LACO principal clarinet Joshua Ranz joins KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen for an in-depth discussion about the famous clarinet glissando or “gliss” that opens Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
Ranz sheds light on the complex technical and improvisational elements behind the well-known musical phrase. He likens the moment to the classic children’s game, “Shoot the Moon” that requires the player to shoot a metal ball to the end of the board, using only two metal rods. Both skill and a sense of “feeling” are required to score the most points. Similarly, a clarinetist has to have the experience and the knowledge of their throat and instrument in order play that classic opening.
Listen in as Ranz discusses how he teaches the work to his students that makes even the most experienced clarinetist nervous.