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Originally Posted by MinscAndBoo
I think you put too much weight on her comments. How many times has she re-created the late Beethoven Sonatas? How many times has she faithfully re-created anything? Why do you take her so seriously?
I don’t think I take her that seriously but I raised the question so that in the future I was hoping to give a better answer.


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Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by MinscAndBoo
I think you put too much weight on her comments. How many times has she re-created the late Beethoven Sonatas? How many times has she faithfully re-created anything? Why do you take her so seriously?
I don’t think I take her that seriously but I raised the question so that in the future I was hoping to give a better answer.


Okay. Hopefully we can all help. Ive felt more of a sense of creation in re-creation than I have in pure creation. For example... I just did a recording of Berg's Seven Early Songs, as well as an original entitled "Meditations on the Dhammapada". The original compositions we made were completely free, and open. But the Berg was all down to the details... every ritardando, every tempo change, every marking, every crescendo were important... And I felt more like I was giving birth with the Berg than I was with the original. Every detail was important in the Berg, and the specifics were freeing. We were able to be ourselves with the restrictions, and create a specific interpretation. Once again, this music is created to be re-created (you cant have the creation of these works without their intended re-creation), and sometimes what seems less creative is more creative....

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For me, it's not of much importance where one puts a classical pianist on the scale of creativity or artistry. Those two words mean very different things to different people. Isn't the important thing what classical music making does for the pianist and listener?

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Originally Posted by MinscAndBoo
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by MinscAndBoo
I think you put too much weight on her comments. How many times has she re-created the late Beethoven Sonatas? How many times has she faithfully re-created anything? Why do you take her so seriously?
I don’t think I take her that seriously but I raised the question so that in the future I was hoping to give a better answer.


Okay. Hopefully we can all help. Ive felt more of a sense of creation in re-creation than I have in pure creation. For example... I just did a recording of Berg's Seven Early Songs, as well as an original entitled "Meditations on the Dhammapada". The original compositions we made were completely free, and open. But the Berg was all down to the details... every ritardando, every tempo change, every marking, every crescendo were important... And I felt more like I was giving birth with the Berg than I was with the original. Every detail was important in the Berg, and the specifics were freeing. We were able to be ourselves with the restrictions, and create a specific interpretation. Once again, this music is created to be re-created (you cant have the creation of these works without their intended re-creation), and sometimes what seems less creative is more creative....
I have to confess I am having a hard time understanding how restrictions as painful as giving birth were freeing to you. Are you saying that rather than seeing the written page as barriers see them as constraints by which you can be creative? Here’s 3 crayons draw whatever you wish with those 3 crayons. Freeing in the sense that there are less options? As in too many options can lead to writers block?

Also, where I can see a soloist artist enjoying this sense of freedom how does it apply to the musicians in an orchestra? Are they as free to be creative?


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"Ive felt more of a sense of creation in re-creation than I have in pure creation". Ive said this, and I don't think its true. They are very different. Perhaps equal in creative potential.

Thats a great way to put it Jethro. 3 crayons. And the score is like those 3 crayons perhaps. A set up instructions and limitations with which you can be free. Its unlike pure free improv, where your only limitation is your instrument (and perhaps the theory you use to back your stream of consciousness improv).

Its hard for me to imagine a scenario in which there aren't limitations... its just that there are different degrees of limitation

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How about being both a classical and a jazz pianist? 🧐 I try to do both (well, I’m an amateur and self-taught, so I suck at both equally) and I’ve seen only the positives in that. I can talk to people from either “crowd” and I can try to please (or annoy) everybody. Ultimately it works IMO 😉 I still prefer classical music for the sake of it being much better *music* in itself (IMO), but being able to improvise and reharmonize is a skill that I’ve seen can impress many people too. And those are not dumb people.

So, instead of arguing, why not just bridge the two isles?

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
How about being both a classical and a jazz pianist? 🧐 I try to do both (well, I’m an amateur and self-taught, so I suck at both equally) and I’ve seen only the positives in that. I can talk to people from either “crowd” and I can try to please (or annoy) everybody. Ultimately it works IMO 😉 I still prefer classical music for the sake of it being much better *music* in itself (IMO), but being able to improvise and reharmonize is a skill that I’ve seen can impress many people too. And those are not dumb people.

So, instead of arguing, why not just bridge the two isles?

