It has come to my knowledge that I have neglected to instruct my students, in some cases, in some of the most basic aspects of clarinet care and maintenence. Probably the most useful tip I can leave with you is the best way to apply cork grease.
First, you must understand that cork is a natural substance and needs to be conditioned and cared for on a regular basis so that the corks provide an airtight seal under the tenons of the joints of the clarinet.
Cork grease should do this job: often it does not! Many times, a cheap and slippery, goopy substance, cork grease gets applied to the corks superficially.
One of the best cork greases on the market today is The Doctor Slick cork grease, which you can gick up at the San Diego County Music Exchange for around $3 or $4.
It conditions the cork very well and lasts a very long time.
Now, how to apply it? When to apply it?
It's good to have an old rag to wipe your fingers off, or a paper towel. You should dab a generous glob of cork grease onto the tenon cork and rub it into the cork with your fingers until it is worked in and the cork is smooth, but not too slick.
Repeat this step often if your clarinet is brand new, the corks have been replaced, or the clarinet sticks together.
One of the best things to do for your corks is to grease them lightly after you are done playing so that they remain conditioned, and will not crumble in disrepair.
A Study in the Charm of Impossibility
There is not a single note or structure in Olivier Messaien's Quartet for the End of Time without deep spiritual significance. Even the scherzo-type Intermède, composed expressly for the washrooms of Stalag VIIIA, is meaningful insofar as one may infer that it is an expression of the fight of the human spirit to rise up against the horrors of the Second World War.
The other movements all have intrinsic gematriatic connection to his Catholic faith; a faith that believed in the mystery of the divine redemption of humankind by Jesus Christ and of the mystery of Time itself, and how the eternal God, being outside of space and time as we understand it, as well as having entered into space and time, will bring us into eternity where he dwells, thus ending Time.
Nonretrogradable rhythms, notes with added values, and Messaien's Modes of Limited Transposition all point to the infinite. Messaien sought to bring the listener toward "eternity in space." A kind of surrealism pervades the Quartet; Messaien himself stated that ". . .its musical language is essentially immaterial, spiritual, and Catholic. . . special rhythms, beyond meter, contribute powerfully in dismissing the temporal."
What is a nonretrogradable rhythm?
First, let's talk about what a retrogradable rhythm might be: A rhythm that is retrogradable, if played both forward (as normal) and backward, results in two different but related patterns. A simple example of this, using letters to signify segments of rhythm, would be: