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#1265991 - 09/10/09 05:14 PM Interpretation
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6098
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
How far can interpretation go? I was asking myself this question playing Chopin's Mazurka in A min Op.7 No.2. I just feel it more if I play it slower than the tempo indicated, but I don't think I should go against the wishes/instructions of my favourite composer...

Any ideas?

CA
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#1265998 - 09/10/09 05:25 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: ChopinAddict]
debrucey Offline
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Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
Do whatever you like. Chopin is dead, its your sheet music, your piano, your interpretation. Its always good to know about what the composer intended, but don't feel you should be restricted by that.

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#1266000 - 09/10/09 05:27 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: ChopinAddict]
sotto voce Offline
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Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
There's a very recent thread in ABF concerning the appropriate tempo of this very piece:

A Sad Chopin's Mazurka

I wouldn't consider the M.M. marking to be set in stone; I let the range of plausible tempi suggested by the verbal designation guide me instead. Vivo ma non troppo conveys to me that there should be some Mazurka-like liveliness here, but not too much. I can't fathom playing it at 160 bpm, but a solemn and dirge-like performance would be contrary to the spirit of the piece.

It's often been remarked here that the M.M. indications given by Chopin in many pieces seem excessively and inappropriately fast.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1266009 - 09/10/09 05:45 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
pianoloverus Online   content
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If the tempo marking is in your score is Chopin's, I would ask you the same question that I have heard Irina Morozova ask in master classes:

"If your score had been personally marked by Chopin, would you ignore his markings?"

This is her way of saying that any marking(fingering, tempo, pedal)that we know is authentic Chopin should be at least considered strongly.

In the case of a tempo marking I don't think it's as important to follow Chopin's marking as precisely as it would be for something like phrasing. As long as you're reasonably close it seems OK. From my listening to Mazurka performances it seems there is quite a bit of variance in tempo among great pianists.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/10/09 05:48 PM)

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#1266019 - 09/10/09 05:54 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6098
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Thanks for the advice and the link. You are right, the verbal designation is more important as it allows more space for interpretation. After all, if all pianists played at exactly the same tempo it would be less interesting...

CA
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#1266353 - 09/11/09 09:43 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: ChopinAddict]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Follow the score but do not be restricted to that. Nobody will play a piece the same way as you, therefore there can't be ONE perfect interpretation that everybody should follow.

I played the opening of the 2nd ballade so slow and insisted on it, and drove my teacher nuts because he couldn't change my mind. I think I changed his though..

If you have a really good reason for it, maybe..
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#1266460 - 09/11/09 01:22 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Pogorelich.]
Susan K. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/03/09
Posts: 192
Loc: Central California
I don't know how to link another thread but following (delightful) quote is from thread #1240439 from John Citron and comments he made about a rare piano sitting job:

Quote:
Before I forget and get side-tracked again with something else, let me tell you about my piano sitting job I had last Saturday...Anyway I arrived at 9:30 and left around 7:30...Later on, I played a Pleyel from 1845. This is a rather small piano in comparision to the others in the collection and is more of a parlor grand than a concert grand. The action is quite different too in comparison to the Streichers, Erard, and the Bösendorfer from the same period. There's something about it that's hard to describe. The action feels as though there is little repetition to it, which is probably true because Erard was the one that developed the escapement that is used today on our pianos. The other pianos being compared to it are also Viennese, and these have a totally different action than either the Erard or the Pleyel. So when I played this piano, after I got used to it, I found that I had to be extremely precise with my fingering and hand movements otherwise the tone would either not sound nice, or there wouldn't be any at all.

After I got used to the piano, I started to enjoy its clarity and distinct registers. Chopin loved Pleyels and I can see why. His music sounded a lot different on this than on a modern piano, and on some works, which I find very difficult to play such as his 3rd Scherzo, executed easily on this piano. I was able to bring out voices I heard in my head, but unable to execute on a modern piano. On this piano I destroyed his 3rd Ballade, Scherzo in B-flat minor, and a bunch of Nocturnes, which I haven't played in awhile...

There's one thing I forgot to mention about the pianos. The earlier instruments, before the 1862 Chickering, have very a shallow key depth. This really helps in playing quickly when combined with a light action. This really helped my Chopin Scherzo, bugs and all. The lightness, once gotten used to also makes the playing easier because there's a lot less work needed to achieve a complete dynamic range. The keys were not any different in width than a modern piano except for on the fortepiano. This made them comfortable to play one.


Until this post, I wouldn't have considered that the pianos of Chopin would be so different than the modern piano. Tempo and dynamic interpretation would vary for the modern piano. And perhaps, if Chopin played on a modern piano, his markings might have been different.

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#1266561 - 09/11/09 04:31 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: ChopinAddict]
tervuren Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Minneapolis
Slightly off the main subject, but Liszt had this to say about Chopin and Pleyels in his Life of Chopin:"...Pleyel's pianos, which he particularly liked for their slightly veiled, yet silvery sonorousness, and easy touch, permitting him to elicit tones which one might think proceeded from one of those harmonicas of which romantic Germany has preserved the monopoly, and which were so ingeniously constructed by its ancient masters, by the union of crystal and water."

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#1266568 - 09/11/09 04:43 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Susan K.]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Susan K.
Until this post, I wouldn't have considered that the pianos of Chopin would be so different than the modern piano. Tempo and dynamic interpretation would vary for the modern piano. And perhaps, if Chopin played on a modern piano, his markings might have been different.


I don't think tempo and interpretation would have to vary just because the modern piano is different. I do think that some passages might be harder/easier to play on a modern piano.

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#1266573 - 09/11/09 04:51 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: debrucey]
lisztonian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 266
Originally Posted By: bruce-san
Do whatever you like. Chopin is dead, its your sheet music, your piano, your interpretation. Its always good to know about what the composer intended, but don't feel you should be restricted by that.
This can drastically change the mood and "story" of a piece and and change the desired effect is was intended to have. Under your logic, a cadenza marked presto can be played lento and a passage marked pianissimo can be played fortissimo.
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#1266584 - 09/11/09 05:12 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: lisztonian]
Studio Joe Offline
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Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 1803
Loc: Decatur, Texas
Originally Posted By: lisztonian
Originally Posted By: bruce-san
Do whatever you like. Chopin is dead, its your sheet music, your piano, your interpretation. Its always good to know about what the composer intended, but don't feel you should be restricted by that.
This can drastically change the mood and "story" of a piece and and change the desired effect is was intended to have. Under your logic, a cadenza marked presto can be played lento and a passage marked pianissimo can be played fortissimo.


I got a good chuckle out of that (bruce-san) post myself. A little sarcasim poked at the purists.
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#1266608 - 09/11/09 06:02 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Studio Joe]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
@ lisztonian

Of course it can laugh. You can play a piece however it pleases you. Of course if you are playing for somebody else who knows their stuff, even more so if they're an examiner or something, a wildly original and excessively heterodox performance of something isn't going to come across well unless you can justify your alterations (other than just 'i like it that way' :P). I do think its important to know what the 'correct' way of playing something is, and to be able to play it that way as well as you can. But if the situation permits it I think people should be able to do whatever they like, as long as they except that a lot of people will probably give them a hard time about it.

@jw7480

It may have been a little tongue in cheek but it wasn't really sarcastic :P. I do actually believe what I said.

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#1266736 - 09/11/09 10:43 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: lisztonian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: lisztonian
Originally Posted By: bruce-san
Do whatever you like. Chopin is dead, its your sheet music, your piano, your interpretation. Its always good to know about what the composer intended, but don't feel you should be restricted by that.
This can drastically change the mood and "story" of a piece and and change the desired effect is was intended to have. Under your logic, a cadenza marked presto can be played lento and a passage marked pianissimo can be played fortissimo.


If it sounds good, sure! Personally, I particularly enjoy Anton Rubinstein's idea of fortissimo where the the funeral march returns with pianissimo. If you need a score in front of you to decide whether you dislike something, it's just pedantry. If something sounds crap, the problem is the fact that it sounds crap- not the fact that the composer didn't ask you to do it.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/11/09 10:48 PM)
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#1266862 - 09/12/09 03:44 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: lisztonian]
ConcertEtudes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/06/09
Posts: 82
Originally Posted By: lisztonian
Originally Posted By: bruce-san
Do whatever you like. Chopin is dead, its your sheet music, your piano, your interpretation. Its always good to know about what the composer intended, but don't feel you should be restricted by that.
This can drastically change the mood and "story" of a piece and and change the desired effect is was intended to have. Under your logic, a cadenza marked presto can be played lento and a passage marked pianissimo can be played fortissimo.


