugene Zoro; so this has meaning for me.

These great players all had round mellow sounds that were sweet and clear. The beautiful universal quality of their playing could be appreciated by anyone. I include your recordings in this great company.

Please forgive this question if it is out of line. Is it possible for your family to get you a lap top and headphones so you can enjoy classical performances on YouTube?

Thank You For All You Have Done!

John McKimmey
Leblanc Artist with Conn Selmer

Plays Leblanc Clarinets and Selmer Saxophones Exclusively.

Dear JohnMcKinney

Many thnaks for your kind letter.There is a rather lovely,view surrounding this lovely place, WIth huge evergreeon spruce and flowers, and , strangely, none of the charmng little critters that come in the early light. I have a macmini, which provides me with excellent sound and I prefer small speakers, which provide me with a natural sound, which me of the wonders available  through You tube, and a real favorIte, Medici TV from which you can hear and see allof the many festival s, from throughout the world,and their current offerings..

I am aware of threat players and there  aremany,but find myself much more intnter

sted in their abilities to differentiate in their ability to add a unique interpretative quality.

The quallity of sound is quite similar, however the ability to make a phrase sing and rise above the sound of the other comes to only few of us.

thank you, and best wishes.

sherman friedland


From Heartwood Long Term Care/ Joan and Beverly

August 6, 2015

We sit at the same table, mostly.

Joan sits at my left. She has very lovely knowing eyes.Someone combs her hair most mornings, and, every once in a while she looks at me knowingly with large, remembering, knowing eyes. But she says little; no sentences,just makes her choice easily known and understood by her servers.. The rest of her face are unkindly appearing to be very much younger than all else.. She walks well with her wallker, though needs assistance to sit at the table. Sitting, she looks virtually collapsed, very small, shriveled, though with her occasional glance, there is a kind of communication, which is assuring..
When finished she, helped to her feet, walks quickly back down the hallway, her movements much younge appearing than sitting, Once in a while, I see her helping Ransom into his room nest to hers, actually pushing him in his wheelchair. He is intelligent,seemingly have losthis ability to talk , or even move at all.

Beverly sits to my right, and she is a new resident. She appears perfectly well, and seems to move by herself, though must be accompanied from her room and back.she looks well, her eyes appear bright. and she can speak, or seems to to speak.
She says she has no cholesteral, doesnt have anything wrong about her heart, and needs no pills for blood pressure.

When she speaks, she wants to know what utencil to use, frequently drops them, and knows nothing about their function, but she eats quickly , finsihing every drop, then asks for a towel, but she means a Tissue, for her nose leaks and drips constantly after finishing eat ing her food. She then begins to call various severs, whom she recognizes, but, in a very small voice, over and over , and asks why there is no response. She asks if she has had dessert, and keeps on asking until she is noticed.

Tonight, a server came to her and told her that she used used to live downstairs from and the server reminiisced about her childhood with Beverly, perhaps 20 years ago , or more. There was a brightening of her face, saying sometimes, yes, I remember that. The server was kind and smiling. It was touching to see, and helped me to understand her condition.

And, I suppose, to understand mine..

shermen friedland


orchestras/trouble

June 24, 2015

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the VIenna Philharmonic, summer concert

what an orchestra can be

It has been a dark few years for this country’s orchestras. In the past season, a bitter strike in San Francisco and a lockout in Minneapolis led to cascading cancellations, including of the San Francisco Symphony’It has been a dark few years for this country’s orchestras. In the past season, a bitter strike in San Francisco and a lockout in Minneapolis led to cascading cancellations, including of the San Francisco Symphony’

This remarkable venture, which resulted in works by Lukas Foss, Paul Hindemith, Roy Harris, Gunther Schuller and many others, put Louisville and its orchestra on the international cultural map and attracted luminaries like Shostakovich and Martha Graham to visit the city. But that wasn’t enough to fend off the regular financial crises that have dogged the orchestra over the decades since, until its recent bankruptcy filing.

This perennial instability has stemmed in part from an overreliance on bailouts from private sponsors and large corporations, some of which reduced donations during difficult economic periods or moved out of town. “No one wanted to face the reality that one day support would end,” said Jorge Mester, the orchestra’s current music director, in a telephone interview.

One solution being discussed is to reduce the Louisville Orchestra’s 71 salaried players to 55 and fill in the gaps with freelancers. “The musicians, of course, don’t want to abandon their colleagues,” Mr. Mester said. While the ideal is an orchestra that plays 52 weeks a year, he added, “it’s not a calamity” to use freelancers. He doesn’t fear that quality would suffer.

A reliance on freelancers is growing increasingly prevalent in many industries. Some first-rate orchestras, like the New York ensembles Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, have long had freelance structures. But even with lower overhead many freelance music organizations are now playing fewer concerts and producing less income for the musicians.
Stewart Rose, a horn player with St. Luke’s since 1983, also plays with Orpheus and the New York City Opera Orchestra and is currently on a temporary arrangement with the New York Philharmonic. He enjoys “the variety that comes along with freelancing,” he said in a telephone interview. But the time lag between performances during a slow stretch can be demoralizing, he said. “It’s really been tough for everyone with the decline in the amount of work out there.”

While the freelance model can be perilous for musicians, the upside for orchestras is a more flexible operating system. The rotating work force of the excellent Orchestra of St. Luke’s, for example, makes it easier to survive challenging times.

“One of the things that makes us resilient is our flexibility,” said Katy Clark, the orchestra’s president and executive director. “We don’t spend what we don’t have. We don’t guarantee work to our musicians and don’t require that they turn up. Even though you might think this would be anarchic, we have very stable personnel to an amazing extent.”

Another benefit of freelance orchestras, Ms. Clark added, is that they tend to have more inclusive management styles and thus suffer less labor friction.

St. Luke’s currently has balanced budgets, no operating deficit and a new revenue stream from the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, a complex for performance and rehearsals that opened in March, with rooms for rent by outside groups at affordable rates. The orchestra, which is often presented by Carnegie Hall and other organizations in collaborative partnerships that Ms. Clark described as fundamental to its success, has not cut any of its self-produced programs but has received fewer fee engagements during the recession.

This perennial instability has stemmed in part from an overreliance on bailouts from private sponsors and large corporations, some of which reduced donations during difficult economic periods or moved out of town. “No one wanted to face the reality that one day support would end,” said Jorge Mester, the orchestra’s current music director, in a telephone interview.

One solution being discussed is to reduce the Louisville Orchestra’s 71 salaried players to 55 and fill in the gaps with freelancers. “The musicians, of course, don’t want to abandon their colleagues,” Mr. Mester said. While the ideal is an orchestra that plays 52 weeks a year, he added, “it’s not a calamity” to use freelancers. He doesn’t fear that quality would suffer.

A reliance on freelancers is growing increasingly prevalent in many industries. Some first-rate orchestras, like the New York ensembles Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, have long had freelance structures. But even with lower overhead many freelance music organizations are now playing fewer concerts and producing less income for the musicians.

Stewart Rose, a horn player with St. Luke’s since 1983, also plays with Orpheus and the New York City Opera Orchestra and is currently on a temporary arrangement with the New York Philharmonic. He enjoys “the variety that comes along with freelancing,” he said in a telephone interview. But the time lag between performances during a slow stretch can be demoralizing, he said. “It’s really been tough for everyone with the decline in the amount of work out there.”

While the freelance model can be perilous for musicians, the upside for orchestras is a more flexible operating system. The rotating work force of the excellent Orchestra of St. Luke’s, for example, makes it easier to survive challenging times.

“One of the things that makes us resilient is our flexibility,” said Katy Clark, the orchestra’s president and executive director. “We don’t spend what we don’t have. We don’t guarantee work to our musicians and don’t require that they turn up. Even though you might think this would be anarchic, we have very stable personnel to an amazing extent.”

Another benefit of freelance orchestras, Ms. Clark added, is that they tend to have more inclusive management styles and thus suffer less labor friction.

St. Luke’s currently has balanced budgets, no operating deficit and a new revenue stream from the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, a complex for performance and rehearsals that opened in March, with rooms for rent by outside groups at affordable rates. The orchestra, which is often presented by Carnegie Hall and other organizations in collaborative partnerships that Ms. Clark described as fundamental to its success, has not cut any of its self-produced programs but has received fewer fee engagements during the recession.


“if we don’t have support for Music Education, what do we have”?

June 25, 2014

 

Glen Dicterow,  concertmaster of the NY Philharmonic is retiring.
The open, empty violin case backstage at Avery Fisher Hall stood as a stark reminder that Glenn Dicterow, the longest-serving concertmaster in the history of the New York Philharmonic, would retire after Saturday night’s concert. It awaited the return of the 1727 Guarneri del Gesù violin that the Philharmonic had lent him as its first among equals.

It has been 34 years since Mr. Dicterow became the Philharmonic’s concertmaster, or principal first violinist. When he leaves to devote himself to teaching, he will have held the position for 6,033 performances; played as a soloist in 219 concerts; helped transmit the wishes of four music directors and more than 200 other conductors; and toured in 174 cities in 51 countries, lugging his belongings in an old trunk that once belonged to Leonard Bernstein.

“It’s going to be a tough Saturday night,” Mr. Dicterow, 65, said in an interview this week in his studio, as he prepared for a series of final performances of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, running through Saturday, with the pianist Yefim Bronfman and the orchestra’s principal cellist, Carter Brey. “The last one. Saying goodbye.”

Audiences know the concertmaster as the violinist who sits to the conductor’s left, leading the orchestra as it tunes up and playing solos. But behind the scenes, concertmasters can wield power to shape an orchestra’s sound — which is why they are the best-paid players in orchestras. (Mr. Dicterow was paid $523,647 in 2011, according to the Philharmonic’s most recent tax filing.)

