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#2076894 - 05/03/13 09:36 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Respecting the score doesn't cause boring performances - boring performances are the result of poor musicianship..


+1 Thank You.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

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#2076895 - 05/03/13 09:40 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Respecting the score doesn't cause boring performances - boring performances are the result of poor musicianship..


+1 Thank You.


I knew you wouldn't be able to resist this thread. smile

#2076898 - 05/03/13 09:47 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: Damon]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Respecting the score doesn't cause boring performances - boring performances are the result of poor musicianship..


+1 Thank You.


I knew you wouldn't be able to resist this thread. smile


I've had a great deal of trouble holding my tongue.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#2076902 - 05/03/13 09:52 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Respecting the score doesn't cause boring performances - boring performances are the result of poor musicianship..


+1 Thank You.


I knew you wouldn't be able to resist this thread. smile


I've had a great deal of trouble holding my tongue.


Speak your mind stores, always. I don't understand why you made a goodbye thread, lurked for a while, and occasionally return only to re-state that you will not get involved. We WANT you to get involved. If anyone doesn't like it they can leave.

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#2076908 - 05/03/13 10:06 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin


I was trying to use shorthand because it's a bit tedious to type out dynamics, accents, tempo and slurs. Is there a better term for these things, collectively?


Yes, there is. They are generally called "expression marks".

Whoa, you got by without being attacked with weirdly passive/aggressive remarks about clarity and precision being tedious and 'anal'! Congrats!

I wonder why no one else has pointed out that many people would not know the difference between expression marks of a composer or those of an editor. If respecting the composer's intent is supposed to be the basis for this discussion, is that not a critical point?

#2076909 - 05/03/13 10:07 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: mermilylumpkin]  
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As a composer myself, I take the attitude that I want performers to be faithful to the notes always. I am more forgiving on the dynamics - I do want the performer to have some freedom in bringing their own artistry to the performance. Some dynamics can be assumed from context - a rising melody, in the absence of a countering dynamic, for example, often implies an increasing volume. Sometimes for a short work, I will not provide any dynamics, other than an initial mark that conveys a basic idea about how I think the piece should be performed. Dynamics become more important with longer works, because the only way to maintain interest is by varying things, such as the tempo, the volume level, the excitement level, and of course the melody and harmony. For a longer work I will put in much more specific dynamics and have a higher expectation and desire that they be followed more closely.

#2076934 - 05/03/13 11:23 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: Goomer Piles]  
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Originally Posted by Goomer Piles
...tedious and anal!

Possibly you intended "banal"? wink


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2077045 - 05/04/13 07:22 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: JoelW]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Respecting the score doesn't cause boring performances - boring performances are the result of poor musicianship..


+1 Thank You.


I knew you wouldn't be able to resist this thread. smile


I've had a great deal of trouble holding my tongue.


Speak your mind stores, always. I don't understand why you made a goodbye thread, lurked for a while, and occasionally return only to re-state that you will not get involved. We WANT you to get involved. If anyone doesn't like it they can leave.


You've not been here long enough to understand why. I'll speak my mind when I'm ready.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#2077240 - 05/04/13 03:09 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: stores]  
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Originally Posted by stores

You've not been here long enough to understand why. I'll speak my mind when I'm ready.


I was around a good three months before you "left". Your mannerisms often offended people, whether you said something idiotic or absolutely true. I don't know if you had any deep personal problems with fellow PW members, nor is it any of my business. What I am curious to know is why you created a goodbye thread, but for some reason continue to post every now and again stating how you will not get involved. I've seen it happen many times. What's the meaning of this lukewarm existence on PW? Make a decision and stick with it.

#2077358 - 05/04/13 06:41 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: shirlkirsten]  
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People can change their mind. It's not a crime!

And I agree that boring performances don't come from following a score but from poor musicianship.

