Reginald Kell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kell c. 1950s

Reginald Clifford Kell (8 June 1906 – 5 August 1981) was an English clarinettist. He was noted especially for his career as a soloist and chamber music player. He was the principal clarinettist in leading British orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, and Royal Philharmonic, and also was active as a solo recording artist.

Kell was influential as one of the first clarinettists to employ continuous vibrato to enhance the expressive quality of the instrument. He was also a noted teacher, serving two different appointments at his alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 1948 Kell moved to the United States where he pursued a solo career and taught, with pupils including the jazz clarinettist Benny Goodman.

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Born in York, England, Kell was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1929, where he studied with Haydn Draper until 1932.[1] While still a student he was engaged as principal clarinettist of the orchestra of the Royal Philharmonic Society.[2] After graduation he was Sir Thomas Beecham's choice as first clarinet for the London Philharmonic when the orchestra was formed in 1932.[1] He left the LPO in 1936 and was succeeded as first clarinet by Bernard Walton.[3] Kell was Arturo Toscanini's principal clarinettist in the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in 1939, and was invited, but declined, to take the same position in Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra. [3]

In addition to his orchestral work Kell taught at the Royal Academy between 1935 and 1939, and played in chamber music.[1] His solo repertoire extended from Corelli and earlier to twentieth century works.[3] He was the first prominent clarinettist to apply vibrato consciously and consistently to his tone, in which respect he modelled himself on the oboist Léon Goossens. (Kell's contemporary Jack Brymer was another pioneer of vibrato on the clarinet, but came to prominence later than Kell.) Inspired by the great singers with whom he came in contact, notably Kirsten Flagstad, Kell sought to emulate their warm expressive sounds on the clarinet.[3]

During the Second World War Kell was principal clarinettist of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, at a time when its members included many of the country's leading players.[4] When Walter Legge founded the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1945 Kell became its principal clarinettist. At its first concert, conducted by Beecham, Kell was the soloist in Mozart's Clarinet Concerto.[5] The following year Beecham founded the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and as the Philharmonia in its early days played few concerts, working mostly in the recording studio, Kell was able to serve as principal in both orchestras, as did the horn player Dennis Brain.[6] In 1948 Kell gave up both positions; he was succeeded at the Philharmonia by Walton,[7] and at the Royal Philharmonic by Brymer.[8]

Later years[edit]

Kell moved to the USA in 1948 making a successful concert and recording career.[3] He was also a noted teacher, his best-known pupil being Benny Goodman, who approached him for lessons in 1948–49. Kell initially refused, considering that any necessary changes would initially have an adverse effect on Goodman's playing before improving it; he did not want the American public to view him as "the man who ruined our Benny Goodman." Goodman persisted and Kell accepted him as a student in 1952 and taught him until his return to England.[9] Kell's other pupils included the soloist and conductor Alan Hacker,[3] and Peanuts Hucko.[9] From 1951 to 1957, Kell was trustee and professor at the Aspen Music School in Colorado.[1]

Kell returned to England in 1958, taking up an appointment at the Royal Academy of Music.[3] Among his pupils was Harrison Birtwistle.[10] Kell retired from playing in his early fifties, and returned to the US in 1959, where he was director of Boosey & Hawkes's band instrument division from 1959 to 1966. He retired in 1966 and died in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1981.[3]

In 2007, the Deutsche Grammophon label issued a multi-CD box set of all of Kell's recordings for the American Decca company (CD set 477 5280).[3]

Discography[edit]

As a conductor Kell directed recordings of the two Mozart wind serenades, in C minor, K.388 and E major (1951, Decca DL 9540), with the "Kell Chamber Players". The following table lists some of his recordings as a soloist.