The point of this thread is that no one knows the 'correct' way of playing something except the composer. A piece may sound better if it is played against Chopin's own wishes, but can you really say that you are playing Chopin? You are effectively playing your own arrangement of Chopin. But since Chopin is dead, no one knows what Chopin really wanted, so we are all playing our own arrangements of Chopin. If a cadenza sounds better in lento than the marked presto, why not play it that way?

For example, let's consider a student composer with far worse abilities than Chopin, who composes a piece as an assignment for his teacher. The piece is marked presto, but sounds much better under lento, the teacher would surely tell the student to change the tempo marking. Unfortunately the student dies before he could change the marking. What would future pianists do when they play the piece?

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#1266867 - 09/12/09 04:09 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: ConcertEtudes]
lisztonian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 266
Originally Posted By: ConcertEtudes
Originally Posted By: lisztonian
Originally Posted By: bruce-san
Do whatever you like. Chopin is dead, its your sheet music, your piano, your interpretation. Its always good to know about what the composer intended, but don't feel you should be restricted by that.
This can drastically change the mood and "story" of a piece and and change the desired effect is was intended to have. Under your logic, a cadenza marked presto can be played lento and a passage marked pianissimo can be played fortissimo.


What would future pianists do when they play the piece?


This was one of my initial thoughts before I posted anything. The effect it will have on pianists in the coming years and generations.
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#1266894 - 09/12/09 06:12 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: ConcertEtudes]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Originally Posted By: ConcertEtudes


But since Chopin is dead, no one knows what Chopin really wanted, so we are all playing our own arrangements of Chopin.


??? What Chopin wanted is what he indicated in the score.

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#1266913 - 09/12/09 07:54 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: ConcertEtudes


But since Chopin is dead, no one knows what Chopin really wanted, so we are all playing our own arrangements of Chopin.


??? What Chopin wanted is what he indicated in the score.


Which is of course, exactly the same thing in every single edition he published. He never changed his mind about a thing...
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#1266914 - 09/12/09 08:00 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: ConcertEtudes


But since Chopin is dead, no one knows what Chopin really wanted, so we are all playing our own arrangements of Chopin.


??? What Chopin wanted is what he indicated in the score.


Which is of course, exactly the same thing in every single edition he published. He never changed his mind about a thing...


If he changed his mind and conflicting editions, then it just means that both are possible interpretations.

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#1266929 - 09/12/09 08:50 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: ConcertEtudes


But since Chopin is dead, no one knows what Chopin really wanted, so we are all playing our own arrangements of Chopin.


??? What Chopin wanted is what he indicated in the score.


Which is of course, exactly the same thing in every single edition he published. He never changed his mind about a thing...


If he changed his mind and conflicting editions, then it just means that both are possible interpretations.


Yes. But what if only one of those editions had been published? And someone did something that was not in that particular edition? It serves to illustrate that just because something is not in a particular edition, that does not necessarily mean it should be banned. The composer may have been fine with the idea.
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#1266933 - 09/12/09 08:53 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: ConcertEtudes


But since Chopin is dead, no one knows what Chopin really wanted, so we are all playing our own arrangements of Chopin.


??? What Chopin wanted is what he indicated in the score.


Which is of course, exactly the same thing in every single edition he published. He never changed his mind about a thing...


If he changed his mind and conflicting editions, then it just means that both are possible interpretations.


It's not just editions, Chopin changed things ALL the time while performing. He almost never played the same thing twice. So really, sometimes we actually don't know what he wanted..
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#1266935 - 09/12/09 09:01 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: ConcertEtudes
But since Chopin is dead, no one knows what Chopin really wanted, so we are all playing our own arrangements of Chopin.

??? What Chopin wanted is what he indicated in the score.

Which is of course, exactly the same thing in every single edition he published. He never changed his mind about a thing...

Actually, the music is substantially the same in every single edition he published. To the extent there are differences, they're pretty much attributable to copyists. In subsequent editions, the discrepancies are equally minor and attributable to different editors. I can't think of a single instance where anything is attributable to Chopin "chang[ing] his mind."

Other composers certainly changed their minds, with the result that earlier works were revisited, completely revised and published anew. Chopin isn't one of them. He was precise and deliberate about the content of a manuscript by the time it was ready for publication, and he didn't look back. (And if he he "never played anything the same way twice" or wrote variants on his students' scores, that's completely irrelevant to what was published.)

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1266955 - 09/12/09 09:36 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Yes.] But what if only one of those editions had been published? And someone did something that was not in that particular edition? It serves to illustrate that just because something is not in a particular edition, that does not necessarily mean it should be banned. The composer may have been fine with the idea.


He may have been fine with anything, but I think the reasonable thing to do is to choose from whatever edtitions are avialable. Otherwise, following your logic it seems to me one could change anything. Maybe play the Minute Waltz in 4/4 time in D flat minor and Largo?



Edited by pianoloverus (09/12/09 10:04 AM)

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#1266958 - 09/12/09 09:48 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Pogorelich.]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
It's not just editions, Chopin changed things ALL the time while performing. He almost never played the same thing twice. So really, sometimes we actually don't know what he wanted..


I think it's a very different thing to say Chopin changed things when he performed his own composition and we don't know what he wanted so we can do what we like. If he wanted to leave it up to us, why would he or any composer mark the score with phrasing, dynamics, pedalling, tempo indications?

If you could take a lesson from Chopin and he penciled in something in your score, would you ignore it because he might play it differently the next time?



Edited by pianoloverus (09/12/09 09:49 AM)

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#1267056 - 09/12/09 12:47 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: sotto voce

Other composers certainly changed their minds, with the result that earlier works were revisited, completely revised and published anew. Chopin isn't one of them. He was precise and deliberate about the content of a manuscript by the time it was ready for publication, and he didn't look back. (And if he he "never played anything the same way twice" or wrote variants on his students' scores, that's completely irrelevant to what was published.)

Steven


What kind of an argument is that? Are we talking about what was published? Or about playing it? Chopin was notorious for changing his mind about things. Apparently he hated writing stuff down and having to put it in a concrete form. Does a published score count as the most important word on a piece of music- taking all priority over any rethinking the composer made? Is it about faith to the composer, or faith to a piece of paper?

Chopin certainly DID change things. As for "looking back" however- maybe he simply didn't care exactly what he wrote the last time he wrote the piece down? Maybe it wasn't even in his mind and he just wrote what he felt at the time? There are countless instances of differences between various editions. Not generally in terms of major variants (although there are cases of this), like those he wrote for students, but in terms of dynamics and phrasing etc. Some, but far from all of these can be put down to copyists mistakes. There are too many to assume that Chopin didn't either want to make the changes (or that he simply wasn't all that bothered whether certain things went one way or another) It shows the inherent danger in being overly pedantic about every single detail in the score- and assuming that anything that contradicts the odd mark is necessarily "wrong".


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/12/09 12:51 PM)
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#1267127 - 09/12/09 03:44 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
sotto voce Offline
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Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Puh-leeze. Just how many of Chopin's compositions exist in different versions because he re-wrote and re-published them in the way that Liszt did? There are NONE.

This whole discussion is a little ridiculous. I am certain that everyone understands that there are no piano police and no laws to proscribe anyone from playing anything however they please. Neither are there any piano gods or a piano council to grant permission for doing so.

The familiar pattern is that someone asks if it's "okay" to do this or that. Answers are given, and the stage is set for yet another tedious debate between purists (who are somehow enslaved by their lack of creativity and their faithfulness to the notes on the page) and the free-thinking, avant garde iconoclasts who wish to do it their way.