There's certain amount of respect with following a score and I don't understand why people seem to struggle with that concept.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#2077361 - 05/04/13 06:45 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: shirlkirsten]  
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Most of the time, we can most fully realize the composer's intent by paying for the music, whether it is the sheet music, a recording, or performance. Sometimes the composer's intent is merely to get someone to listen to it, but usually they appreciate money.


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#2077365 - 05/04/13 06:50 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by stores

You've not been here long enough to understand why. I'll speak my mind when I'm ready.


I was around a good three months before you "left". Your mannerisms often offended people, whether you said something idiotic or absolutely true. I don't know if you had any deep personal problems with fellow PW members, nor is it any of my business. What I am curious to know is why you created a goodbye thread, but for some reason continue to post every now and again stating how you will not get involved. I've seen it happen many times. What's the meaning of this lukewarm existence on PW? Make a decision and stick with it.


It makes no difference to me, because it's just the internet. I don't care one way or another if he lurks posts here on PW, even if he says he makes ten goodbye threads.

#2077367 - 05/04/13 06:53 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Respecting the score doesn't cause boring performances - boring performances are the result of poor musicianship..


I agree. And if someone totally ignores a diminuendo/crescendo, or a dynamic, or an articulation marking, or does the opposite of those, I think that's incorrect to do. However, if it says "tempo rubato" or "marcato," one person's rubato may be a tad less than the other, or one person's marcato may be a little "starker" than the other. I think that's more intuition and performance practice, because you're already doing one way or another what's on the score. Crescendo means crescendo; if you do a few decibels more or less than the other person, who cares as long as it's still in the overall character and context?

Last edited by Orange Soda King; 05/04/13 06:55 PM.
#2077376 - 05/04/13 07:36 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Respecting the score doesn't cause boring performances - boring performances are the result of poor musicianship..


I agree. And if someone totally ignores a diminuendo/crescendo, or a dynamic, or an articulation marking, or does the opposite of those, I think that's incorrect to do. However, if it says "tempo rubato" or "marcato," one person's rubato may be a tad less than the other, or one person's marcato may be a little "starker" than the other. I think that's more intuition and performance practice, because you're already doing one way or another what's on the score. Crescendo means crescendo; if you do a few decibels more or less than the other person, who cares as long as it's still in the overall character and context?

Well, I ignored the continuous decrescendo into the slow movement of the Liszt sonata, by playing the second last chord as mezzo forte, and the last chord pianissimo, to emphasize the "ringing" effect of those last chords, as well as to put an emphasis on the the decrescendo effect. However, musically, I felt that what I did with those chords did not violate the intent of the composer.

I think the most important thing to know is that the performer should always respect the score and bring their own personality when it comes to presenting the music towards the audience. However, every musical decision is something that the musician will be held accountable for - is there an intelligent reason why you decided to follow, or deviate from, the score? Intelligent interpretation is always key.



Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#2077391 - 05/04/13 08:39 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: shirlkirsten]  
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The Liszt sonata is in multiple movements?

#2077394 - 05/04/13 08:43 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: shirlkirsten]  
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****section before the Andante Sostenuto. I call them movements to make it easier to talk about specific parts of the piece.

It's a matter of academic debate! :P


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#2077397 - 05/04/13 08:48 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.

There's certain amount of respect with following a score and I don't understand why people seem to struggle with that concept.


Maybe because it's a fairly recent idea, and wasn't always dogma.

Have you read Kenneth Hamilton's After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance yet? If you haven't, you really should. It's something of an eye-opener about all this. Besides, it's a great read.

#2077416 - 05/04/13 10:01 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
The Liszt sonata is in multiple movements?

Sort of. The movements are implied in certain places, even though the piece is written as a single movement.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2077436 - 05/04/13 11:17 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.

There's certain amount of respect with following a score and I don't understand why people seem to struggle with that concept.


Maybe because it's a fairly recent idea, and wasn't always dogma.

Have you read Kenneth Hamilton's After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance yet? If you haven't, you really should. It's something of an eye-opener about all this. Besides, it's a great read.