“Music, and the music business, have both changed quite a bit since Mr. Dicterow made his New York Philharmonic debut in 1967, at 18, performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in a concert led by Andre Kostelanetz. (A review in The New York Times said that he had “blended talent and immaturity in his performance.”)

Mr. Dicterow said that playing had changed, to some extent. “It’s a given that you’re supposed to play perfectly, virtuosically,” he said. “But maybe there’s a bit of the generic quality in music making — people don’t have as much individual style. I think that’s just a product of the age we live in.”

He seemed genuinely taken aback when talking about the 2011 bankruptcy of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the current labor woes at the Metropolitan Opera, which is seeking to cut costs. And he lamented the disappearance of music education and the lack of government support for music. If we don’t have that, what do we have?


 

But he said that he was looking forward to moving back to California — his father played in the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 52 years — to hold the Robert Mann Chair in Strings and Chamber Music at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. And he said that while he would miss the Philharmonic, he would not miss the stress of sitting in the first chair.

Mr. Dicterow recalled a pep talk he received from a friend who had retired from the orchestra, who told him that he would enjoy listening to music without the responsibility. “He said that on the stage, you hear more or less what’s around you,” he said. “He said that it’s great to sit back and not worry about things — bringing people in or playing solos.THE NY TIMES


The realities of dying in Quebec, Nathan Friedland

May 30, 2014

The Realities of Dying in Quebec

Ten years ago as a nursing student, my desire to work with elderly patients was deferred after a heart-breaking stage on a geriatric floor in a major Montreal hospital. My general impression back then was that as Louise McDevitt stated in her letter of the day last week “older people are being patronized, institutionalized and marginalized.” I knew after the stage was over that there was no way I could have a long career in geriatrics because I would have been in a constant battle with the system for better care for my patients, and there would have been no way I’d have had the strength to carry on such a battle for years and years.
Now, after ten years as a nurse, and with Bill 52 very close to becoming a reality, I feel privileged to have had experiences with dying patients, most of whom were children, as those experiences have taught me a great deal about the value of life. It was after one recent death of a teenaged boy just this past winter that I came to discover that in ten years, not much has changed. Society still appears to value the young over the aged especially when it comes to dealing with death, hence the need for a bill to legalize euthanasia.
The primary architect of Bill 52 Veronique Hivon and current Health Minister Gaetan Barrette have both said that it would only be open to persons 18 and over, the question then is: why? I have the answer: palliative care is far more available to patients under 18 years of age than it is for adults, particularly the elderly, because society would not stand for the kind of treatment the elderly go through when they are dying if that treatment was given to a dying child.
I was exposed to this harsh reality a few months ago when I took on a second job after my teenaged patient – who had palliative care – died. He died pain free, and even with me being able to provide him and his family with the one on one care that they needed for the entire day until he passed away, I still felt very empty afterwards. Later that night, I went to an adult off-island hospital for my second job, and one of my 12 patients was dying and was expected to pass-away within 24-48 hours. When I went to check on him early in the shift, I was horrified. The 88 year old was alone, with no palliative care available and with only regular morphine prescribed to him to be given every four hours. Despite my desires to stay with and comfort him in some way, and ensure he was medicated properly through-out the night until he died, I was told this was impossible due to a lack of nurses and resources. My other 11 patients also needed quite a bit of care needing iv’s, naso-gastric tubes, and extra fluids to keep their blood-pressures up, so I didn’t have time to devote to my dying patient. The other few nurses on the unit offered no support and seemed to take this all in stride as if it happened every night. I over-heard one of them say during shift change, “Il va mourir bientot”, as if it meant nothing. After the shift, as I drove home mortified, I couldn’t help but think, “perhaps this is why some people are in favor of Bill 52. I don’t want to die like that.” Feeling awful, with a terrible bout of insomnia after the seemingly sub-standard care that if felt like I was forced to give, 48 hours later I went to another adult hospital searching for hope. To my horror, nearly the same circumstances arose. 13 patients on the night-shift including a dying patient with no palliative care, not enough nurses, not enough time, I became a nothing but a morphine pusher and it felt like I was no longer even a nurse.
Children are not treated this way when they are dying so why are the elderly? In my experience, palliative care works but the reality is that because our society does not seem to hold our elderly in high regard, only roughly 1 in three have access to palliative care. Who then would not want to die quickly by being euthanized when faced with a death of suffering at the hands of care-givers who are turned into heartless drug pushers on a night shift? Our elderly are not stupid and I believe they know what is going on out there. Instead of backing a bill that seems to be a facile solution to a lack of resources and an ignorance of reality, perhaps Hivon and Barrette should go to hospitals across the province tonight and see how many dying patients are not getting the care they deserve.

Nathan Friedland

nahandmara@videotron.ca