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The 'sanctity' of classical music #1432700
05/09/10 12:51 AM
05/09/10 12:51 AM
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Nikolas Offline OP
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First of all let me be clear that the word 'sanctity' was not my idea, but a reply to one of my posts on the iPad thread.

But I can't seem to get it out of my head and it actualy seems rather fit on most occasions.

It does seem that classical music is being approached, by many, in a sort of humble way, a very traditional way, a certain careful way. And I do understand that, I was trained at that by all my tutors, got my piano diplomas following that exact ideal.

Tradition is, and should be, extremely strong in classical music. I do recall a few cases of people wanted to play 'differently' a piece, only to be told by their tutors that the composer inteded it to be played in such a way, because the tutor knew the composer. It's hard to go any other way when you have direct instructions by... Ravel (for exampe), or Shostakovich on how to play their music. Never mind living composers...

But still, living composers, seems to be trying to bring back some freedom to the pianists. It's not a place of power and control, not at all!

On the other end of the musical spectrum in pop music you get a simmilar effect but roughly put in a different way: The original recording is the one and only recording, a tangible medium, while any other recording are just covers. End of story. The "true" one is the original recording, the rest are "untrue" no matter the value or quality.

Perhaps I'm approaching the general 'sanctity' of classical music from a different angle, being an active composer rather than an active pianist. I create constantly and as such it seems more fit to challenge some aesthetics, traditions and ideas. However, isn't there a way to perform Mozart, or Bach, differently than what is the usual way and still get great results? Isn't there a way to play whatever you want in an encore and still get great results (reference to the encore thread by Sam... heh). Are we, as audience (myself included), getting too hang up by what we're expecting to hear in a concert or a CD, for all the right reasons and years of training and education, and forget the creative part of performance?

Some random thoughts on a Sunday morning here in Greece!

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Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1432710
05/09/10 01:26 AM
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I believe its different for every individual that attends a classical concert. I would be confident to say a good percentage, perhaps 50% or more that do attend are classical scholars in there own respective rights, and have wholeheartedly placed there time and passion into the music as well. Thus, a certain "expectation" and respect for the score is expected.

Classical music is such a niche genre, it's kind of like trying to recreate an act of God, and there only seems to be a few ways to do it without "tainting" it with personal personifications. As much as you want to individualize it, it is perfect to a most attendees, the way it is on the score.


Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Rui725] #1432717
05/09/10 01:38 AM
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The point about Compact Discs is a good one, and a point I have thought about in the past.
If a composer chooses for his medium to be the CD or DVD or Film, you have a definate, authentic performance.

One of the appeals of classical music is just the opposite - it's something that can be replicated at home, in the the concerthall, or at church, at the opera - it's a deeply personal experience with the composer because one can participate actively in the music.
CDs, etc are a passive participation in the music, entirely different.

I think cds, recordings have taken away some of the appeal of classical music. It used to be common to hear new works, or even old works, by playing it in the home on the piano or in a small chamber group. Now, it's as easy as playing a cd, torrenting the file, or opening youtube for a quick musical fix.
Even pop music suffers from this in that it's easily available on the radio, etc. The difference here is that a pop musician's voice is explicitly his own - nobody can ever really replicate Michael Jackson and say "I have performed Michael Jackson's Thriller" because it won't be the same thing. For them, their personality pervades it too much.

To that degree, classical music has the composer's 'spirit', I suppose, but much of the life of the piece MUST be given by the performer - they cannot be separated unless you're interested in simply analyzing the music on it's own, in a theoretical sense.

So, to make it short, the sanctity of classical music should be a myth. Modern Pop Music, as you say, has more of a sanctified air in regards to reproducing the work as intended. Classical composers, for the most part, wrote with the full knowledge that competent (usually) musicians would be giving their pieces the life they needed, whether it was at home or in the concert of worship arena. I've always said that performers should interpret the pieces however they want, as long as they admit they are doing so. It's impossible to ever say "I played Bach as intended", in my opinion, because Bach probably never thought just ONE interpretation was correct. Of course, with some modern composers, freedom has been taken away in this area because of this sanctity idea..