Play whatever you want in whatever way you wish! It's pointless to seek justification—especially defended with bogus reasons and reasoning—when no justification is needed.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1267132 - 09/12/09 03:56 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Horowitzian Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
WHAT AN AWESOME THREAD!!!!!!!
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#1267163 - 09/12/09 05:21 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Horowitzian]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10356
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Well, some pianists do play things "in whatever way they wish," and sometimes they do it publicly. I remember listening to Lang Lang play the Rachmaninoff G minor prelude at the proms and thinking to myself something like, "oh lord, how can he do this .... ouch .... eeeeech ..... NOOOO! ..... now that little bit is OK .... huh, you're kidding .... " smile
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#1267177 - 09/12/09 05:47 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Puh-leeze. Just how many of Chopin's compositions exist in different versions because he re-wrote and re-published them in the way that Liszt did? There are NONE.


Indeed. But then nobody argued for making substantial rearrangement of textures or form- so what is your point? I referred to the fact that there are substantial differences within finer details- illustrating that Chopin was not as concerned with minutiae as pedants are. Don't you see that these arguments are not to 'prove' that it's okay to do what you want? They are to demonstrate how short sighted most of the continually repeated arguments that come from pedants are. If it weren't for them, we could just do what we wish without needing to defend against small-minded criticisms.

PS. although having said that- there are considerable differences in a version of the E flat waltz that Byron Janis recorded from a manuscript. There is also a whole additional section in his recording of the final mazurka.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/12/09 05:53 PM)
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#1267179 - 09/12/09 05:51 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Piano*Dad]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Well, some pianists do play things "in whatever way they wish," and sometimes they do it publicly. I remember listening to Lang Lang play the Rachmaninoff G minor prelude at the proms and thinking to myself something like, "oh lord, how can he do this .... ouch .... eeeeech ..... NOOOO! ..... now that little bit is OK .... huh, you're kidding .... " smile


But was it the fact that he disobeyed the score that was the problem- or the fact that it sounded crap?

Rachmaninoff, too, disobeys his score. He adds an additional fortissimo at the very end. Is that also bad- based on what his score says?
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#1267654 - 09/13/09 05:53 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Clayton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/09
Posts: 128
Loc: Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: lisztonian
Originally Posted By: bruce-san
Do whatever you like. Chopin is dead, its your sheet music, your piano, your interpretation. Its always good to know about what the composer intended, but don't feel you should be restricted by that.
This can drastically change the mood and "story" of a piece and and change the desired effect is was intended to have. Under your logic, a cadenza marked presto can be played lento and a passage marked pianissimo can be played fortissimo.


If it sounds good, sure! Personally, I particularly enjoy Anton Rubinstein's idea of fortissimo where the the funeral march returns with pianissimo. If you need a score in front of you to decide whether you dislike something, it's just pedantry. If something sounds crap, the problem is the fact that it sounds crap- not the fact that the composer didn't ask you to do it.


Bravo! The score is useful for learning the piece but for performance, you may as well burn it. The performance either sounds good or it doesn't, on its own merits. I would cite transcriptions of pieces that sound better than the original composition. I think the difference is whether you think of a composition as existing in some kind of Platonic heaven which if altered, even in the slightest, loses its Platonic perfection or if you think of a composition as a cut-and-paste of many existing musical ideas seasoned with the composer's own original insights and ideas. I view musical composition more like the latter.

Clayton -


Edited by Clayton (09/13/09 06:01 PM)
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#1267661 - 09/13/09 06:05 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Clayton]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Clayton
...or if you think of a composition as a cut-and-paste of many existing musical ideas seasoned with the composer's own original insights and ideas. I view musical composition more like the latter.


"Cut and paste?"

A strange way to describe music composed by the greatest composers of Western music.
IMO it's hard to imagine a description further from the truth.

Maybe we should run some of Beethoven's Sonatas through the musical equiavalent of Turnit in.com so we can get riad some of the weal or plagiarized ones. eek


Edited by pianoloverus (09/13/09 06:09 PM)

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#1267671 - 09/13/09 06:16 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Clayton Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: sotto voce

Other composers certainly changed their minds, with the result that earlier works were revisited, completely revised and published anew. Chopin isn't one of them. He was precise and deliberate about the content of a manuscript by the time it was ready for publication, and he didn't look back. (And if he he "never played anything the same way twice" or wrote variants on his students' scores, that's completely irrelevant to what was published.)

Steven


What kind of an argument is that? Are we talking about what was published? Or about playing it? Chopin was notorious for changing his mind about things. Apparently he hated writing stuff down and having to put it in a concrete form. Does a published score count as the most important word on a piece of music- taking all priority over any rethinking the composer made? Is it about faith to the composer, or faith to a piece of paper?

Chopin certainly DID change things. As for "looking back" however- maybe he simply didn't care exactly what he wrote the last time he wrote the piece down? Maybe it wasn't even in his mind and he just wrote what he felt at the time? There are countless instances of differences between various editions. Not generally in terms of major variants (although there are cases of this), like those he wrote for students, but in terms of dynamics and phrasing etc. Some, but far from all of these can be put down to copyists mistakes. There are too many to assume that Chopin didn't either want to make the changes (or that he simply wasn't all that bothered whether certain things went one way or another) It shows the inherent danger in being overly pedantic about every single detail in the score- and assuming that anything that contradicts the odd mark is necessarily "wrong".


The thing that I think the self-styled "purists" fail to understand is that faithfulness to the score is not an end in itself. Faithfulness to the score is only important so far as the performer is communicating the essence of what the score indicates, that is, the musical "message" the composer wanted to capture for the performer to communicate to the audience. Departures from the score that do not stem from a failure to comprehend the composer's clear intent are not "bad" or "wrong", they are simply different ways of communicating with the audience. I read recently that Horowitz did not hesitate to alter a score if he felt it was "unpianolike" and Glenn Gould also re-arranged pieces to suit his own vision of what the piece "ought to" have sounded like. I don't see anything wrong in that. Masterful re-interpretation is a far cry from a student's departure from the composer's clear intent due to a failure to grasp what the composer was trying to "get across" in the piece.

Clayton -


Edited by Clayton (09/13/09 06:17 PM)
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#1267673 - 09/13/09 06:23 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Clayton Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Clayton
...or if you think of a composition as a cut-and-paste of many existing musical ideas seasoned with the composer's own original insights and ideas. I view musical composition more like the latter.


"Cut and paste?"

A strange way to describe music composed by the greatest composers of Western music.
IMO it's hard to imagine a description further from the truth.

Maybe we should run some of Beethoven's Sonatas through the musical equiavalent of Turnit in.com so we can get riad some of the weal or plagiarized ones. eek


I have a very different view from most people on the nature of human "originality" and plagiarism. 99% of what we see as "original" is really just remixes of existing ideas. And yes, that goes for the greatest composers, as well. I'm not saying some people do not contribute more original ideas than others - clearly a Bach, Beethoven or Chopin contributed a great deal more original ideas than many of the minor composers or composers of drawing room music. But I think people have become rapt with this conception of the lone, heroic composer introspecting deeply to create, ex nihilo, great masterpieces. But the greatest composers were students of the folk music which provided the tapestry and variations upon which they composed. Chopin was a student of Polish folk music and this is clearly heard in the lyricality of his melodies. Bach was a student of German and Italian music. Tschaikovsky was a great student of Russian folk music. These men's vast command of the music of the people is the fuel that drove the engines of their creativity.

Clayton -


Edited by Clayton (09/13/09 06:24 PM)
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Johannes Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2

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#1267677 - 09/13/09 06:31 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Clayton Offline
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Play whatever you want in whatever way you wish! It's pointless to seek justification—especially defended with bogus reasons and reasoning—when no justification is needed.

Steven


I agree with "play whatever you want" but I think there is a difference between just changing something out of ignorance or failure to comprehend the music and changing it out of purposeful intent. In general, I never change the notes for the simple reason that I do not fully understand why all the notes are the way they are in the first place. If I did fully understand, I would feel more freedom to rearrange the notes if I felt I could "improve" the piece in so doing. However, I do understand the dynamics and phrasing of the pieces I play and I use that understanding to depart from the marked dynamics and phrasings where I feel that this can improve upon the piece (in my estimation). So, I do have justifications or reasons for what I do but not because I feel I need somebody's approval, just because I feel that good art does not come into being by accident.

