Saturday, June 5, 2010

Clarinet YouTube Channels

It has only been five years since the creation of YouTube in 2005, but in this short time the site has become the primary way to share and watch videos online. YouTube is now an incredible resource for musicians; many clarinetists now turn to YouTube to hear a recording of a piece they are unfamiliar with, find teaching tips, or watch videos of a particular performer.

The explosion of popularity of YouTube has caused a new problem: how do you sift through all the videos to find those of particular interest and good quality? A YouTube search for a particular piece might turn up a live performance by a top-quality professional player right next to a video of a high-school student learning a piece for the first time in their bedroom. Since many of our readers may use YouTube for reference purposes (or have students who do), we wanted to take a look at some of the best YouTube video streams about clarinet.

Currently, one of the exciting innovations in online media is the ability for an individual to "subscribe" to content of particular interest, such as creating a queue of movies in Netflix or using Google Reader to follow the RSS feeds of selected blogs. Similarly, users can personalize their YouTube experience by subscribing to YouTube "channels." Each username on YouTube has a "channel," and any registered user can subscribe to receive notification when the user posts new videos. Essentially, you can create a personalized stream of content of the quality you desire, and on the subjects in which you are most interested.

The following are a few YouTube users we have noticed as posting good-quality videos of interest to clarinetists.
Perusing these videos is a great way to discover new clarinet works, hear performances by a variety of jazz and classical clarinetists, and get ideas for teaching.

"DavidGarnet" is the username of David H. Thomas, principal clarinetist of the Columbus Symphony and author of The Buzzing Reed blog. He has posted many videos of live performances, practice sessions, rehearsals, and lessons. Thomas has recorded and posted many of the Jeanjean etudes, as well as the Muczynski Time Pieces and movements from Mozart's "Kegelstatt" Trio and Quintet K. 581. He refers to the videos in some of his blog posts, so it may be interesting to view the videos in context on his blog.

A young Russian clarinetist named Grigory Wewer, "klarnetchik", has posted his excellent performances of Weber's Concerto No. 1 and the Rossini Theme and Variations, among others. All performances feature Wewer with the Omsk Symphony Orchestra.

Jazz clarinetist Jim Valentine, posting as "JimV33", has uploaded many jazz videos of Pete Fountain. Some of the videos feature Valentine and Fountain playing together, while others are just Fountain performing with his ensemble.
"clarinetmusicvideos" has posted several videos of Julian Bliss playing clarinet in his very young years (ages 4-10). It is quite entertaining to see the evolution of the playing of this budding young virtuoso.

Italian clarinetist Sergio Bosi ("clarinoprimo") has uploaded many videos of his playing. Some are live performances (including solo works with clarinet and orchestra or piano), and others are recordings set to collages of photographs. Bosi is a proponent of lesser-known Italian clarinet works, and listening to these recordings is a great way to get to know some of that literature. His live performances include the Busoni Elegie, the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Sonata, and the Debussy Rhapsodie.

Another Italian player, Corrado Giuffredi ("ulukay1981") has posted some fun videos of works by Piazzolla and others. Most of the videos are live performances of chamber works, including several for the unusual instrumentation of saxophone quartet and clarinet.

Belgian clarinetist Bob Van de Velde ("bobvandevelde") posts videos of his live performances, such as the Baermann Adagio with clarinet choir and Backofen's Thema con Variazioni for basset horn and string quartet. One highlight is his performance of the Mendelssohn Konzertstück No. 2 with a clarinet choir conducted by Eddy Vanoosthuyse.

Also based in Belgium, the Gent Clarinet Quartet ("rokquartet") has used YouTube for an interesting project called "TRY THIS AT HOME." Marco Mazzini, bass clarinetist for the group and founder of the Clariperu blog, has created several clarinet quartet arrangements of works like Rossini's Barber of Seville and Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5. The quartet posts videos of their street performances of these arrangements, along with the sheet music for the arrangement; they encourage viewers to download the music, create a video of their own performance, and upload it as a "video response" on YouTube.

We have written about Mazzini's blog Clariperu in a previous column, but we should mention the YouTube channel under the user name "clariperu." It features over 30 videos of various performers and is definitely worth subscribing to.

"SUclarinets" features videos by the Shenandoah Conservatory Clarinet Choir and their conductor/professor Garrick Zoeter. Also included are videos of works for clarinet quartet, and Zoeter performing Takemitsu's Waves for solo clarinet, two trombones, horn, and bass drum. This channel is a great example of how teachers can use YouTube to feature the activities of their studio.

American clarinetist Jonathan Cohler ("cohler59") has posted some videos of his performances of works for clarinet and piano, including works by Brahms, Bernstein, Bliss, and D'Rivera.

Always entertaining, Tom Ridenour's videos (under the username "billyboy647") cover topics as diverse as repair and maintenance, long tones, barrel dimensions, and double-lip embouchure. He has uploaded about 70 videos containing a wealth of information about the clarinet and ideas for teaching, along with a large dose of Ridenour's unique sense of humor.

Visit the clarinetcache YouTube page to view all of our subscriptions. While we did quite a bit of searching, we have probably missed some great clarinet YouTube channels. If you have ideas for additions to the list, e-mail us or comment below!


mrG said...

I do find it curious, though, that while finding landmark recordings online via napster or kazaa filetrading was considered 'theft' and evoked vicious prosecution, finding the very same track presented with visuals of the record spinning (or a simple image) on youTube is considered research. what do you suppose begets the difference?

ClarinetCache said...

That's a good point. One difference is that YouTube videos are intended for streaming only and are not really set up for download - although that is less of an issue these days when it is easy to set up your own YouTube playlist and listen on your iPhone. People who upload copyrighted material to YouTube can still be issued a takedown notice, followed by legal action if the material is not removed.

YouTube has too many uploads to police itself, so it leaves that job to the copyright holders, who may take action if they care to. If they don't, we benefit by having the opportunity to listen to these great recordings. Perhaps people will be inspired to purchase the recordings (if available) in order to support the artists and listen with better sound quality.


mrG said...

well I'm not sure that explains really anything since it is pretty trivial to add a Firefox downloader plugin, and with the new hi-def format option the sound quality on YouTube from a stereo MP4 is likely better than the average 128k MP3 that would draw far more than take-down notices (massive lawsuits iirc) so I still find it curious. I've even seen readily available software that gives ripping sound from video files as a prime sales feature.

I don't want to believe that its perhaps political, easier to bully the clients of an entrepreneurial underdogs like napster or kazaa and the local-level ISPs than to take on the big legal guns that Google/YouTube might find.

whatever it is, it certainly isn't because the RIAA has never heard of YouTube, and ironically because it is a website, YouTube could even positively identify the downloaders for the copyright police from their webservice records! Plus the RIAA was not prosecuting the content UP-loaders, but the clients who were fetching the material! And all the streaming audio radio sites, mp3 and podcast blogs have received very emphatic cease and desist orders or been slapped with license fees. It's mighty curious.

I wonder if YouTube might not be quietly striking money-deals much as the musician-promo site had deals to cover the mechanical rights due for amateur uploads of cover songs. If they do, though, the world is pretty hush about it.

Joseph Howell said...