Composer Title Other players Date and Cat No|
Bartók Contrasts Melvin Ritter, violin, Joel Rosen, piano 1953, DL 9740
Beethoven Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Violoncello in B major, Op. 11 ("Gassenhauer") Frank Miller, cello, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, piano 1950, DL 9543
Benjamin Jamaican Rumba Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9926
Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 Busch Quartet 1938, DB 8471-4
Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 Fine Arts Quartet 1951, DL 9532
Brahms Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in F minor, Op. 120 No.1 Joel Rosen, piano 1953, DL 9639
Brahms Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in E major, Op. 120 No.2 Joel Rosen, piano 1953, DL 9639
Brahms Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A minor, Op. 114 Frank Miller, cello, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, piano 1950, DL 9732 / 7524
Corelli Giga (from Recorder Sonata in C major, Op. 5 No.9) (transcr. Kell) Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9926
Debussy Première rhapsodie for Clarinet and Piano Joel Rosen, piano 1951, DL 9570
Debussy Petite Piece Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9926
Debussy La plus que lente (arr. Kell) Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 7550
Debussy La fille aux cheveux de lin (arr. Kell) Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 7550
Debussy Rêverie (arr. Kell) Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 7550
Debussy Le petit berger (arr. Kell) Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 7550
Godard Berceuse (from Jocelyn) Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9926
Handel Siciliana and Gigue (from Recorder Sonata in F major, HWV 369) (transcr. Kell) Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9926
Handel Adagio (from Violin Sonata in F major, HWV 370) (transcr. Kell) Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9926
Handel Allegro (from Oboe Sonata in F major, HWV 363a) (transcr. Kell) Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9926
Hindemith Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in B Joel Rosen, piano 1951, DL 9570
Kreisler Rondino uber ein Thema von Beethoven Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9926
Kreisler Caprice Viennois Op. 2 Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 4077
Kreisler Liebesleid Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 4077
Kreisler Liebesfreud Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 4077
Kreisler Stars in My Eyes Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 4077
Kreisler Schön Rosmarin Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 4077
Milhaud Suite Op. 157b Melvin Ritter, violin, Joel Rosen, piano 1953, DL 9740
Mourant Ecstasy Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 7550
Mourant The Pied Piper Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 7550
Mourant Blue Haze Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra 1953, DL 7550
Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622 Zimbler Sinfonietta 1950, DL 7500
Mozart Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet in A major, K.581 Fine Arts Quartet 1951, DL 9600
Mozart Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Viola in E major, K.498 "Kegelstatt" Trio Lillian Fuchs, viola, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, piano 1950, DL 9543
Porter-Brown Dance of the Three Old Maids Salvatore Camarata and his Orchestra
Ravel Piece en forme de habanera Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9926
Richardson Roundelay Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9926
Saint-Saëns Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in E major, Op. 167 Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9941
Schumann Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 Joel Rosen, piano 1953, DL 9744
Stravinsky Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet 1951, DL 9570
Szalowski Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9941
Templeton Pocket-size Sonata No.1 for Clarinet and Piano Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9941
Vaughan Williams Six Studies in English Folksong Brooks Smith, piano 1957, DL 9941
Weber Grand Duo concertant in E major, Op. 48 Joel Rosen, piano 1953, DL 9744

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Weston, Pamela. "Kell, Reginald", Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, accessed 12 February 2012 (subscription required)
  2. ^ Lucas, p. 2707
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nelson, Norman H. The Testament of a Revolutionary, Notes to DG CD set 477 5280
  4. ^ Jenkins, p. 214
  5. ^ Lucas, p. 313
  6. ^ Lucas, pp. 316–317
  7. ^ "Walton, Bernard", Oxford Dictionary of Music, Oxford Music Online, accessed 12 February 2012 (subscription required)
  8. ^ Lucas, p. 319
  9. ^ a b Evans, Les. "Benny Goodman and Reginald Kell", Jazz Professional, accessed 12 February 2012
  10. ^ Cross, Jonathan. "Birtwistle, Sir Harrison", Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, accessed 12 February 2012 (subscription required)

References[edit]