Last edited by Mattardo; 05/09/10 01:40 AM.
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1432719
05/09/10 01:45 AM
05/09/10 01:45 AM
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Hi, Nikolas!

A short while ago, there was quite a discussion about this very topic, here:

Playing What The Composer Intended

and here:

Pedal Bach?

and here:

Would you do it?

You may not have seen these, but they make for some interesting reading.

I constantly weigh in on the side of doing whatever makes the most musical, artistic sense to you as a performer at the time, whether that is a conventional performance, or an unconventional interpretation, letting the audience know up front if you are going to majorly mess with their expectations in a well known piece. I agree with a statment Kreisler made in one of the threads above that there is a need for both types of performances, those that strive for historical, literal accuracy, and those that push the interpretive envelope.

Also, a while ago, in Member Recordings, jscomposer posted his "Nocturne in F# min,"

Nocturne in F# min, Op. 1! by jscomposer

and invited others to play it. I, for one, would love to hear other interpretations of it, because it is a piece that bears exploration!

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
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Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Rui725] #1432723
05/09/10 01:51 AM
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I detest this sense of "sanctity" in "classical" music. (I also detest the use of the word "classical", but that's another story.) I wish it weren't there. I wish concerts were more fun, more individualized, more... human. Less ritualized, less sanctity.

But I would like the de-sancification of "classical" music to be along different lines from what Nikolas has suggested above. I don't need each new performer to play Beethoven in her own entirely different modern way. I do believe in the sanctity of the score and the composer's intent. No-- I would like to make the concert less sanctified by making it more informal, by having it be accepted-- even expected-- for the performer to talk to the audience, to tell us about the piece she's about to play, maybe what it means to her, why she's playing it. You know, what musicians do in concert in every other musical genre?

Enough of the priests bowing and walking off-stage and back on-.

-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Mattardo] #1432725
05/09/10 01:56 AM
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Classical music really is a part of piano pedagogy in a way. Like learning history, except there are select pieces that are only accessible to those with virtuosic abilities. To some it's a stepping stone to develop there own music (composition) and to others its a life time journey of conquering piece after piece.

The reason why there are conservatories is the very reason why such rigid rules and boundaries are set on classical performances, as much as some of the interpretative nuances are from the individual, there are still some that are passed down from instructor to pupil. With any formal educational system is involved, there are going to be limits set on and expectations. There is one answer final answer to a mathematical theorem, but there are different ways to justify it. When you purchase a ticket for a Chopin recital, you expect Chopin right?

That expectation has mostly been engraved into you and there is no way you would expect Chopin to played in a different matter. (Glenn Gould's Chopin Sonata in b-minor comes into my mind at the moment) Recreating history and re-writing history are two separate ideals and again, most people that would even attend a classical performance go in with certain expectations to begin with, as opposed to attending a piano performance of all original, modern compositions from the actual composer himself.

Creative parts are not forgotten, and hence Composition has its own separate curriculum from performance.

Last edited by Rui725; 05/09/10 01:59 AM.
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Rui725] #1432733
05/09/10 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
[...]
On the other end of the musical spectrum in pop music you get a simmilar effect but roughly put in a different way: The original recording is the one and only recording, a tangible medium, while any other recording are just covers. End of story. The "true" one is the original recording, the rest are "untrue" no matter the value or quality.
[...]


I'm not sure about this. Here, I will promote my new favorite musical group "Pomplamoose," with their cover of Lady Gaga's "Telephone."

The Lady Gaga version I chose to link to is a rather "conventional" version of the song performed by her. If you've ever seen the 10 min. music video, you know what I mean.

Lady Gaga-Telephone

The Pomplamoose version makes more sense to me, as a pop song. In my opinion, it's nicer to listen to, and watch. It's also very cute with nice touches of humor. I'm sure Jacques Derrida would make more of these comparisons. (So would Freud.)

Pomplamoose-Lady Gaga Telephone (cover)

Also, I prefer Jose Feliciano's version of "Come on baby, light my fire," over Jim Morrison's.