As im sure all of you know, once upon a time the two went hand in hand. Many pianists were composers and improvisers. Even if you consider modern Mozart performances, there is opportunity for improv in the repeats and cadenzas. But even in the Jazz world, they are creating within boundaries. They are molded by the shape of the tune, the harmony of the tune, the timing and tempo etc.

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Originally Posted by MinscAndBoo
Originally Posted by CyberGene
How about being both a classical and a jazz pianist? 🧐 I try to do both (well, I’m an amateur and self-taught, so I suck at both equally) and I’ve seen only the positives in that. I can talk to people from either “crowd” and I can try to please (or annoy) everybody. Ultimately it works IMO 😉 I still prefer classical music for the sake of it being much better *music* in itself (IMO), but being able to improvise and reharmonize is a skill that I’ve seen can impress many people too. And those are not dumb people.

So, instead of arguing, why not just bridge the two isles?

As im sure all of you know, once upon a time the two went hand in hand. Many pianists were composers and improvisers. Even if you consider modern Mozart performances, there is opportunity for improv in the repeats and cadenzas. But even in the Jazz world, they are creating within boundaries. They are molded by the shape of the tune, the harmony of the tune, the timing and tempo etc.
Thank you MinscAndBoo, you have really helped clarify for me the truth of the performing concert pianist as a creative artist. I've always thought that in a pianist's interpretation there has to be creativity, but I was hung up with the idea of not deviating from the score- to be true to the composer's intentions. You could say this thread is a sister thread to Bennevis' "I respect the score but don't treat it as Bible". I often asked myself how can I be creative when I'm supposed to hold true to the score? Everything is written down for me and I thought I was only allowed to interpret that score (like say a language interpreter) and tell the composer's story- strictly as written and it was our duty to figure out what that story is. But the problem is the story really is not written nor is it rarely ever written. The composer may give you a theme, a time signature, all sorts of markings but these serve only as (as you say) boundaries. The score is nothing more than an outline, and at times a very strict outline that yes you should never cross, but within that boundary there is a lot of freedom.

My piano teacher told me that the best masterclass she ever attended was a oral interpretation of one of the pieces I am currently working on, Bach-Busoni's Chaconne in D minor. The lecturer was telling his interpretation of Bach's masterpiece composed following the death of his wife. In his oral interpretation which followed closely with a recording of his playing of the piece he told a story of a man around the time he lost his wife and how each theme within the Partita related to that. His oral interpretation spoke with the piece played in the background was so moving that it brought most in the class to tears. And this was the lesson that my teacher was trying to relay to me. To think of a story when I play a piece and tell that story. That's where the pianist as a performer becomes the artist- the creator. We don't know if the lecturer's story was exactly what Bach had in mind, but he only gave us the outline and allowed us that freedom to tell the story within the outline.

So interpretation can indeed be creation even when surrounded by strict boundaries and that is how I believe the concert pianist defines him or herself as an artist. I personally think it IS the responsibility of the pianist to stay within the outline and not change or desecrate it, but since we are given so much freedom within the score why should anyone feel the need to make changes? It can be as you said in fact quite liberating. The composer creates from scratch the performer creates from the score and I think that's the difference.

I think of the broadway play Les Miserables and the song "I dream a dream" as an example of how two performers can tell completely different stories. Susan Boyle gave a popular performance in England's "Britain got talent" and Anne Hathaway gave a completely different performance that won her an academy award. It's amazing how two performers singing the same piece can tell vastly different stories just by their interpretations.






Last edited by Jethro; 12/09/20 11:07 AM.

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Originally Posted by Jethro
.
Thank you MinscAndBoo, you have really helped clarify for me the truth of the performing concert pianist as a creative artist. I've always thought that in a pianist's interpretation there has to be creativity, but I was hung up with the idea of not deviating from the score- to be true to the composer's intentions. You could say this thread is a sister thread to Bennevis' "I respect the score but don't treat it as Bible". I often asked myself how can I be creative when I'm supposed to hold true to the score? Everything is written down for me and I thought I was only allowed to interpret that score (like say a language interpreter) and tell the composer's story- strictly as written and it was our duty to figure out what that story is. But the problem is the story really is not written nor is it rarely ever written. The composer may give you a theme, a time signature, all sorts of markings but these serve only as (as you say) boundaries. The score is nothing more than an outline, and at times a very strict outline that yes you should never cross, but within that boundary there is a lot of freedom.