Clayton -
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My listening obsessions:
Kurt Atterberg - Piano Concerto in Bb
Claude Debussy - Cello Sonata
Johannes Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2

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#1267680 - 09/13/09 06:36 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Clayton]
sotto voce Offline
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So a composition is just a pastiche of "many existing musical ideas" that are floating around in the ether, public-domain style, and a composer just plucks that low-hanging fruit and does some cutting and pasting and seasoning. Who knew?

You lot who have better ideas than the composer are just beyond the cutting edge of nonconformity ... unbound, unfettered, too big to be contained or constrained. You're rebels, and you don't need no stinkin' scores! That's awesome! smile

Dang, my dismal destiny is to dwell in the Prison of Pedantry. But I'm not a memorizer, so burning the score is out of the question anyway. And since I have it in front of me anyway when I play, I reckon I'll just follow the notes, rhythm, dynamics, articulation, phrasing and tempo as written.

Steven
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"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1267682 - 09/13/09 06:47 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
eweiss Offline
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Beethoven says ...



Better play it exactly as I wrote it or else! Seriously though, let purists play it note for note. Let others do what they want. What does it matter what you do in the privacy of your own home?
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#1267690 - 09/13/09 06:55 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: eweiss]
sotto voce Offline
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Ed, you always find the funnest visual aids, though poor Beethoven looks too placid for the ire of his thoughts! (I bet you already looked for a Beethoven with a ruler at the ready to whack the knuckles of non-purists. smile )

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1267732 - 09/13/09 07:40 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Clayton]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Clayton
The thing that I think the self-styled "purists" fail to understand is that faithfulness to the score is not an end in itself. Faithfulness to the score is only important so far as the performer is communicating the essence of what the score indicates, that is, the musical "message" the composer wanted to capture for the performer to communicate to the audience. Departures from the score that do not stem from a failure to comprehend the composer's clear intent are not "bad" or "wrong", they are simply different ways of communicating with the audience. I read recently that Horowitz did not hesitate to alter a score if he felt it was "unpianolike" and Glenn Gould also re-arranged pieces to suit his own vision of what the piece "ought to" have sounded like. I don't see anything wrong in that. Masterful re-interpretation is a far cry from a student's departure from the composer's clear intent due to a failure to grasp what the composer was trying to "get across" in the piece.

Clayton -


What could be clearer about a composer's "intent" than when he writes forte or indicates some tempo or phrasing?

The Horowitz pieces you refer to were mostly called transcriptions(to distinguish from playing what the composer wrote..,i.e.a new piece based on what the composer wrote) and listed that way in the program.

The only time to my knowlegde that Gould changed something was in his transcription of La Valse. When he varied greatly from the composer's tempo he was often severely criticized for doing this by very important musicians(not just some "self styled purists").

When a pianist varies significantly from the text, why do you assume they are still playing what the composer wants to get across and not what they want to get across? Do you think the composer puts tempo, phrasing, dynamics etc. in the score for no reason?




Edited by pianoloverus (09/13/09 07:41 PM)

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#1267740 - 09/13/09 07:49 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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The Horowitz pieces you refer to were mostly called transcriptions(to distinguish from playing what the composer wrote..,i.e.a [i]new piece based on what the composer wrote) and listed that way in the program.[/i]

Not true. He made countless changes to pieces that were not regarded as transcriptions.

When a pianist varies significantly from the text, why do you assume they are still playing what the composer wants to get across and not what they want to get across?

I don't believe he did assume that. It appears that you are simply so set in your belief that the composer is a God, that you assume everyone else must think the same way. Not everyone does. Some people just judge on whether thye like the sound of something- regardless of whether it is 'correct' or not. Can you only appreciate something based on the technicality of whether it follows instructions literally? Can you really not appreciate that what a performer wants to get across might actually sound rather good?
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#1267765 - 09/13/09 08:19 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: Pianoloverus
The Horowitz pieces you refer to were mostly called transcriptions(to distinguish from playing what the composer wrote..,i.e.a new piece based on what the composer wrote) and listed that way in the program.


Not true. He made countless changes to pieces that were not regarded as transcriptions.

Of course, I'm well aware of this. I don't think the poster was referring to these minor alterations. It sounds like he just heard about Horowitz making transcriptions or changes.



Originally Posted By: Nyiregyazi
Originally Posted By: Pianoloverus
When a pianist varies significantly from the text, why do you assume they are still playing what the composer wants to get across and not what they want to get across?


I don't believe he did assume that. It appears that you are simply so set in your belief that the composer is a God, that you assume everyone else must think the same way. Not everyone does. Some people just judge on whether thye like the sound of something- regardless of whether it is 'correct' or not. Can you only appreciate something based on the technicality of whether it follows instructions literally? Can you really not appreciate that what a performer wants to get across might actually sound rather good?


I think you'll have to let the poster ansswer what he did or did not assume. But it does seem clear that's what he assumed because he praised pianists who he felt varied from the score but still, he felt, got the composer's message across.

O course, I don't think everyone thinks about this topic or any topic the same way I do. I that was the case, why would there be all the posts in this thread?

If you could take a lesson from Chopin and he pencilled in "f" on one of his works, would you play it that way or do you think you have a better idea on how it should be played?


Edited by pianoloverus (09/13/09 08:29 PM)

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#1267771 - 09/13/09 08:33 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
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Even if it was Chopin, I wouldn't do it simply because he said so. If he demonstrate HOW the f might work- and I liked it, I'd happily do it. If he simply said to do it and not to ask questions- regardless of whether it sounded good or not, I'd sooner ignore it. It wouldn't be about the forte itself, but how I felt it fitted within an overall context. Sadly, we may not succeed in getting that context, from the instructions of a score. Isn't it better to do something that you feel works- rather than follow something that feels totally wrong? Chopin might have preferred the alteration, to an unconvicing execution of what he wrote.

I've always ignored his forte when the music reaches A flat major in op. 25 no. 12. It simply makes more sense to relax the mood there. I doubt it even Chopin could have convinced me otherwise.
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#1267775 - 09/13/09 08:45 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Even if it was Chopin, I wouldn't do it simply because he said so.


Well, since you appear to know more about what Chopin's music should sound like than Chopin(and I'm not talking about changing something once in a blue moon...that's not what this thread is about), I guess you must be right.

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#1267788 - 09/13/09 09:17 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Even if it was Chopin, I wouldn't do it simply because he said so.


Well, since you appear to know more about what Chopin's music should sound like than Chopin(and I'm not talking about changing something once in a blue moon...that's not what this thread is about), I guess you must be right.


No. But that how I like it to sound. And I feel no shame whatsoever in saying that.
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#1267869 - 09/14/09 12:03 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
sotto voce Offline
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Some people feel "no shame whatsoever" over anything whatsoever; characteristics like massive ego, arrogance and entitlement are symptomatic of numerous pathological behaviors and disorders. Just sayin.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1267889 - 09/14/09 12:57 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
ConcertEtudes Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Even if it was Chopin, I wouldn't do it simply because he said so. If he demonstrate HOW the f might work- and I liked it, I'd happily do it. If he simply said to do it and not to ask questions- regardless of whether it sounded good or not, I'd sooner ignore it. It wouldn't be about the forte itself, but how I felt it fitted within an overall context. Sadly, we may not succeed in getting that context, from the instructions of a score. Isn't it better to do something that you feel works- rather than follow something that feels totally wrong? Chopin might have preferred the alteration, to an unconvicing execution of what he wrote.

I've always ignored his forte when the music reaches A flat major in op. 25 no. 12. It simply makes more sense to relax the mood there. I doubt it even Chopin could have convinced me otherwise.


Some more examples of deviations from score that have became standard:
Chopin Etude Op.10 No.1: only dynamic marking is forte, but everyone plays it with dynamic varying from p to ff, and a performance would be criticized if it did not vary in dynamics.
Chopin Etude Op.10 No.12: no pedal marking in the Urtext; some pianists still insist that no pedal should be used at all, but different editions have put in different pedal markings.
Rach concerto No.2 first movement: the opening chords are marked as solid chords, but many pianists play them as broken chords. I read that even Rachmaninoff himself played them both solid and broken at different times. I don't know why Rach did not mark in the score that those chords could be played both solid and broken.

