One interesting aspect of having a box of 40 cds representing about 40 years or so of my life is that I can compare myself as I have played certain parts of the clarinet repertoire at different times in my life. For instance, I was contemplating Mozart’s K.622. This music has been part of my life as a clarinetist since high school days when I listened to an LP of Robert Marcellus with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. That would have been in the late 1950s, early ‘60s. The first recording I made of the concerto was with the English Chamber Orchestra Orchestra conducted by Alexander Schneider in the early ‘80s.
Sasha was not happy because the usual concertmaster was not available for the recording and Max Wilcox, the producer of most of my RCA classical recordings, warned me that I would be recording not in a concert hall but in a studio in London not known for its acoustic warmth. So, a lot of negatives but, at the time, I didn’t know if I would ever have another opportunity to record with orchestra. As time has gone by of course, I have been blessed with many memorable recordings and orchestras such as Berlin Radio, Warsaw Phil, Mostly Mozart, London Symphony, Vienna, BBC Wales, Guildhall, and Helsinki.
But as I contemplate yet another Mozart, this time in Japan, I went back to the “Box” to check out a 1990s version —this time without a conductor! Of course, it was a different time in my life. I had changed since 1980 but I thought Mozart would still be immutable. Yet though his music can be said to be timeless, I was surprised in comparing the timings of the two cds that the 1st movements of each recording were approximately the same length. However, there was a difference of more than a minute in the Adagio and almost a minute in the Rondo!
I guess the greatness of so called “timeless” pieces of music like Mozart is that they never stop growing. They become timeless in each moment that we recreate them.