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Subject: Re: Instrumentation in the Ring (was AC's Question about Solti)
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Tue, 31 Mar 2009 00:26:19 EDT

text/plain (49 lines)


In a message dated 3/30/2009 10:12:28 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

does the bass clarinet have the same problem
(in all four  operas)?  In other words, Wagner's original score has parts for
both  the A-natural and the B-flat bass clarinets, so both instruments  were
required in Wagner's era.  However, the contemporary bass  clarinet can play
both the A-natural and the B-flat parts, so the question  is whether the
score for all/any of the four operas has/have two bass  clarinet parts _at
the same time_.  If so, then two bass clarinets are  required today, just as
they were in Wagner's era.  

My impression is that the A and B-flat clarinets were used more as a  way to 
facilitate the playing in various keys which may be easier on one  instrument 
than on the other. In fact, the A instrument never really caught on  (except 
in Russia) and the B-flat has become standard. In any case, one player  would 
have played both instruments as needed -- the two instruments are never  
present simultaneously. I know for  certainty that in Walkure the 5  through eighth 
horn players double on Wagner Tubas, alternating from horn to  tuba as needed 
--- and yes, there are sections were all four tubas are  used.
Tony Sbordoni, NYC

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