I should give that a look. It's not that it's a "dogma" per se, but I have always learned, even recently heard again that with Beethoven, Debussy, Bartok and Ravel (at least) you don't mess around. They were extreme about following markings. I mean composers worked and worked to come up with the score as it is. Why should we not follow what they wrote? I mean, with someone like Brahms, yes, it's more forgiving because he under-edited a lot of things (for instance he'll have 3 pages of forte and nothing else, so you have to be creative). You have to at least strive to achieve the overall concept. And there's SO much you can do with all the markings in the score. Like someone said, someone's staccato will be different than another person, or marcato or their dynamics even. Or their sense of "piu mosso" etc etc etc etc. That's why it's so interesting.

With Debussy violin sonata for instance, I've had at least 14 different coaches over the years. None of them disregard anything in the score, but they all have had different things to say and different ways of achieving something you see. It's incredibly interesting and rewarding to try all these things.

I don't understand why people see it as a bad thing. There's a lot you can do with that's there, in many ways - not just one.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#2077440 - 05/04/13 11:20 PM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by JoelW
Rant warning:

This is a huge, HUGE problem in my opinion. A lot of people take the score as gospel. Crescendo here, diminuendo here, etc. because the score says so. It just doesn't work. Even when every part of the score is taken into account, quite often the performance will still wind up being utterly boring. I think this kind of mentality is the primary source of musical banality in the classical world. Music shouldn't be premeditated in such a way. It should be spontaneous and organic. Even the composers themselves almost blatantly ignored their own scores at times. At least Debussy did.. we know that for a fact. Doesn't that tell you anything? Look, I'm not advocating rebellion against the score. All I'm saying is that music should be, like I said, spontaneous and organic. Playing an exact, literal reading of the score without plugging in your own ideas will never provide this, because then it just becomes dictation. Music doesn't belong in such shackles.



It can still be spontaneous and organic, if you know what you're doing and how to interpret something..............



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#2077471 - 05/05/13 01:33 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: Nikolas]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
And the blunt truth is that we do NOT know the reasons behind anything, let alone the intentions of a composer!


This seems the only to the point answer so far.

Maybe we can know our own reasons, but apart from that I tend to agree with this.

So, the answer is NO





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#2077492 - 05/05/13 03:47 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: JoelW]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by JoelW
...nor is it any of my business...


Stick with that.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#2077528 - 05/05/13 06:32 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: shirlkirsten]  
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Great thread, with unusually good input. Thanks to all.

Rachmaninoff once said that if all that was in a composer's work was what he consciously put there, it could not be great music.
The performer is part of the reality of the performance. The best never play the same piece the same way twice. A good composer will understand that this attitude in the hands of the best interpreters insures the life force in a piece of music.
He also knows that his pieces are like children, he releases them, however reluctantly, into the world and he hopes for the best, and is usually very happy when they are played at all.
The best pieces literally have NO ideal interpretation, any more than one can have a "definitive" photo of Mt. Everest.
I think that composers reading this topic will agree that the language and syntax of music composition (through the love-hate we have for Finale or Sibelius or whatever) is always approximate at best; I would maintain that that in-exactness is actually a blessing, not a curse.
A quality performer will always seek to "truly realize the composer's intent", but will keep that idea in perspective as he brings himself fully into the interpretive role.

Last edited by geraldbrennan; 05/05/13 06:34 AM.
#2077539 - 05/05/13 07:01 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.

There's certain amount of respect with following a score and I don't understand why people seem to struggle with that concept.


Maybe because it's a fairly recent idea, and wasn't always dogma.

Have you read Kenneth Hamilton's After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance yet? If you haven't, you really should. It's something of an eye-opener about all this. Besides, it's a great read.


