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#509699 11/10/06 12:08 AM
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by Sol Babitz.

Anybody read it? Any thoughts?

I came across it in the library today, and read the first few pages before heading off to work -- it seems very interesting. It seems a bit loony (the author notes that his book generated the longest critical review in the history of the American Musicological Society: 45 pages), but intriguing. Is there truth to his argument? Perhaps I can look into some other sources on the same subjects, though judging from recordings/performances/teaching, it seems that his ideas have not caught on.

I'm going to check it out tomorrow night, and see if I can get into the swing of his arguments.


Sam
#509700 11/10/06 01:15 AM
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what exactly is the hoax?

is he proposing that all baroque music was composed much later than commonly thought? or what?


...when the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace...
#509701 11/10/06 01:21 AM
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Ah, I wondered if anyone would catch my pun in the last sentence of my first post.

[Linked Image]


I'll give a more detailed response tomorrow after I have read the whole thing, but what I gather from the first 6 or so pages is this:

The Great Baroque Hoax is that modern performers know little of baroque practice, and so play it with modern sensibilities: we play it incorrectly, "like a sewing machine", even while early sources indicate we should actually swing it.


Sam
#509702 11/10/06 02:03 AM
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wow. very interesting. ha i now get the pun tho. i would have gotten it if i knew anything about the "hoax" previously. anyways. i wouldnt be totally surprised.

looking forward to ur post!


...when the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace...
#509703 11/10/06 06:44 AM
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ah...now i know who you are on facebook...

and you, me...i assume.

#509704 11/10/06 08:58 AM
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When was it written?


John


Vasa inania multum strepunt.
#509705 11/10/06 01:29 PM
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I haven't read it, but I remember the big splash this book made in the early 70's. And I remember the way Bach was played up until that time: slow, ponderous and heavy.

Eugene Ormandy brought his Philidelphia Orchestra to Minneapolis back then, and the entire ensemble, with full buttery vibrato, oozed it's way through some of the Brandenberg Concertos. The audience loved it. That was how Bach was done back then.

My musicology professor in the mid-60'--who was always complaining about musicians who regard musicology merely as a way to validate or invalidate their own performance practice--once made a very catty remark about Albert Schweitzer and his biography of Bach: "Schweitzer wrote his Bach biography in order to validate his inability to play Bach up to tempo."

Then along came Glen Gould, followed by Babitz, and they, as far as I can tell, are the big agents of change in the performance of Bach.

Tomasino


"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

#509706 11/10/06 05:59 PM
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So what does this book speak about?

#509707 11/10/06 07:48 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Maximus:
ah...now i know who you are on facebook...

and you, me...i assume.
And now I know who YOU are on the facebook. You tool. Hehe HI MAXIPADS!!! *waves*

#509708 11/11/06 02:59 AM
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His premise is that the baroque style is fundamentally different from the 20th century style, and that it is impossible to be a master of both styles: mastering one implies a lack of ability in the other. Furthermore, to play both genres of music with the same style is, according to the author, a "distortion" and "hoax".

Quote

THE GREAT BAROQUE HOAX is the distortion of Baroque music by performers trained in the style and technique of the twentieth century.
It's certainly interesting.

His conclusion is rather severe, but follows logically from the basic theme:

Quote
The ideal situation will be one in which performers are trained from childhood to play in the style and technique of one historical period - or even one composer.

The greater the specialization the greater the possibility of broadening our understanding of the historical picture.
I do not agree with his conclusion -- but, it is an interesting point of view (especially considering all of his arguments throughout the very short (44-page) book).


Sam
#509709 11/11/06 09:41 AM
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What he suggests ought to happen seems to have happened. There is a great deal more specialization now than there was 30 or 35 years ago when Babitz was writing, especially in antiquarian music. There are quite a few falsetto counter tenors around now, for example, whereas at that time there was only Alfred Deller. There are many other examples.

Tomasino


"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

#509710 11/11/06 02:33 PM
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Hey tomasino, good points.

(Just answering because you think we don't read your emails) thumb

#509711 11/11/06 09:38 PM
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Good point, Tom.

Here is an interesting article by the same author, "A Problem of Rhythm in Baroque Music" --

http://www.jstor.org/view/00274631/ap020154/02a00040/0


J. J. Quantz wrote quite clearly in 1752 about the common practice of "swinging" (Babitz's word) baroque music. This article first provides the excerpt from Quantz, and then analyzes this and numerous other early sources which also discuss such rhythmic alternation.


Sam

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