My piano teacher told me that the best masterclass she ever attended was a oral interpretation of one of the pieces I am currently working on, Bach-Busoni's Chaconne in D minor. The lecturer was telling his interpretation of Bach's masterpiece composed following the death of his wife. In his oral interpretation which followed closely with a recording of his playing of the piece he told a story of a man around the time he lost his wife and how each theme within the Partita related to that. His oral interpretation spoke with the piece played in the background was so moving that it brought most in the class to tears. And this was the lesson that my teacher was trying to relay to me. To think of a story when I play a piece and tell that story. That's where the pianist as a performer becomes the artist- the creator. We don't know if the lecturer's story was exactly what Bach had in mind, but he only gave us the outline and allowed us that freedom to tell the story within the outline.
I think the composer's score is a lot more than an "outline" especially for some composers like Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, and many others that have numerous markings in their scores. But there's still a big room for interpretation. Every marking has a range of correctness. Allegro, how much dim., how big an accent, how staccato, etc. are all up to their performer. Plus everything is not in the score. Just because the score says f for an entire phrase doesn't mean the pianist shouldn't shape the phrase. Then there's any rubato, voicing, use of pedal, etc.

I don't think all good pianists have a story or picture in mind when they perform although it's fairly common.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Jethro
.
Thank you MinscAndBoo, you have really helped clarify for me the truth of the performing concert pianist as a creative artist. I've always thought that in a pianist's interpretation there has to be creativity, but I was hung up with the idea of not deviating from the score- to be true to the composer's intentions. You could say this thread is a sister thread to Bennevis' "I respect the score but don't treat it as Bible". I often asked myself how can I be creative when I'm supposed to hold true to the score? Everything is written down for me and I thought I was only allowed to interpret that score (like say a language interpreter) and tell the composer's story- strictly as written and it was our duty to figure out what that story is. But the problem is the story really is not written nor is it rarely ever written. The composer may give you a theme, a time signature, all sorts of markings but these serve only as (as you say) boundaries. The score is nothing more than an outline, and at times a very strict outline that yes you should never cross, but within that boundary there is a lot of freedom.

My piano teacher told me that the best masterclass she ever attended was a oral interpretation of one of the pieces I am currently working on, Bach-Busoni's Chaconne in D minor. The lecturer was telling his interpretation of Bach's masterpiece composed following the death of his wife. In his oral interpretation which followed closely with a recording of his playing of the piece he told a story of a man around the time he lost his wife and how each theme within the Partita related to that. His oral interpretation spoke with the piece played in the background was so moving that it brought most in the class to tears. And this was the lesson that my teacher was trying to relay to me. To think of a story when I play a piece and tell that story. That's where the pianist as a performer becomes the artist- the creator. We don't know if the lecturer's story was exactly what Bach had in mind, but he only gave us the outline and allowed us that freedom to tell the story within the outline.
I think the composer's score is a lot more than an "outline" especially for some composers like Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, and many others that have numerous markings in their scores. But there's still a big room for interpretation. Every marking has a range of correctness. Allegro, how much dim., how big an accent, how staccato, etc. are all up to their performer. Plus everything is not in the score. Just because the score says f for an entire phrase doesn't mean the pianist shouldn't shape the phrase. Then there's any rubato, voicing, use of pedal, etc.

I don't think all good pianists have a story or picture in mind when they perform although it's fairly common.
I understand your point in regards to an outline and the most part that is what I have struggled with. Maybe there is a better word than outline but when you say there is still a big room for interpretation I don't know how else to describe it.


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Originally Posted by Jethro
And upon reading another thread a poster quoted from Rachmaninoff:

Originally Posted by Farago
More by Rachmaninoff—from the same source as the quote above:

“While, of course, the student must play the notes, and all of the notes, in the manner and in the time in which the composer intended that they should be played, his efforts should by no means stop with notes. Every individual note in a composition is important, but there is something quite as important as the notes, and that is the soul. After all, the vital spark is the soul. The soul is the source of that higher expression in music which cannot be represented in dynamic marks. The soul feels the need for the crescendos and diminuendos intuitively. The mere matter of the duration of a pause upon a note depends upon its significance, and the soul of the artist dictates to him just how long such a pause should be held. If the student resorts to mechanical rules and depends upon them absolutely, his playing will be soulless.”

Even when one has used his "soul" to perform a piece his art is still defined by how he/she performed the piece. Ie. with or without soul.

I wonder what source that quote was taken from! And of course, it's spot on smile



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Originally Posted by wr
That's wonderful. I think I'm going to print it out and keep it as a reference.


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