I should give that a look. It's not that it's a "dogma" per se, but I have always learned, even recently heard again that with Beethoven, Debussy, Bartok and Ravel (at least) you don't mess around. They were extreme about following markings. I mean composers worked and worked to come up with the score as it is. Why should we not follow what they wrote? I mean, with someone like Brahms, yes, it's more forgiving because he under-edited a lot of things (for instance he'll have 3 pages of forte and nothing else, so you have to be creative). You have to at least strive to achieve the overall concept. And there's SO much you can do with all the markings in the score. Like someone said, someone's staccato will be different than another person, or marcato or their dynamics even. Or their sense of "piu mosso" etc etc etc etc. That's why it's so interesting.

With Debussy violin sonata for instance, I've had at least 14 different coaches over the years. None of them disregard anything in the score, but they all have had different things to say and different ways of achieving something you see. It's incredibly interesting and rewarding to try all these things.

I don't understand why people see it as a bad thing. There's a lot you can do with that's there, in many ways - not just one.


I agree that following the score, especially with composers who really tried to put everything in, can result in wonderful performances. I don't see that as a bad thing in itself, and in my amateurish way, it is usually what I try to do.

But I do see it as a bad thing that musicians are taught that they aren't ever supposed to "think outside the box", as it were, and are not supposed to get very wild with their interpretations. It suppresses the imagination, I think. I don't think that every pianist on the planet should follow Liszt's example and add extra filigree to Chopin, but sometimes I wish just a few would dare to, if they really felt the urge. I think it's healthy to be adventurous, even outrageous, sometimes. On the other hand, if somebody turned pseudo-Lisztian score alteration into some kind of grotesque schtick (which it could easily become), I wouldn't be so happy.


#2077567 - 05/05/13 08:48 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.

There's certain amount of respect with following a score and I don't understand why people seem to struggle with that concept.


Maybe because it's a fairly recent idea, and wasn't always dogma.

Have you read Kenneth Hamilton's After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance yet? If you haven't, you really should. It's something of an eye-opener about all this. Besides, it's a great read.


I should give that a look. It's not that it's a "dogma" per se, but I have always learned, even recently heard again that with Beethoven, Debussy, Bartok and Ravel (at least) you don't mess around. They were extreme about following markings. I mean composers worked and worked to come up with the score as it is. Why should we not follow what they wrote? I mean, with someone like Brahms, yes, it's more forgiving because he under-edited a lot of things (for instance he'll have 3 pages of forte and nothing else, so you have to be creative). You have to at least strive to achieve the overall concept. And there's SO much you can do with all the markings in the score. Like someone said, someone's staccato will be different than another person, or marcato or their dynamics even. Or their sense of "piu mosso" etc etc etc etc. That's why it's so interesting.

With Debussy violin sonata for instance, I've had at least 14 different coaches over the years. None of them disregard anything in the score, but they all have had different things to say and different ways of achieving something you see. It's incredibly interesting and rewarding to try all these things.

I don't understand why people see it as a bad thing. There's a lot you can do with that's there, in many ways - not just one.


I agree that following the score, especially with composers who really tried to put everything in, can result in wonderful performances. I don't see that as a bad thing in itself, and in my amateurish way, it is usually what I try to do.

But I do see it as a bad thing that musicians are taught that they aren't ever supposed to "think outside the box", as it were, and are not supposed to get very wild with their interpretations. It suppresses the imagination, I think. I don't think that every pianist on the planet should follow Liszt's example and add extra filigree to Chopin, but sometimes I wish just a few would dare to, if they really felt the urge. I think it's healthy to be adventurous, even outrageous, sometimes. On the other hand, if somebody turned pseudo-Lisztian score alteration into some kind of grotesque schtick (which it could easily become), I wouldn't be so happy.