So, Nikolas, Mattardo, (others) I would submit that it is possible for someone to do a "cover" of a popular song and make it "the definitive version." But, M, I have to agree that I can't imagine any one else doing "Thriller" in anything but a Michael Jackson style and "improving" it. crazy

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1432760
05/09/10 03:26 AM
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Nikolas Offline OP
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Andy: I've noticed those threads and I do think I took part in at least one of them... And I love pomplamoose, and prefer their versions of every song they've made! But it still applies that the term 'original' and 'cover' is there. It's not a matter of preference but a matter of 'sanctity' in this case in the true, definite recording! wink

Rui: I think (not quite sure really) that composition has been detached from performance, because of time needed to master both. We still hold rach as a composer more than as a performer (???? do we ????), but certainly we do for Prokofiev and Scriabin and Shostakovich. On the other end Mitropoulos and Bernstein hold a higher 'position' as performers rather than composers (both of which were wonderful). On my personal experience, I abandoned piano for 4 years, not only due to the lack of the instrument in the house, but because of the lack of time and will to do something with it.

But, indeed, I think I stand on middle ground: There can be good taste, good covers, good creativity in performance, as well as bad. I think it falls down to 'common sense' (being not so common as it seems! :D)

Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1432762
05/09/10 03:27 AM
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And then, tell me, is this Pomplamoose version of Nat Cole's "Nature Boy" a "cover," or within bounds of a straight-ahead interpretation of the what the composer intended?

Pomplamoose performing Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy" smile

Nat King Cole-"Nature Boy"

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1432768
05/09/10 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Andy: I've noticed those threads and I do think I took part in at least one of them... And I love pomplamoose, and prefer their versions of every song they've made! But it still applies that the term 'original' and 'cover' is there. It's not a matter of preference but a matter of 'sanctity' in this case in the true, definite recording! wink


Well, I think saying "Sanctity" and "Lady Gaga" in the same breath is a contradiction to the extreme, so I'm kind of sorry I brought it up! laugh ha

But, one more:
Carole King wrote "You've Got A Friend."
James Taylor sang the "definitive version."

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1432778
05/09/10 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Andy: I've noticed those threads and I do think I took part in at least one of them... And I love pomplamoose, and prefer their versions of every song they've made! But it still applies that the term 'original' and 'cover' is there. It's not a matter of preference but a matter of 'sanctity' in this case in the true, definite recording! wink

Rui: I think (not quite sure really) that composition has been detached from performance, because of time needed to master both. We still hold rach as a composer more than as a performer (???? do we ????), but certainly we do for Prokofiev and Scriabin and Shostakovich. On the other end Mitropoulos and Bernstein hold a higher 'position' as performers rather than composers (both of which were wonderful). On my personal experience, I abandoned piano for 4 years, not only due to the lack of the instrument in the house, but because of the lack of time and will to do something with it.

But, indeed, I think I stand on middle ground: There can be good taste, good covers, good creativity in performance, as well as bad. I think it falls down to 'common sense' (being not so common as it seems! :D)


Indeed, the detachment between composer and interpreter is definitely evident. In Rachmaninoff's case, his status as a composer far exceeds his reputation as a interpreter. There are some recordings of his interpretations of Chopin's works which don't exactly coincide with my tastes, but as a composer and performer of his own work, he has really left his mark. The contradictory case could be said for say, Horowitz and Rubenstein. A composer and interpretative performer really are two disparate entities, and would take two separate life times to truly master both. Makes me wonder how Chopin performed Bach and Mozart, as it was said of his fondness of both, as well as how Liszt improvised Chopin's works? One will never know...

Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1432802
05/09/10 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
First of all let me be clear that the word 'sanctity' was not my idea, but a reply to one of my posts on the iPad thread.

But I can't seem to get it out of my head and it actualy seems rather fit on most occasions.

It does seem that classical music is being approached, by many, in a sort of humble way, a very traditional way, a certain careful way. And I do understand that, I was trained at that by all my tutors, got my piano diplomas following that exact ideal.



Other traditional musics are just as careful. It isn't just classical music that has very definite norms.