There are many other examples where modern pianists and audiences feel that the original score does not convey the music well enough. I would not say that society has become more arrogant or egoistic; rather, the society's taste of music is constantly changing.


Edited by ConcertEtudes (09/14/09 12:59 AM)

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#1267913 - 09/14/09 03:24 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Some people feel "no shame whatsoever" over anything whatsoever; characteristics like massive ego, arrogance and entitlement are symptomatic of numerous pathological behaviors and disorders. Just sayin.

Steven


Indeed. And some people follow orders without stopping to ask questions or demonstrate anything that suggests they have a trace of personality or individual will.
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#1267976 - 09/14/09 09:23 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
sotto voce Offline
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An overbearing desire to demonstrate that one has personality and individual will are more symptoms of a disordered personality. Some people are legends in their own minds—so special that rules and orders just don't apply to them. That's for the little people, the unwashed masses, the self-styled purists, the pedants.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1268113 - 09/14/09 02:17 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Clayton Offline
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
An overbearing desire to demonstrate that one has personality and individual will are more symptoms of a disordered personality. Some people are legends in their own minds—so special that rules and orders just don't apply to them. That's for the little people, the unwashed masses, the self-styled purists, the pedants.

Steven


I'm going to take the bait and go down the rabbit trail of personal philosophy a bit. In my view, there are two types of people in the world: rule-followers and rule-breakers. Art is a complex mixture of both following and breaking rules. Too much rule breaking and you just have a child banging at the keyboard or smearing a paintbrush across a canvas. Too much rule following and you might as well listen to a MIDI or take a photograph.

Clayton -
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My listening obsessions:
Kurt Atterberg - Piano Concerto in Bb
Claude Debussy - Cello Sonata
Johannes Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2

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#1268145 - 09/14/09 03:29 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Clayton]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Clayton

I'm going to take the bait and go down the rabbit trail of personal philosophy a bit. In my view, there are two types of people in the world: rule-followers and rule-breakers. Art is a complex mixture of both following and breaking rules. Too much rule breaking and you just have a child banging at the keyboard or smearing a paintbrush across a canvas. Too much rule following and you might as well listen to a MIDI or take a photograph.

Clayton -


Much too black and white IMO. I think the huge majority are in between. I certainly don't think it's true that if one follows every marking in a score(wheter this is good or bad), there is no additional liberty in interpretation.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/14/09 03:30 PM)

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#1268148 - 09/14/09 03:31 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Clayton]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Originally Posted By: Clayton
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
An overbearing desire to demonstrate that one has personality and individual will are more symptoms of a disordered personality. Some people are legends in their own minds—so special that rules and orders just don't apply to them. That's for the little people, the unwashed masses, the self-styled purists, the pedants.

Steven


I'm going to take the bait and go down the rabbit trail of personal philosophy a bit. In my view, there are two types of people in the world: rule-followers and rule-breakers. Art is a complex mixture of both following and breaking rules. Too much rule breaking and you just have a child banging at the keyboard or smearing a paintbrush across a canvas. Too much rule following and you might as well listen to a MIDI or take a photograph.

Clayton -


Yes, the golden mean is always the best....
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#1268156 - 09/14/09 03:40 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: ChopinAddict]
sotto voce Offline
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If (1) there were only two types of people—rule-breakers and rule-followers, and (2) art were "a complex mixture of both following and breaking rules," then there would be no artists; no one would be qualified.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1268162 - 09/14/09 03:48 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
An overbearing desire to demonstrate that one has personality and individual will are more symptoms of a disordered personality. Some people are legends in their own minds—so special that rules and orders just don't apply to them. That's for the little people, the unwashed masses, the self-styled purists, the pedants.

Steven


And how about those who sincerely believe that they are in a position to best represent the composer's intentions and who frown upon others for doing the composer a disservice- after all they know the composer's 'correct' style as well as anyone? When you compare that to somebody who simply wishes to play a piece as they feel like doing it, I think it's the performer who sincerely believes that he can channel a composer's spirit who is guilty of both delusion and arrogance. I can scarcely think of anything more arrogant than a performer who behaves this way. It's about as 'humble' as claiming to be a prophet who speaks on behalf on god.
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#1268191 - 09/14/09 04:20 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
sotto voce Offline
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Q.E.D.
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"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1268701 - 09/15/09 12:35 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Q.E.D.


?
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#1268717 - 09/15/09 01:00 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
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Don't tell me you don't know what Q.E.D. means. laugh
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#1268748 - 09/15/09 02:14 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Clayton Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
An overbearing desire to demonstrate that one has personality and individual will are more symptoms of a disordered personality. Some people are legends in their own minds—so special that rules and orders just don't apply to them. That's for the little people, the unwashed masses, the self-styled purists, the pedants.

Steven


And how about those who sincerely believe that they are in a position to best represent the composer's intentions and who frown upon others for doing the composer a disservice- after all they know the composer's 'correct' style as well as anyone? When you compare that to somebody who simply wishes to play a piece as they feel like doing it, I think it's the performer who sincerely believes that he can channel a composer's spirit who is guilty of both delusion and arrogance. I can scarcely think of anything more arrogant than a performer who behaves this way. It's about as 'humble' as claiming to be a prophet who speaks on behalf on god.


Especially when you take into account the fact that we don't even play the same instruments that most composers wrote for. Today's modern grand piano is a far cry from Chopin's Pleyel or Beethoven's piano. We don't even use the same temperament that Bach did. Someone posted a thread a while back about a music student who has recreated as closely as possible the actual tunings used by Bach and tuned a harpsichord according to that temperament. If you want to get all "historical", now that is historical. To me, historical re-enactment of music is its own genre which few people have the resources, knowledge or dedication to attempt. Performance is not about recreating the composer's "intent", whatever that means. I think of the composer more like a scientist of music who has discovered a beautiful theorem and written it down for all to enjoy. A good scientific theorem is never proven to be "false" (e.g. Newton's laws are not false, just not the most accurate description we have of the physical world), but it is never the last word either. It is always open to be further enhanced by new and better insights. Music is like this - always open to be enhanced by new and better insights.

Clayton -
_________________________
My listening obsessions:
Kurt Atterberg - Piano Concerto in Bb
Claude Debussy - Cello Sonata
Johannes Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2

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#1268753 - 09/15/09 02:30 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Clayton]
sotto voce Offline
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Hmmm. Because we don't have period instruments tuned to meantone, "new and better insight" is demonstrated by playing forte and Allegro where the composer specifically wrote Andante and pianissimo—if we think it sounds good.

Dang, now I've got to remember to add insightful to that list of adjectives to describe the fashion-forward I did it MY way practice of musicianship that my dessicated, uncreative, stunted brain can't quite graps. smile

FWIW, I think that the average person would benefit a great deal from an understanding of intellectual property and its role in the creative process.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1268787 - 09/15/09 03:23 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Hmmm. Because we don't have period instruments tuned to meantone, "new and better insight" is demonstrated by playing forte and Allegro where the composer specifically wrote Andante and pianissimo—if we think it sounds good.

Dang, now I've got to remember to add insightful to that list of adjectives to describe the fashion-forward I did it MY way practice of musicianship that my dessicated, uncreative, stunted brain can't quite graps. smile

FWIW, I think that the average person would benefit a great deal from an understanding of intellectual property and its role in the creative process.

Steven


I understand intellectual property. However, it has legally expired on most of the great composers.

What annoys me is the double standards. How many period instrument player pay any heed to what Mozart decreed about rubato (where left and right are not continually synchronised). Ironically it's the same people who preach faith to Mozart who are usually the most damning when you take his specific description literally. Look at the comments Horowitz received (as one of few pianists who actually goes beyond the lifeless 'classical sound' to create a truly operatic sound). It wouldn't bother me if people were consistent about following what they preach on faith to the composer. When they go so squarely in the face of it so often, you have to question the premise for the accepted 'rules' in it's entirety. How many of them really stand up to any scrutiny? Those who do not ask questions may not only mind-numbingly boring- they may also be guilty of limiting themselves rules and restrictions that are entirely without foundation.

