The average person has no idea that the clarinet is not an example of a musical instrument that traces its origins from ancient times. They will be surprised to know that the clarinet was invented in the beginning of the 18th century. Nevertheless, less than a century after its invention great composers like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Karl von Weber created amazing classical pieces for the said instrument.
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History and Manufacturers
Historians studying woodwind instruments are in agreement that the ancestors of the clarinet originated from the Middle East (History of the clarinet, 2015). They traced the gradual evolution in the design of ancient woodwind instruments like the flute, oboe, and the bassoon. As a result, they were able to trace the development of woodwind instruments from ancient Egypt into their present form. However, it must be made clear that the same narrative does not apply to the clarinet.
The clarinet has a unique history within the woodwind family. Historians are in agreement that the clarinet was invented in the early part of the 18th century (History of the clarinet, 2015). They are also in agreement that one of the greatest manufacturers of the clarinet was the one who invented it based on the design of the chalumeau. His name was C.H. Denner, and he was from Nuremberg, Germany. The chalumeau is an ancient woodwind instrument with primitive design.
The second spot in the list of the world’s greatest manufacturers of clarinet belonged to Denis Buffet Auger (Buffet-Crampon Company, 2015). He was a French clarinet maker. He set up his workshop in Paris, France. His creations were prized possessions of world-class clarinet players in the early part of the 19th century. For the information listed for the historical category, the proponent of the study utilized two websites: History of the clarinet and Buffet-Crampon Company.
The first one listed key information about the history of the said instrument (History of the clarinet, 2015). The historical approach enables people to understand the evolution of the clarinet from a humble musical instrument into something that an orchestra cannot afford to lose. This website was chosen because the creator attempted to trace the origin of the clarinet to ancient times. The second website is a site created by manufacturers of high-end musical instruments (Buffet-Crampon Company, 2015).
The second website made it clear that some of the best manufacturers of classical musical instruments in the history of mankind were innovators and designers from Germany. This site was chosen because of the degree of authenticity of the information, especially with regards to the manufacturers of clarinets.
The following list is comprised of famous performers from the 20th century to the present time. The first one on the list is Jack Brymer. He became famous when he recorded important compositions in collaboration with equally famous orchestras all over the world. Brymer is on the list because he wrote a book on how to play the clarinet. His masterpiece was translated into different languages (Famous players, 2015).
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Benjamin David Goodman performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, and his performance was praised by critics as one of the most important jazz concerts in history (Ranker, 2015). Martin Frost is another famous clarinetist of contemporary times. Frost is based in Stockholm, Sweden. He works with some of the prominent orchestras around the globe. Frost is known as a chamber musician. At the same time, he is also the artistic leader of the Stavanger International Chamber Music Festival (Ranker, 2015).
The list of famous performers was compiled using information gathered from two websites: Famous players and Ranker. The first one is a website dedicated to the promotion of popular clarinetists in history (Famous players, 2015). This website helps attract new admirers to the woodwind family of musical instruments.
The site helps create an approachable atmosphere when it comes to studying the clarinet. The site was chosen because the layout of the information provided easy access to pertinent data. The second website ranks the top clarinetists all over the world (Ranker, 2015). This list provides a human element to the study of the clarinet. The site was chosen because of the way the creator described the famous players.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart tops the list of some of the greatest composers who ever lived. He was the one responsible for the creation of a wonderful classical piece. It was considered by music enthusiasts as one of the best clarinet compositions in history. It was entitled The Concerto in A (The clarinet, 2015). The second placer in the list is Karl Maria von Weber. This famous German composer was credited with numerous popular pieces that were created to highlight the awesome power of the clarinet.
Weber’s ability to distinguish the strength and weakness of the clarinet enabled him to create great musical pieces for the said instrument. His popularity was aided in no small part by the excellent clarinet playing skills of his friend Heinrich Baermann (The clarinet, 2015). The timeless musical piece credited to Weber is known all over the world as Clarinet Concerto Number 1 in F-minor (The Clarinet, 2015). In addition to Mozart and Weber, the world of music is also indebted to the contributions of Johannes Brahms.
He was also a German composer like Weber. Brahms’ talent enabled him to influence European music even after his death (Sinfini Music, 2015). It is also important to mention the contributions of Robert Schumann to the popularity of the clarinet. He composed musical pieces that attracted new admirers to the beauty of the clarinet (Sinfini Music, 2015). The list comprised of great composers for the clarinet was created with the aid of two websites: The clarinet and Sinfini Music.
The first website was created to provide an overview of the clarinet (The clarinet, 2015). The website was also constructed to help students acquire more information on the key contributions of famous musicians and composers when it comes to the development of its people. The site was chosen because of the easy layout that enabled the researcher to find needed information with ease.
However, the second website was created for one purpose only, and that is to make classical music accessible to a new generation of music lovers (Sinfini Music, 2015). This site was chosen because the accuracy of the information displayed on the said portal.
The following list is comprised of famous classical pieces written for the clarinet:
- Mozart’s Adagio from Concerto K.622;
- Beethoven’s Clarinet Trios Op. 11 and 38;
- Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73;
- Weber’s Grand Duo Concert, Op. 48 for Clarinet and Piano; and
- Brahms’ Sonata in F minor, Op. 120 No. 1.
The list was created on the basis of information gleaned from two websites: Theodore Schoen’s site and David Knarr’s site. The first website was created by a clarinet aficionado (Schoen, 2008). In this particular website, visitors are able to see valuable information that can help them appreciate the beauty and significance of the clarinet in an orchestra. An overview of the said website reveals the owner’s desire to teach the world about the clarinet.
This website was chosen because the creator’s passion to teach clarinet was evident. The second website was created by a group of entrepreneurs and musicians (Knarr, 2015). The list of the greatest musical pieces that were written for the clarinet was made available to the public so that the owners of the website will have a chance to make a profit by selling classical music pieces. The site was chosen because it provided a complete list of world famous repertoires.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is an example of a world-class orchestra that utilizes the clarinet. Another example of a great orchestra that performs the clarinet is the London Symphony Orchestra. There were two websites that was utilized for this category: Boston Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra.
The first website was the one created for the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Boston Symphony Orchestra, 2015). This site was chosen because there are so many things written about this particular orchestra. The second website was the one created for the London Symphony Orchestra (London Symphony Orchestra, 2015). The site was chosen because of the positive comments encountered by the proponent of the study when doing this research.
After examining the list of great performers and composers in the context of playing the clarinet, it is hard to believe that this instrument was non-existent before the year 1700.
However, the existence of powerful and magnificent classical pieces that were written for the clarinet should provide a clue on the instrument’s ability to affect listeners in the most profound way. The clarinet’s haunting melodies compelled legends like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Karl von Weber, Johannes Bhrams, and Robert Schumann to create profound and powerful classical pieces.
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Boston Symphony Orchestra. The clarinet. Web.
Buffet-Crampon Company. (2015). Musical instruments. Web.
Famous players. (2015). Web.
History of the clarinet. (2015). Web.
Knarr, D. (2015). Clarinet repertoire by composer. Web.
London Symphony Orchestra. (2015). The players. Web.
Ranker. (2015). The greatest clarinetists of all time. Web.
Schoen, T. (2008). Basic repertoire for the serious clarinetist. Web.
Sinfini Music. (2015). Top 10 greatest works for clarinet. Web.
The clarinet. (2015). Web.