What is unusual about Western classical music is that it depends so heavily on scores which are notated in such a way that they give the impression that they are a fair representation of "the music". And because of that, the people who are interested in it can get very text-based about what they think is or isn't acceptable. Aiding and abetting all that is a huge amount of musicological scholarship, which goes back quite a ways.

Quote


Tradition is, and should be, extremely strong in classical music. I do recall a few cases of people wanted to play 'differently' a piece, only to be told by their tutors that the composer inteded it to be played in such a way, because the tutor knew the composer. It's hard to go any other way when you have direct instructions by... Ravel (for exampe), or Shostakovich on how to play their music. Never mind living composers...



It is only hard to go another way if you are concerned about what other people think about what you are doing. If you trust your own musicality, and that alone, it's not hard at all.

Quote


But still, living composers, seems to be trying to bring back some freedom to the pianists. It's not a place of power and control, not at all!



Really? I would think that depended a lot on who the living composer is. Two words: Milton Babbitt.

Quote


On the other end of the musical spectrum in pop music you get a simmilar effect but roughly put in a different way: The original recording is the one and only recording, a tangible medium, while any other recording are just covers. End of story. The "true" one is the original recording, the rest are "untrue" no matter the value or quality.



Except for when the cover becomes better known than the original. After all, pop music by definition is about what is popular, and if a cover is more popular than the original, it becomes the "true" version in the public eye. Secondly, many pop songs are written by people who are a songwriters by profession, and they simply sell the song to whoever wants to perform it, which means that all of the versions the public hears are actually covers of an original that is never heard in its original, bare-bones form.

Quote


Perhaps I'm approaching the general 'sanctity' of classical music from a different angle, being an active composer rather than an active pianist. I create constantly and as such it seems more fit to challenge some aesthetics, traditions and ideas. However, isn't there a way to perform Mozart, or Bach, differently than what is the usual way and still get great results? Isn't there a way to play whatever you want in an encore and still get great results (reference to the encore thread by Sam... heh). Are we, as audience (myself included), getting too hang up by what we're expecting to hear in a concert or a CD, for all the right reasons and years of training and education, and forget the creative part of performance?

Some random thoughts on a Sunday morning here in Greece!


In a way I agree, but I also know that classical music as we know it today is part of a long cultural trajectory, and if you choose to fool around with it, you better know what the heck you are doing. Or, I suppose, one can play the part of a "holy fool" and mess around with it in a way that enlightens (but I doubt that anyone qualified for that role would even be "normal" enough to be reading posts at PW).


Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: wr] #1433073
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just a little afterthought as it were, if throughout a performance, the identity of the composer AND the identity identity of the performer don't mix, well, disaster, but on the other hand, when they do: unique and, hopefully, unforgettable art! Recreative art has a little place for the one who dares to do it, composers who publish their work to be performed by others have placed their work willfully in the hand of others..


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: wr] #1433083
05/09/10 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by wr
Really? I would think that depended a lot on who the living composer is. Two words: Milton Babbitt.
Just a small comment here. Yes, I agree, of course it depends on the individual, and the seperate occasion, but let's not forget that Babbitt was born is 1916! Which is almost a century ago... and he's gone through a lot of different styles.

I will stand by my comment that contemporary composers seem to be heading in a direction which provides a bit more freedom to the performers.

Quote
It is only hard to go another way if you are concerned about what other people think about what you are doing. If you trust your own musicality, and that alone, it's not hard at all.
Notation can be abstruct, but if you have the composer next to you making comments on how you play his/her piece, it IS difficult to go any other way. The 'chain of command' weakens the further you get from the composer, but it does seem to be still there in the case of the 'top 50' composers or something... laugh

Quote
Except for when the cover becomes better known than the original. After all, pop music by definition is about what is popular, and if a cover is more popular than the original, it becomes the "true" version in the public eye. Secondly, many pop songs are written by people who are a songwriters by profession, and they simply sell the song to whoever wants to perform it, which means that all of the versions the public hears are actually covers of an original that is never heard in its original, bare-bones form.
If you do a comparison (which I won't get into, due to lack of any real facts) I think you would find that the number of different versions in classical music, vs 'covers' in pop is 1,000,000/2 or something. (Talking about published media, not just sitting around in your room and playing the piano, fiddling with 'let it be' for the nth time).