Isn't it rather ironic that those who are the strictest about faith to the composer can often be rationally demonstrated to be as distant from a 'correct' style as anyone? And that those who employ 'romantic' rubatos in classical period music are doing exactly what Mozart described? When you realise how misguided most of the modern preconceptions are, you have to ask questions. Half of the rules are little more than the result of a long, drawn-out game of Chinese whispers.



Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/15/09 03:39 PM)
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#1268804 - 09/15/09 03:40 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: ConcertEtudes]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: ConcertEtudes
[...]Some more examples of deviations from score that have became standard:
Chopin Etude Op.10 No.1: only dynamic marking is forte, but everyone plays it with dynamic varying from p to ff, and a performance would be criticized if it did not vary in dynamics.
[...]


That's not quite accurate. There are, in the Urtext, indications of diminuendo (measures 36, 48, and 76) and cresc. (measures 33, 42, and 69).

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#1268881 - 09/15/09 05:30 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Clayton Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Half of the rules are little more than the result of a long, drawn-out game of Chinese whispers.


Exactly!

Clayton -
_________________________
My listening obsessions:
Kurt Atterberg - Piano Concerto in Bb
Claude Debussy - Cello Sonata
Johannes Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2

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#1268892 - 09/15/09 05:41 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: BruceD]
sotto voce Offline
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When I mentioned "intellectual property," I meant as a concept, not a legal doctrine.

Scientific "discovery" may well amount to naming, describing and explaining phenomena that already existed, but creative artists create; they don't just conjure up stuff that already existed in some inchoate form in the great expanse of collective unconscious.

If one wants to believe that all the colors for the Mona Lisa were simply arranged by Leonardo and all the notes for Beethoven's Ninth were merely assembled by Beethoven, then great literary works aren't original, either. The authors just put together words that were already out there, much like the proverbial monkeys at typewriters who, given enough time, would eventually produce War and Peace.

If that's how it worked, no human could possibly be credited with creating anything. I wonder if we'd even have a word for it that wasn't perceived as blasphemous.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1268900 - 09/15/09 05:49 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
If one wants to believe that all the colors for the Mona Lisa were simply arranged by Leonardo and all the notes for Beethoven's Ninth were merely assembled by Beethoven, then great literary works aren't original, either.

Steven


Well, interestingly enough the mona lisa would probably have been a drastically different colour when the painted it. Similarly, when we look at a score we don't know how Beethoven saw it.

What percentage of young pianists even have ANY awareness of the fact that Beethoven changed tempo continually when he performed? Yet they will almost certainly bring the next generation up to believe that to slow down for a lyrical theme amounts to wiping your arse all over the score. It's just one example among many of where those who preach the loudest about the sole 'correct' way of playing are simply ignorant. Those who claim to speak on Beethoven's behalf are staggeringly arrogant to do so-especially with such limited knowledge about how he performed. They just do and teach what they were told to. There understanding of how interpret a text may have almost nothing to do with how Beethoven would have wanted it. Those who just play as they see fit have vastly more dignity. What could possibly me more humble- compared to those who impose ill-thought out, historically flawed rules? The only reason things sometimes have to be explained, is to illustrate to dissenting hypocrites that their basis for dismissal is generally deeply ignorant. If they're not interested in alternative ways of playing, you have to prove them wrong on their own terms about what is 'correct'.

When Beethoven beat pianos senseless and broke virtually every string, was he trying to illustrate his fidelity to the text? Or was there something a little more important going on?


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/15/09 05:54 PM)
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#1268909 - 09/15/09 05:58 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
sotto voce Offline
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tl;dr.

Anyway, your post followed mine by eight whole minutes. If you put more thought into what you write, it might not come across quite so uniformly as unedited bloviation with the tone of a haughty and pompous lecturer. Just sayin.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1268911 - 09/15/09 06:04 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
tl;dr.

Anyway, your post followed mine by eight whole minutes. If you put more thought into what you write, it might not come across quite so uniformly as unedited bloviation with the tone of a haughty and pompous lecturer. Just sayin.

Steven


So it's okay for you to openly look down upon those who possess the audacity to change the odd marking in a score? But if somebody has the nerve to illustrate that the ground you occupy is perhaps not quite so high as you think, they the pompous ones? I see...

Incidentally, the point that you missed there is that what we see today does not necessarily illustrate the composer's intentions. When a performer follows a score literally that does not necessarily represent the composers ideas, any more than looking at a highly aged painting necessarily represents what the artist originally produced. Perhaps you would have made a stronger case for your side had you stopped to consider and then respond to that vital issue, instead of knocking out a few insults. Sidetrack things by attacking me if you wish, but could you also try dealing with my argument?


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/15/09 06:12 PM)
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#1268914 - 09/15/09 06:06 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Clayton Offline
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Registered: 08/26/09
Posts: 128
Loc: Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
... the average person would benefit a great deal from an understanding of intellectual property and its role in the creative process.


Intellectual property is a mirage created by government action and has nothing whatever to do with the creative process. As I said above, the vast majority of what we create is not original to ourselves. We are all "copyright violators". Has each and every composer who uses the so-called "Alberti bass" figure discovered/invented it himself/herself? Or was it copied time and again from time immemorial? You don't think that Polish folk music influenced Chopin's music? Or Russian folk music didn't influence Tschaikovsky's music? The lone heroic composer giving birth to de novo music, entirely original and without precedent or influence is pure myth.

Clayton -
_________________________
My listening obsessions:
Kurt Atterberg - Piano Concerto in Bb
Claude Debussy - Cello Sonata
Johannes Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2

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#1268916 - 09/15/09 06:07 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
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You and your wonderful straw man arguments haven't changed one bit. cool
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#1268917 - 09/15/09 06:08 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Horowitzian]
sotto voce Offline
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I resolve to stop toggling ignored posts into view!



Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1269059 - 09/15/09 11:57 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: ConcertEtudes
But since Chopin is dead, no one knows what Chopin really wanted, so we are all playing our own arrangements of Chopin.

??? What Chopin wanted is what he indicated in the score.

Which is of course, exactly the same thing in every single edition he published. He never changed his mind about a thing...

Actually, the music is substantially the same in every single edition he published. To the extent there are differences, they're pretty much attributable to copyists. In subsequent editions, the discrepancies are equally minor and attributable to different editors. I can't think of a single instance where anything is attributable to Chopin "chang[ing] his mind."

Other composers certainly changed their minds, with the result that earlier works were revisited, completely revised and published anew. Chopin isn't one of them. He was precise and deliberate about the content of a manuscript by the time it was ready for publication, and he didn't look back. (And if he he "never played anything the same way twice" or wrote variants on his students' scores, that's completely irrelevant to what was published.)

Steven


It's funny, I have a Vienna Urtext edition of the etudes, and they have all the different ways he's had sections published in different editions........... and there are a lot of uh, varied things in there.

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
It's not just editions, Chopin changed things ALL the time while performing. He almost never played the same thing twice. So really, sometimes we actually don't know what he wanted..


I think it's a very different thing to say Chopin changed things when he performed his own composition and we don't know what he wanted so we can do what we like. If he wanted to leave it up to us, why would he or any composer mark the score with phrasing, dynamics, pedalling, tempo indications?

If you could take a lesson from Chopin and he penciled in something in your score, would you ignore it because he might play it differently the next time?



Do you do everything your teacher tells you?
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'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1269104 - 09/16/09 02:08 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Clayton]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7797
Originally Posted By: Clayton
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
... the average person would benefit a great deal from an understanding of intellectual property and its role in the creative process.


Intellectual property is a mirage created by government action and has nothing whatever to do with the creative process. As I said above, the vast majority of what we create is not original to ourselves. We are all "copyright violators". Has each and every composer who uses the so-called "Alberti bass" figure discovered/invented it himself/herself? Or was it copied time and again from time immemorial? You don't think that Polish folk music influenced Chopin's music? Or Russian folk music didn't influence Tschaikovsky's music? The lone heroic composer giving birth to de novo music, entirely original and without precedent or influence is pure myth.



At any rate, the issue when it comes to composing and performing seems to confuse a lot of people. Assuming for the sake of argument that there is some intellectual property in a score, it doesn't just go away when a performer performs the piece. It is still there. The score is still intact for anyone to look at and use. Composers don't "own" performances, in other words, their "property" is restricted to the score. The fact that composers can and do get royalty payments from performances may give the appearance that they also own the performance, but I think that's a kind of illusion.