Well yeah, I agree with all of that of course, and it's about 'where do you draw the line' with this.. the excellent musician will know how to use it successfully. He'll know how to transform the score into something incredible. I'm all for thinking outside the box, but it has to go with respecting the composer. I mean, I add several low octaves in Rachmaninov 1st sonata because I think it makes complete sense for many reasons.. I'm sure there are people who would crucify me, but at the same time I work like insane to be truthful to what's on the page - without feeling like I have no freedom.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#2077568 - 05/05/13 08:50 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: wouter79]  
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Originally Posted by wouter79
Originally Posted by Nikolas
And the blunt truth is that we do NOT know the reasons behind anything, let alone the intentions of a composer!


This seems the only to the point answer so far.

Maybe we can know our own reasons, but apart from that I tend to agree with this.

So, the answer is NO


So what? Isn't that what's so fun to do? Experiment with different sounds, question things, wonder...

The most frequent question that dances in my head is usually "what did he WANT here?" And yes - I'm sure 98% of the time I'm wrong, but trying is better than not because at least this way I achieve or discover something.

Last edited by Pogorelich.; 05/05/13 08:51 AM.


"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#2077569 - 05/05/13 08:50 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: geraldbrennan]  
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Originally Posted by geraldbrennan
The performer is part of the reality of the performance. The best never play the same piece the same way twice. A good composer will understand that this attitude in the hands of the best interpreters insures the life force in a piece of music.
I think some of the great pianists tended to vary their interpretations a lot in each performances but others played basically the same with a mostly fixed(or at least very gradually evolving and predetermined)interpretation. I don't think there's a best way in this area. I see no logical argument in favor of following a very fixed and preplanned interpretation vs. something more spontaneous. I also think that even those pianists who claim to be the most spontaneous in their playing still mostly vary only a small amount from their pre performance interpretation. The "I never perform a piece the same way twice" is in my view an exaggeration unless one is talking about minor differences. I don't think it would be possible for anyone hearing a given pianist play a given piece for the first time to tell whether that performance was exactly like a previous one or different.

I think for huge majority of all pianists(most of them being non professionals since most pianists aren't pros) the problem probably isn't following the score too much but not following the score enough.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 05/05/13 08:52 AM.
#2077578 - 05/05/13 09:27 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr

But I do see it as a bad thing that musicians are taught that they aren't ever supposed to "think outside the box", as it were, and are not supposed to get very wild with their interpretations. It suppresses the imagination, I think.



To hear what we're missing today, have a listen to Raoul Koczalski, who, among the pianists who have left us good recordings, was the closest in 'lineage' from Chopin himself via Karol Mikuli, Chopin's favorite student.

http://youtu.be/VRmek8kADWA Nocturne in E flat, Op.9/2
http://youtu.be/XqvLEdvrhjE Ballade No.1 in G minor


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#2077601 - 05/05/13 10:12 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: bennevis]  
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by wr

But I do see it as a bad thing that musicians are taught that they aren't ever supposed to "think outside the box", as it were, and are not supposed to get very wild with their interpretations. It suppresses the imagination, I think.



To hear what we're missing today, have a listen to Raoul Koczalski, who, among the pianists who have left us good recordings, was the closest in 'lineage' from Chopin himself via Karol Mikuli, Chopin's favorite student.

http://youtu.be/VRmek8kADWA Nocturne in E flat, Op.9/2
http://youtu.be/XqvLEdvrhjE Ballade No.1 in G minor
Not at all appealing for my taste.

#2077607 - 05/05/13 10:21 AM Re: about whether we can truly realize the composer's intent [Re: bennevis]  
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by wr

But I do see it as a bad thing that musicians are taught that they aren't ever supposed to "think outside the box", as it were, and are not supposed to get very wild with their interpretations. It suppresses the imagination, I think.



To hear what we're missing today, have a listen to Raoul Koczalski, who, among the pianists who have left us good recordings, was the closest in 'lineage' from Chopin himself via Karol Mikuli, Chopin's favorite student.

http://youtu.be/VRmek8kADWA Nocturne in E flat, Op.9/2
http://youtu.be/XqvLEdvrhjE Ballade No.1 in G minor


Yep, I still remember the goosebumps I got from first hearing these fantastic performances.


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