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KaydianBarrett
Prof.LeslieSprout
MusicofClassical&RomanticEras
April15th,2015
21stcenturyclarinetistsapproachtoMozartsClarinetConcetoinAMajor,K.622
Introduction
Oneoftheproblemsclarinetistsofthe21stcenturyfacewhenperformingMozarts
ClarinetConcerto,K.622,iscreatingaperformancethatismemorablewhilekeepingthe
authenticintegrityofthework.Manyclarinetistswhoperformthisworkareoftenconcerned
withhowtheyshouldtheapproachandexecutetheconcerto.Anymusicianwhotacklesany
newworkwillapproachitbyresearchinghistoricalinformationonthecomposerandwork,doa
musicalanalysis,andgatheringrecordingsofotherinterpretationsofthesamework.This
approachwillnotonlyallowtheperformertobefullyimmersedinthepiecebutallowforthe
performertocreateamemorableinterpretation.
Foraclarinetisttoperformtheclarinetconcertotothebestoftheirabilityisessentialthe
artistdividedtheworkfurtherthanthe3movements.Ineachofmovementswewillobservethe
historicalcontext,thedesignandstructure,andotherprofessionalsinterpretationsofeach
movement,asmentionedbefore.Beforedelvingintoeachofthemovementswewillgetbrief
historicaloverviewofhowMozartsclarinetconcertocametobe.
BriefHistoryofMozartsClarinetConcerto
OneofWolfgangAmadeusMozartsfirstencounterswiththeclarinetwasin1764while
hewasvisitinginLondon(Eisen,Mozart).Hefirstdecidedtousetheclarinetinhis

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compositionofDivertimento,K113,duetothesingingqualitiesitpossessed.Hecomposedthe
ClarinetConcertoin1791foraclarinetistbythenameofAntonStadler.Theconcertowason
oneoftheMozartslastcompositionsandhislastconcertoforasoloinstrument.The
compositionofthepiecebeganin1787forbassethorninGwithabout200measuresandthen
wasrevisitedinthelastfewweeksofMozartslifein1791.
Whenhereturnedtothepiecein1791,Mozartdecidedtochangethekeyandthe
instrumentationofthepiece.ThekeywaschangedfromGmajortoAmajorandtheinstrument
ofchoicewasthebassetclarinetinA.Stadlerdesignedthebassetclarinet.Comparedtothe
currentclarinet,thebassetclarinethadarangethatwas2wholetoneslowerthananormal
clarinet.FrancoeursDiapasongeneralgivestonalqualitiesofvariousclarinetsanddescribes
theGclarinetssoundassweet,sad,andlugubrious(Lawson,pg.29).Whendescribingthe
tonalqualityoftheAclarinet,itIsaidtohaveaverysweetsound,[thatit]muchlesssomber
thantheGandwithagreatrange(Lawson,pg.29).
ItispossiblethatthequalitiesoftheclarinetscontributedtoMozartsselectionoftheA
clarinetinhiscomposition.Thecharacterhewaslookingforinthepiecemayhavebeena
subduedorhaveamelancholyquality.Mozarthadahistoryofillnessesandinthelatteryearsof
hislifehewasconstantlybecomingillandbeingdiagnosedwithTonsillitisandSchonlein
Henochsyndrome.Itisquitepossiblethatheknewhislifewascomingtoanendandthechoice
intheclarinetforitsabilitytocreatedarkandlighttonequalitiesmayaddweighttothebelief
thathecreatedapiecetoillustratehislife.Eachofthethreemovementsholdaspecial
characteristicthatgivesittheabilitytostandaloneasasingleworkbutalsofunctionasawhole.

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Justlikeanindividualslifetherearedifferentmomentsintheirlifethatcandescribetheir
characterbuttheirentirelifeiswhatdefinesthem.

