Bart van Oort
From Xavier Lefèvre to Frédéric Berr: Clarinet instruction at the Paris Conservatory between 1795 and 1838.
How to describe clarinet instruction at the Paris Conservatory between 1795 and 1838?
The Paris Conservatory was founded in 1795. Xavier Lefèvre (1763-1829) was one of the first clarinet professor to teach there, from 1795 to 1824. In 1802 he published an important clarinet tutor intended for study at the Conservatoire: Méthode de clarinette. Frédéric Berr (1794-1838) held the same position from 1832 to 1838. In 1836 he published a Méthode complète de clarinette and a Traité complet de la clarinette.
Thanks to these writings, it is possible nowadays to get an idea of the skills needed by a French clarinettist of the early 19th century to play the music of his time. The aim of this research is thus to describe the main aspects of performance practice during the chosen period. Many of these aspects are not limited to the clarinet. Consequently, other methods for singing or for other instruments related to the Conservatory, have been studied to provide a broader perspective of performance practice at that time.
As the first decades of the 19th century witnessed important developments in clarinet making and instrumental technique, it has been essential to discuss this point in this research. However the central aspect of this work is musical expression, the ultimate goal of a performance. Phrasing, the variety of articulation and dynamics appear as essential tools for the performer who wants to communicate with the audience.
Théo Couillez is a French clarinetist. He studied in his native country where he received the bachelor degree at the Pôle Supérieur Paris Boulogne-Billancourt in 2017. Eager to discover another approach to interpretation, he decided in 2019 to study for the Master degree in historical clarinet with Eric Hoeprich at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. (Netherlands). Passionate about the symphonic orchestra, he took part to several orchestral academies such as the Youth European Orchestra Hector Belioz led by François-Xavier Roth and the Collegium Vocal Gent Academy led by Philippe Herreweghe.