Clarinet Tone Talk 7: Brahms Sonata in Eb

Here are two lovely samples of the opening of Johannes Brahms Sonata No. 2 in E-flat Major Opus 120 for Clarinet and Piano, Allegro amabile.

As usual, I'll keep the players a mystery.

I think both of these players have gorgeous sounds, both ideal in many ways, though slightly different.

The first excerpt has a full resonant sound which seems to float from one note to the next. The second has a similar resonance, with perhaps a little less "fullness" and perhaps a little less fluidity between notes.

Player 1-

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Player 2-

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For those of you interested in the 6 mouthpieces I used in last week's Tone Talk, here they are:

  1. Unnamed French, wood (possibly Rosewood, possibly Chedeville)
  2. Chedeville Lelandais, hard rubber
  3. Zinner, grenadilla wood
  4. Old Buffet, hard rubber
  5. Hawkins B, hard rubber
  6. Unnamed French, wood (again,with softer reed)

Would you like to share practice ideas with other musicians? You could do so at the Practice Café.

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5 comments for “Clarinet Tone Talk 7: Brahms Sonata in Eb

  1. Ed
    November 15, 2010 at

    I always love the lyrical vocal quality that Wright achieves. He always seems to be able to play with such a supple quality and sense of music that it transcends the instrument. He is in a class all by himself.

  2. November 14, 2010 at

    For those interested, the first player is Karl-Heinz Steffens, the second is Harold Wright.

  3. John Peacock
    November 2, 2010 at

    No. 1 is very nice. No. 2 much less so: the sound is too thin, and moreover not of uniform quality, with certain notes standing out. No. 1 achieves a much more uniformly controlled tone. Being hyper-fussy, I thought No. 1 could be just a fraction clearer in sound, but it’s close to ideal for me. At first I thought it must be possible to find something better, but I went through all the clips of this movement that Amazon offers (20-odd); there’s nothing as nice as this, and most of them sound really horrible – why is it so hard to get the clarinet to make a nice noise?

    • November 16, 2010 at

      John, your comment is priceless!! I agree. It’s not THAT difficult to make a nice sound on clarinet. Yet so many top level players seems to let it go.

  4. November 1, 2010 at

    Very interesting recorded examples. I’m guessing they are two different recordings of Harold Wright.

    I haven’t had a chance to listen to the mouthpieces yet.

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