If you think about it the whole idea of the cover is non existant in classical music, while it's ALWAYS there in pop music along with the definite recording/art form, which again is missing in classical music.

Quote
In a way I agree, but I also know that classical music as we know it today is part of a long cultural trajectory, and if you choose to fool around with it, you better know what the heck you are doing. Or, I suppose, one can play the part of a "holy fool" and mess around with it in a way that enlightens (but I doubt that anyone qualified for that role would even be "normal" enough to be reading posts at PW).
Fair enough and I agree. I'm not talking about ignorance but about choices here! wink

Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
Recreative art has a little place for the one who dares to do it, composers who publish their work to be performed by others have placed their work willfully in the hand of others..
Thank you and yes. There is the idea that once the work leaves the hand of the composer it should become public domain, with any legal reprecautions it may have. I don't fully agree with that, especially with the legal end being the total destruction of copyrights, but I do agree that there's nothing a composer can do, except than to educate the audience and the performers alike and being who (s)he is...

Last edited by Nikolas; 05/09/10 04:46 PM.
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1433100
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a true artist, especially a recreative one, should always wonder who's work he/she is performing, what it was the composer wanted to express, what the meaning of the music could be, and why he/she is doing it, under the circ.s the performance will take place, otherwise it's like a circusmonkey, doing a trick.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1433104
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Having grown up in the second half of last century, I was raised to view classical music as sacrosanct. I am, however, someone who does not mind being nudged out of my comfort zone as long as the interpretation isn't too wildly exotic. I think individualization of expression has an important place in performance - again, without overdoing it.

I am in the middle of reading "Wondrous Strange", a biography about Glenn Gould. I am reading with interest how his career bloomed even though his original Bach interpretations were hardly mainstream. In contrast, much of his 12 tone interpretations (e.g. Schoenberg) were not received as warmly. With his Bach, I would like to suggest that Gould's deviation from the norm was successful for 3 reasons: 1. it was tasteful and unpretentious. 2. It was intellectual and carefully thought out. 3. Possibly the most important point: in the 1950's much of Western society was receptive to a fresh point of view because it was experiencing rapid economic growth and there was a sense of optimism and stability in society. In essence, the late 1950's public was receptive to a fresh point of view - as evidence I offer the civil rights movement.

Today's Western society may not be as receptive to change because it is experiencing economic instability and is undergoing massive changes in its racial, ethnic and religious balance. Right or wrong, a large contingent of entrenched Western society is resisting these changes. What I'm saying is, at this moment in time, society might not be open minded to new musical interpretations because it is trying to hold onto the past.

Am I full of "it" or does this make any sense?


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: gooddog] #1433204
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cool


Repertoire
John Cage: 4'33"
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1433261
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Originally Posted by Nikolas


I will stand by my comment that contemporary composers seem to be heading in a direction which provides a bit more freedom to the performers.



Yes, you are probably right. And you are more definitely more connected to what current composers are doing than I am.

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It is only hard to go another way if you are concerned about what other people think about what you are doing. If you trust your own musicality, and that alone, it's not hard at all.
Notation can be abstruct, but if you have the composer next to you making comments on how you play his/her piece, it IS difficult to go any other way. The 'chain of command' weakens the further you get from the composer, but it does seem to be still there in the case of the 'top 50' composers or something... laugh



Well, sure, a performer might feel restrained if the composer is sitting right there, but how many of us have that experience?

I completely agree that most pianists find it hard to deal with a score in a very free manner. But my sense about that is that it is based on training and on concerns about things other than simply responding as deeply as they can to their own personal musicality.

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Except for when the cover becomes better known than the original. After all, pop music by definition is about what is popular, and if a cover is more popular than the original, it becomes the "true" version in the public eye. Secondly, many pop songs are written by people who are a songwriters by profession, and they simply sell the song to whoever wants to perform it, which means that all of the versions the public hears are actually covers of an original that is never heard in its original, bare-bones form.
If you do a comparison (which I won't get into, due to lack of any real facts) I think you would find that the number of different versions in classical music, vs 'covers' in pop is 1,000,000/2 or something. (Talking about published media, not just sitting around in your room and playing the piano, fiddling with 'let it be' for the nth time).