MusicalAnalysis
Inperformancepracticethefirstthingthesoloistshouldsoitgetanideaofhowthepiece
islaidout.Letsusethefirstmovementasanexample.Inthe1stmovement,Allegro,thepiece
beginswithanorchestralritornello.Thenextsectioniswhenthesoloclarinetbeginsthesolo
exposition.Theorchestralreturnswithashortenedritornellolasting18measuresinsteadof56
measuresjustliketheopeningritornello.Nextisthedevelopmentsectionandanotherritornello
follows.TheritornellothatfollowsthedevelopmentisdifferentfromMozartspianoconcerto
becauseMozartisgivingthesoloistanopportunitytopauseforabreath(Lawson,pg.62).After
therecapitulation,thesoloistusuallyplaysacadenzaleadingtothefinalritornello.Howeverin
thismovementoftheconcerto,thesoloistdoesnotplayatruecadenza(Lawson,pg.66).The
closingritornellolacksanyorchestramaterialthatthesoloistelaboratedonthroughoutthe
movementmakingittheshortestritornellosectionwith16measures.
Thisinformationmattersbecauseitgivestheperformeralayoutorroadmapofthe
movementaftersightreadingorevenbeforeplayingit.Oncethemovementisdissected,the
performerselectssectionsthatwouldbethemostexposed.Suchasthesoloexpositionandthe
developmentbecauseofthevirtuosictechnique.Oncethemoredemandingsectionsaretaken
careofwithfurtherdissectionoftheeachsectionoftheritornelloformbylookingatrhythmic
andmelodiclines,thesoloistcanfocusonthematerialthatreoccurs.
MusicalInterpretations

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Knowingtheinformationonthehistoricalcontextofthepieceinthecomposerslifeand
themusicalanalysis,theperformermustthenputintoconsiderationthevariousinterpretationsof
previousclarinetistwhoperformedtheconcerto.Insteadofcontinuingwiththefirstmovement
oftheconcert,thesecondmovement,Adagio,willserveastheexampleforinterpretationsby
otherclarinetists.TheAdagiomovementisslow,waltzlikepieceandmanyclarinetistshave
subtledifferentapproachesanddifferencesintheirperformanceofthemovement.Stanley
Hasty,currentlyaclarinetinstructorattheEastmanSchoolofMusic,describestheopening
themeinthefirstmeasureasdolceandexpressive(Etheridge,pg.39).Also,henotesinthetheme
thattheascendinglinewithperfectfourthleapsandmajorthirdleapsgivetensionandshouldbe
playedexpressivelywhilethedescendingmajorsecondsareplayeddolcewhichreleasethe
tensionfromthepreviousmeasures.Hisinterpretationssettheentiremoodofthepiece
describingitasagiveandtakeorpushandpullrelationship.Anotherclarinetist,Anthony
Gigliotti,oneoftheworldsmostaccomplishedclarinetplayersinthe20thcentury,alsohadan
interpretationonthesametheme.GigliottibelievedthattheAdagiomovementshouldbe
performedasifitwerebeingsung(Etheridge,pg.91).
Takingthesetwoclarinetistsinterpretationsofthesecondmovement,theperformercan
combinethedolceandexpressivelineswithsonglikeplaying.Howtheperformerwoulddoso
isbyincreasingtheintensityortensionbyputtingenergybehindtheheldnotes.Theclarinetist
candosobygivingaslightcrescendoontheheldnoteanddiminuendowhenthetensionis
finallyreleasedonthedescendingline.Nowtheperformercancouplethatwiththesonglike
quality.Thisqualitycanbeachievedwiththeawarenessofhowtheinstrumentcreatessound.
Theclarinetproducesdifferentpitchesbasedonthefingersoverthetoneholes.Toproducea

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lyricalline,theclarinetistwillhavetoeliminatethepopping:whenliftingorplacingthe
fingers.
Conclusion
Whenaperformerkeepsthehistoryofthepiece,theanalysisofthemusic,andvarious
interpretationsinmindwhenpracticingorperformingthepiece,theoutcomeoftheperformance
willbememorable.21stcenturyclarinetistwillnotbeabletorecreatetheperformanceofthe
premiereofMozartsClarinetconcertobuttheycanpremiereaperformanceofthatrivals
Stadlerswithappropriateperformancepracticeapproachestothepiece.

References
Adelson,Robert.NewPerspectivesonPerformingMozartsClarinetConcerto.TheClarinet
25.2(1998).5055
Adelson,Robert.Readingbetweenthe(ledger)lines:PerformingMozart'smusicforthebasset
clarinet.Performancepracticereview10.2,1997:152.
Eisen,Cliffetal.Mozart.GroveMusicOnline.OxfordMusicOnline.OxfordUniversityPress.
Web.
Etheridge,David.MozartsClarinetConcerto:TheClarinetistsView.Gretna,LA:PelicanPub.
Co.,1983.Print.
Lawson,ColinJames.Mozart:ClarinetConcerto.Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress,
1996.Print.
Mozart,W.A.Mozart:ConcertoforClarinet,K.622:ForClarinetandPiano.Schirmers
LibraryofMusicalClassics.NewYorkCity:SchirmerGBooks,1986.Print.

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