In a very real sense, any performance is an arrangement of the score. Even a perfectly accurate MIDI realization of a score is still an arrangement - you cannot ever actually hear a score, you can only see it, so any audible representation of it has to be an arrangement of some kind or another.

Human performers rarely aim for MIDI-like mechanical accuracy, because it isn't musical (which seems rather odd, seeing that the score-worshippers seem to think the music is in the score, and not in the musician).

To be really honest and truthful, and to accurately represent what is really going on when a pianist performs a notated work of music, concert programs, CD booklets, etc., should always hyphenate the performer's name with that of the composer. For example, Sonata, op. 111 by Beethoven-Goode. That would clearly indicate what the audience is actually getting. And doing that would remind people that if they are truly concerned about "composer's intent", they would do well to avoid actually listening to music being performed by real people in real time, and should instead study the score itself.


Edited by wr (09/16/09 04:53 AM)

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#1269149 - 09/16/09 07:28 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Pogorelich.]
sotto voce Offline
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Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Actually, the music is substantially the same in every single edition he published. To the extent there are differences, they're pretty much attributable to copyists. In subsequent editions, the discrepancies are equally minor and attributable to different editors. I can't think of a single instance where anything is attributable to Chopin "chang[ing] his mind."

Other composers certainly changed their minds, with the result that earlier works were revisited, completely revised and published anew. Chopin isn't one of them. He was precise and deliberate about the content of a manuscript by the time it was ready for publication, and he didn't look back. (And if he he "never played anything the same way twice" or wrote variants on his students' scores, that's completely irrelevant to what was published.)

Steven

It's funny, I have a Vienna Urtext edition of the etudes, and they have all the different ways he's had sections published in different editions........... and there are a lot of uh, varied things in there.

If you re-read the first paragraph that you you quoted, you'll see that's what I was describing there.

Steven


Edited by sotto voce (09/16/09 08:06 AM)
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1269165 - 09/16/09 08:41 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Actually, the music is substantially the same in every single edition he published. To the extent there are differences, they're pretty much attributable to copyists. In subsequent editions, the discrepancies are equally minor and attributable to different editors. I can't think of a single instance where anything is attributable to Chopin "chang[ing] his mind."

Other composers certainly changed their minds, with the result that earlier works were revisited, completely revised and published anew. Chopin isn't one of them. He was precise and deliberate about the content of a manuscript by the time it was ready for publication, and he didn't look back. (And if he he "never played anything the same way twice" or wrote variants on his students' scores, that's completely irrelevant to what was published.)

Steven

It's funny, I have a Vienna Urtext edition of the etudes, and they have all the different ways he's had sections published in different editions........... and there are a lot of uh, varied things in there.

If you re-read the first paragraph that you you quoted, you'll see that's what I was describing there.

Steven


However, if you look at the final paragraph, it's isn't. The problem is that in your first paragraph you falsely blamed it all on the editors. There are doubtless issues of inaccurate copying, but there are also countless issues upon which Chopin changed his mind- despite the factually inaccurate assertion you made in the final paragraph.
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#1269174 - 09/16/09 09:13 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Pogorelich.]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Originally Posted By: Pianoloverus
If you could take a lesson from Chopin and he penciled in something in your score, would you ignore it because he might play it differently the next time?


Do you do everything your teacher tells you?


I'm talking about Chopin, not just any teacher.

But in the course of this discussion I think some may have misinterpreted my remarks or maybe I've not made myself clear. I do not feel that every marking has to be followed and do not mind occasional deviations, if well thought out, from the score. In other words, if one deviates from Chopin's markings it should be done with the utmost care and for a good reason.

The original poster and some of those those arguing for frredom from the score seemed to me more like they were talking about playing everything and everywhere how one felt like playing. Kind of like a poster on the member's recordings section who said they had not looked at Liszt's dynamic markings and just played the piece the way they wanted to in terms of dynamics. Although this poster gave a thoughtful performance IMO, I think his approach to the score is not really good.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/16/09 10:46 AM)

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#1269255 - 09/16/09 11:56 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Juishi Offline
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Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 123
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Although this poster gave a thoughtful performance IMO, I think his approach to the score is not really good.


Do we need care about the approach to the score If we enjoy what we are hearing?

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#1269270 - 09/16/09 12:18 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Juishi]
sotto voce Offline
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Originally Posted By: Juishi
Do we need care about the approach to the score If we enjoy what we are hearing?

Can we enjoy what we're hearing if we don't care about the approach to the score?

I think it's abundantly clear from this thread that some people can and some people cannot.

I wonder how many different ways there are to say that (and that haven't already been said repeatedly in this thread).

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1269302 - 09/16/09 12:59 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: Juishi
Do we need care about the approach to the score If we enjoy what we are hearing?

Can we enjoy what we're hearing if we don't care about the approach to the score?

I think it's abundantly clear from this thread that some people can and some people cannot.

I wonder how many different ways there are to say that (and that haven't already been said repeatedly in this thread).

Steven


I think it's also abundantly clear that everyone posting in this thread is already aware of how abundantly clear it is that some people can and some people cannot. What is extremely interesting however, is the fact that such an overwhelming majority of people seek to impose the idea that ocassionally disobeying a score is not acceptable- as though it were an indisputable crime against morality. The point is that while some people can and some people can't, an enormous number of people continue to push the view that you SHOULDN'T accept something, unless it's supported by the score. THAT is the kind of issue under debate here. Pointing out such a glaring obvious fact about subjectivity (with the evident implication that you feel that it is not already obvious to everybody else posting here) is hardly likely to end such debate.

If you're not interested in thinking it through in any more detail (preferring to classify anything that goes into greater depth as mere repetition) that's up to you. However, if you think that the blindingly self-evident statement you made is going is supposed make everyone go 'Ah!' and end the discussion, I have to wonder whether you've actually looked beyond the surface in the first place. There have been a number of interesting posts here, from both sides of the argument- very few of which are so simplistic as to fall under "different ways (...) to say that". On the contrary, each and every poster has gone considerably beyond your (distinctly less than revelatory) statement. Perhaps you think that sums everything up, but I think it's a staggeringly superficial summary of the complex issues- particularly considering the fact that such issues basically dominate the musical approach of virtually every single present-day teacher and performer.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/16/09 01:11 PM)
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#1269307 - 09/16/09 01:09 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
sotto voce Offline
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Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Vasa inania multum strepunt.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1269315 - 09/16/09 01:18 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Vasa inania multum strepunt.

Steven


So once more, you have absolutely nothing to add to the discussion? If you're not interested in thinking it through any further than "some people like stuff and others don't" perhaps you could simply refrain from posting- rather than behave patronisingly and rudely towards those who like to think a little beyond that? If I'm not interested in a particular discussion, I tend to walk away from it- rather than make a staggeringly over-simplified summary and then tell the group of people ionvolved that they're basically just repeating it.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/16/09 01:26 PM)
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#1269401 - 09/16/09 04:08 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Juishi]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Originally Posted By: Juishi
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Although this poster gave a thoughtful performance IMO, I think his approach to the score is not really good.


Do we need care about the approach to the score If we enjoy what we are hearing?


I don't think someone enjoying what they're hearing is a good criterion for judging how good a performance is unless perhaps the person listening is incredibly knowledgble. The person who posted the recording I mentioned enjoyed their own interpretation, but there were things wrong with it (besides not even looking at the composer's markings). He wasn't aware of them or he would have played things differently!

Even in a master class where the students are from a conservatory setting, the teacher will often point out things that were undeniably wrong with the student's performance. I'm sure the students enjoyed their performance or they would have played things differently. That doesn't mean that the teacher shouldn't care about their approach.

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#1269427 - 09/16/09 04:42 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Clayton Offline
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Registered: 08/26/09
Posts: 128
Loc: Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Even in a master class where the students are from a conservatory setting, the teacher will often point out things that were undeniably wrong with the student's performance.