If you think about it the whole idea of the cover is non existant in classical music, while it's ALWAYS there in pop music along with the definite recording/art form, which again is missing in classical music.



I'm showing my age, I guess, because although I know what you mean, my own experience has been a little different. There's a lot of pop music I have heard many times for which I don't even know the "original". Songs like "My Funny Valentine" or "Fascinating Rhythm" and "Moscow Nights", for example. Then there's things like "Mack the Knife" which was a hit for Bobby Darin in 1959, and it was only years later I found out Kurt Weill had written it.

You are right that "covers" in classical music don't exist in the same way as in pop music, unless you go back to Baroque and earlier music, where improvised realizations of figured bass and improvised ornamentation meant that each performance was sort of a cover of the score, in the same way that jazz and pop players sometimes work from fake books that give just a tune and the harmonization.

An interesting development now that composers are around to record or supervise the recording of their own music is the idea some people get that those recordings which involve the composer somehow represent the only way the music can be done. That's a little bit like your concept of the "true" original pop recording. For example, I think there are some performers who, having often listened a recording of Rachmaninoff play a piece, feel they are doing what amounts to a cover of it when they play it.


Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: wr] #1433287
05/10/10 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wr

An interesting development now that composers are around to record or supervise the recording of their own music is the idea some people get that those recordings which involve the composer somehow represent the only way the music can be done. That's a little bit like your concept of the "true" original pop recording. For example, I think there are some performers who, having often listened a recording of Rachmaninoff play a piece, feel they are doing what amounts to a cover of it when they play it.



That's kind of what I was getting at here, a few months ago, but no one was listening except Keyboardklutz! grin

Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
I don't think Mozart can be played unless your technique suits a 5mm keydip and feather-weight keys.


This quote from a thread in the Member Recordings section got me thinking. In Rock music, a really good cover is one where the musician or band "covering" the original puts a new spin on the tune in a particularly pleasing way. For example, I give you:

OK Go, "Do What You Want" (the original)

Natalie Dawn, "Do What You Want" (the cover)

Would anyone ever consider that their particular rendition of a Mozart Sonata or Chopin Prelude is a cover? "Yeah, Man. Did you hear Gilels cover that Bach? That was HOT!"

Seriously, don't we give any piece that we play our own inflection? And isn't the test of great music that it can withstand various treatments over time? (Horowitz doing Scarlatti?)



--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: wr] #1433326
05/10/10 02:04 AM
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Nikolas Offline OP
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Originally Posted by wr
I'm showing my age, I guess, because although I know what you mean, my own experience has been a little different. There's a lot of pop music I have heard many times for which I don't even know the "original". Songs like "My Funny Valentine" or "Fascinating Rhythm" and "Moscow Nights", for example. Then there's things like "Mack the Knife" which was a hit for Bobby Darin in 1959, and it was only years later I found out Kurt Weill had written it.
hmmm... I knew the 'original' version of Kurt Weill, but again this is from an opera, regardless the aesthetics, so it lends itself largely to a 'concert hall' idiom I think.

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You are right that "covers" in classical music don't exist in the same way as in pop music, unless you go back to Baroque and earlier music, where improvised realizations of figured bass and improvised ornamentation meant that each performance was sort of a cover of the score, in the same way that jazz and pop players sometimes work from fake books that give just a tune and the harmonization.

An interesting development now that composers are around to record or supervise the recording of their own music is the idea some people get that those recordings which involve the composer somehow represent the only way the music can be done. That's a little bit like your concept of the "true" original pop recording. For example, I think there are some performers who, having often listened a recording of Rachmaninoff play a piece, feel they are doing what amounts to a cover of it when they play it.
I think that there's a very important point here to be made.

Pop music has been always reliant on a recording. since the very birth of it. Top 20, Top of the pops, or whatever. Not to mention the abomination of a playback live setting on the TV or something...

just for the giggles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn2qKraB1lQ

Muse were forced into a recorded playback on Rai Duo and decided to switch places. The singer is actually playing the drums there and even doesn't reveal his name... Nobody seemed to realise it in the show! laugh

On the other hand, in Britain at least, the name 'classical' music has been largely ignored for a while now, by using the term 'concert hall music'. The music played in concert halls, despite genre and aesthetics. This, for me, shows the tendency of what we casually call 'classical' music to be played live (and thus with no definite version) in opposition to pop music.

I have to admit, that I'd love to hover over the performers while studying and 'teach' them the truth about my pieces, but I'm also quite hesitant to do something so sadistic (and facist? Probably...) to anyone. Works are bound to leave my hands and then are free... Should be free at least, without any prejudice, but treated with respect I hope!

Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1433333
05/10/10 02:28 AM
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My ears were burning! This discussion is really revolving around Deconstruction - so relevant yet so neglected in music circles. I will just add that compositions are playthings. Chopin never played the same piece the same way twice, other composers likewise. Achieving this freedom takes a huge amount of away-from-the-keyboard work. Blame 'practice makes perfect' - it is study that makes perfect.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: keyboardklutz] #1433357
05/10/10 04:22 AM
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What a fascinating discussion ... here we have a well-travelled Greek chappie, who is questioning the "sanctity" of classical music ... and yet he is located on the very strip of land where arguably man achieved his highest level of artistic aesthetics ... amongst others, the Golden Age 2,500 year-old Parthenon, which, even in it’s present ruined Athenian state, is probably the most revered structure in the Western World.

The same later holds true of musical aesthetics ... however, only appreciated by a small handful of enthusiasts ... while most of the populace tap feet to hard rock and rap ... we fortunate few savour the heady genius of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin?

If revered implies "sanctity" ... let it be ...
sorry chaps ... just a "head-in-the-clouds" architect sounding off.
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Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1433360
05/10/10 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas

Pop music has been always reliant on a recording. since the very birth of it.


We must have somewhat different ideas of what pop music is. To me, the American Stephen Foster wrote popular songs, and he died in 1864. Many of the tunes Liszt used his Hungarian Rhapsodies were the pop tunes of his time (they weren't folk music, either - they were composed by people who wrote popular music). To me, Strauss waltzes are pop music, even if they have those snooty opus numbers attached. Recordings did change the way pop music was made and distributed, that's for sure, but I don't think pop music as a genre was birthed by recordings.

Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1433366
05/10/10 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas

I have to admit, that I'd love to hover over the performers while studying and 'teach' them the truth about my pieces, but I'm also quite hesitant to do something so sadistic (and facist? Probably...) to anyone. Works are bound to leave my hands and then are free... Should be free at least, without any prejudice, but treated with respect I hope!


I would think most performers would love the chance to have the composer work with them when preparing for a performance. Well, unless the composer was a tyrant or otherwise horrible to work with (and I've heard of some who were pretty difficult, in various ways).

It's interesting how different composers feel so differently about the fate of their works. Some seem not really to care much about them once they are done - they are only interested in the next thing they are working on. Others care a lot. And some never seem to finish tinkering with them. Some what the performers to just play the notes, others want performers to interpret as much as they can.


Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: wr] #1433386
05/10/10 06:08 AM
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Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: dolce sfogato] #1433427
05/10/10 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
a true artist, especially a recreative one, should always wonder who's work he/she is performing, what it was the composer wanted to express, what the meaning of the music could be, and why he/she is doing it, under the circ.s the performance will take place, otherwise it's like a circusmonkey, doing a trick.


This is a ludicrous argument. How is that even faintly akin to a circu monkey? Someone who plays as their OWN inclinations tell them to is like a trained monkey? Since when did a trained monkey follow it's own instincts instead of what it was told to do? I think you seem to have your arguments rather badly mixed up.

EDIT- sorry, I thought you meant if they choose to break with the instructions, as the result of not thinking about those things. I realise now that you mean in they obey the composer's instructions without thought. Totally agreed. But what about breaking the instructions? There's more to the world of performance than only obeying without thought or obeying with thought. I've not yet heard a performer who I regard as a real "artist" who was never prepared to his own thing on anything at all.

Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: btb] #1433467
05/10/10 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by btb
What a fascinating discussion ... here we have a well-travelled Greek chappie, who is questioning the "sanctity" of classical music ... and yet he is located on the very strip of land where arguably man achieved his highest level of artistic aesthetics ... amongst others, the Golden Age 2,500 year-old Parthenon, which, even in it’s present ruined Athenian state, is probably the most revered structure in the Western World.

The same later holds true of musical aesthetics ... however, only appreciated by a small handful of enthusiasts ... while most of the populace tap feet to hard rock and rap ... we fortunate few savour the heady genius of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin?

If revered implies "sanctity" ... let it be ...
sorry chaps ... just a "head-in-the-clouds" architect sounding off.
I'll admit that I'm having a little hard time understanding the tone of your post with this 'chappie' comment. :-/

Never the less, I sure hope that my being Greek does not mean I should cherrish anything classic just because it's classic! Yikes! I won't even go into any discussion about the current shape of the parthenon due to anything STOLEN which can be found in the Brittish museum, right? wink

And then it's this: "...we fortunate few savour the heady genius of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin?" let me continue with Listz, Scriabin, Schnittke, Boulez, Babbitt, Messiaen, Frank Zappa, Ives, Jonny Greenwood, Williams perhaps, and many many more names I guess.

I feel fortunate to be able and take in anything the worlds provides based on my own mind and aesthetics, from Vivaldi to Marilyn Manson if needed without reference to my country's bad shape at the moment! But I guess if I was a Brit or an Ausie you... wouldn't have any problems?

Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nikolas] #1433540
05/10/10 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
However, isn't there a way to perform Mozart, or Bach, differently than what is the usual way and still get great results?


The great thing about Bach is that his music can be performed in a thousand different ways--slowly, lightning fast, with or without changes in dynamics, with or without rubato, with or without ornaments, and on all kinds of instruments--ever heard of Wendy Carlos and Switched-On Bach? So Bach's works are not an example of music than can only be played a single way, on the contrary.

Composers becoming control freaks in their scores and giving players very little freedom for their own interpretations is a 19th-century development, and a very injurious one at that. That's why--as much as I love his music--I place Chopin on second place behind Bach on the quality scale, because his music is less open to differences in interpretation than Bach's.


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Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Martin C. Doege] #1433607
05/10/10 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Martin C. Doege

Composers becoming control freaks in their scores and giving players very little freedom for their own interpretations is a 19th-century development, and a very injurious one at that. That's why--as much as I love his music--I place Chopin on second place behind Bach on the quality scale, because his music is less open to differences in interpretation than Bach's.


If you feel like it, just interpret it anyway. Nobody can arrest you.

Re: The 'sanctity' of classical music [Re: Nyiregyhazi] #1433693
05/10/10 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted by Martin C. Doege

Composers becoming control freaks in their scores and giving players very little freedom for their own interpretations is a 19th-century development, and a very injurious one at that. That's why--as much as I love his music--I place Chopin on second place behind Bach on the quality scale, because his music is less open to differences in interpretation than Bach's.


If you feel like it, just interpret it anyway. Nobody can arrest you.


I think in general e.g. the music of Chopin is more closely coupled to a certain tempo and style: a nocturne is nocturne, and a polonaise is a polonaise. If you change the tempo it just sounds wrong. As opposed to e.g. Bach invention #13 which can be anything from melancholy to sprightly, depending on how you play it, and yet always sounds as if it was meant to be played just that way.

It seems to me that with 19th-century piano music you usually have to stick to the dynamics, etc., but you can leave out many notes on the page and even add ones of your own (like Horowitz did) without changing the overall sound too much. The harmonies are slightly dissonant anyway, so occasionally it actually improves e.g. Chopin to play a few wrong notes. (Which makes him less useful for learning, because it's harder to check if one is really playing what's on the page.)

With Bach, pitches are not so open to "improvement" or leaving notes out, which is why some pianists seem to be a little afraid of Bach's works. His music is liberating yet unforgiving.


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