Yes, but that's because music is a kind of language with its own grammar, syntax and vocabulary and the student is usually giving mixed signals or using inappropriate phrasing, etc. In the master classes that I've watched on Google Video or YouTube, the instructor rarely, if ever, points to the score. Rather, he or she says something like, "Why are you playing staccato? Is this section happy or giddy? The music is full of yearning and sadness, but you're stomping over it with a staccato as if you're prancing through the meadows." The correctness of the instructor's criticism is plainly there for all to hear, no score is needed to check whether the student or the instructor is right.

Technique (as in, technical faithfulness to the score) is the servant, not the master. And it is the music which technique must serve. I'm an engineer at my day job, and a geek term which might be used to describe the score is "low bandwidth" - the score is a low bandwidth description of high bandwidth content. It is a "lossy compression" of the music. That means that a lot of detail is dropped for the sake of brevity. Even the dynamic markings, such as p, f, crescendo or decrescendo, utterly fail to describe the intricacy of what's occurring throughout a phrase where the breaths, commas and periods in the phrase cause the dynamics to vary at a microscopic level from note to note and voice to voice. And this variance will not likely be the same every time through, that is, if the performer is something other than a robot.

</rambling>

Clayton -


Edited by Clayton (09/16/09 04:43 PM)
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My listening obsessions:
Kurt Atterberg - Piano Concerto in Bb
Claude Debussy - Cello Sonata
Johannes Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2

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#1269429 - 09/16/09 04:44 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Juishi
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Although this poster gave a thoughtful performance IMO, I think his approach to the score is not really good.


Do we need care about the approach to the score If we enjoy what we are hearing?


I don't think someone enjoying what they're hearing is a good criterion for judging how good a performance is unless perhaps the person listening is incredibly knowledgble. The person who posted the recording I mentioned enjoyed their own interpretation, but there were things wrong with it (besides not even looking at the composer's markings). He wasn't aware of them or he would have played things differently!

Even in a master class where the students are from a conservatory setting, the teacher will often point out things that were undeniably wrong with the student's performance. I'm sure the students enjoyed their performance or they would have played things differently. That doesn't mean that the teacher shouldn't care about their approach.


Undeniably? That's really a very strong word. The problem is that even some of the most widely accepted 'truths' are highly disputable, if you look to history. As described before, most people would say that playing the left hand before the right hand in Mozart is a 'romantic' gesture that has no place in a classical style and counts as a disrespect to the composer. This is almost universally accepted as being "undeniable". Yet history reveals that not only is inaccurate to dismiss it as 'wrong', but that it is exactly what Mozart asked for. No rational person could honestly look at the source evidence with an unbiased mind and draw the opinion that it's an alien gesture. Yet it's been indoctrinated into everybody to the point where very few people are willing to question their 'rule' about what is inadmissible for Mozart- even with such overwhelming evidence against it.

I repeat the above example as it is a particularly strong, factually supported example of how an almost universally accepted premise is actually the very antithesis of what history actually suggested. The 'rule' is nothing more than a modern idea, falsely attributed to the composer. There are countless other examples- notably the discrepancy between how Rachmaninoff performed and how his music is taught now (considerably less than a century after his death!). When you realise how many flaws there are in the notion than things are "undeniable" and start exploring with an open mind, you start to realise just how many things that have been presented to us as undeniable absolutes are actually a complete load of hokem. Is it any wonder that performers generally sound so boring these days- when they restrict their style according to 'intellectual' rules that often have no intellectual grounding? Similarly, is it any wonder that few people have an interest in classical music- when we need a dubious intellectual justification before we can go ahead and be moved by something? And when we construct pseudo-intellectual arguments to write-off performers who produce distinctive sounds- instead of simply enjoying them? Yeah, that'll get the kids interested...


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/16/09 05:02 PM)
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#1269450 - 09/16/09 05:16 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
beet31425 Offline
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I think a big factor here is whether the changes to the composer's intent are coming from a place of knowledge or of ignorance. When Glen Gould plays the b minor fugue (WTC I.24) as an allegro, even though it's marked "Largo" in my urtext, I may not agree with his decision, but I respect that he's made it after a thorough knowledge of Bach's intentions.

Similarly, I once heard Baremboim perform Brahms's first concerto, in which, to my shock, he actually added notes to the very end of the last movement-- a sequence of chords not in the score. But Baremboim has spent a lifetime studying Brahms, and I think he's in a position to make such a decision.

I think this is very different from a student changing a composer's intent just because he likes it more that way.


"Study the masters first-- then comes the revolution."
-A. Schoenberg*

(* Actually, he didn't say this. But he could have!)


-Jason
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#1269452 - 09/16/09 05:22 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
pianoloverus Online   content
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[quote=NyiregyhaziUndeniably? That's really a very strong word. [/quote]

WEll, how about 99% chance it was corret?

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#1269454 - 09/16/09 05:23 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Undeniably? That's really a very strong word.


Well, how about 99% chance it was correct?

It really doesn't matter whether the teachers were undeniably, 99% or 50% correct in terms of the point I was making, namely that just because someone likes another person'()or their own) performance, this doesn't mean there's nothing wrong the performance or liking it is the only thing that matters.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/16/09 05:33 PM)

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#1269462 - 09/16/09 05:42 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Undeniably? That's really a very strong word.


Well, how about 99% chance it was correct?

It really doesn't matter whether the teachers were undeniably, 99% or 50% correct in terms of the point I was making, namely that just because someone likes another person'()or their own) performance, this doesn't mean there's nothing wrong the performance or liking it is the only thing that matters.


Probabilities don't mean anything here though. Who determines the odds and on what basis? In any case all that matters is the fact that when something is portrayed as an absolute on false ground, people are restricted on unnecessary grounds. Teachers ought to encourage wider boundaries for creativity- not close doors by claiming that things are undeniable absolutes, when they are not. When something as portrayed as undeniable (yet it very much IS deniable) teachers could often be 'banning' something that is not only extremely interesting, but also perfectly valid. That's why anyone who is concerned with more than following 3rd hand orders needs to do their own research and thinking. Sometimes the consensus about the only 'correct' approach is actually very much wrong. I find this especially objectionable when it's claimed to be in the name of the composer, where it solely represents a view of the teacher.

"Undeniable" things are pretty few and far between, when you look at advanced masterclasses. Sadly, all too many try to make things look indisputable by claiming to talk about everything as though they can speak for the composer's will. However, the majority of it is their own belief about what the score means.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/16/09 05:52 PM)
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#1269465 - 09/16/09 05:51 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Undeniably? That's really a very strong word.


Well, how about 99% chance it was correct?

It really doesn't matter whether the teachers were undeniably, 99% or 50% correct in terms of the point I was making, namely that just because someone likes another person'()or their own) performance, this doesn't mean there's nothing wrong the performance or liking it is the only thing that matters.


Probabilities don't mean anything here though. Who determines the odds and on what basis? In any case all that matters is the fact that when something is portrayed as an absolute on false ground, people are restricted on unnecessary grounds.


The teachers never said anything was undeniable and I changed that word in my description. All this has nothing to do with my point.

You're not saying that because some random person "likes" some performance, that should be the only criterion are you? That's the only point I was making.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/16/09 05:53 PM)

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#1269470 - 09/16/09 06:04 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Undeniably? That's really a very strong word.


Well, how about 99% chance it was correct?

It really doesn't matter whether the teachers were undeniably, 99% or 50% correct in terms of the point I was making, namely that just because someone likes another person'()or their own) performance, this doesn't mean there's nothing wrong the performance or liking it is the only thing that matters.


Probabilities don't mean anything here though. Who determines the odds and on what basis? In any case all that matters is the fact that when something is portrayed as an absolute on false ground, people are restricted on unnecessary grounds.


The teachers never said anything was undeniable and I changed that word in my description. All this has nothing to do with my point.

You're not saying that because some random person "likes" some performance, that should be the only criterion are you? That's the only point I was making.



The point I was making was that you were referring to absolutes, on slightly dubious grounds. I'm not saying that just because someone likes something it is good, no. However, you equally have to question whether a consensus among intellectuals means that something is good (and, above all, whether alternatives are therefore 'wrong'). As I illuistrated with the example on Mozart, even when you have a heavy consensus, there is often strong evidence to show that the consensus is based on highly dubious grounds. If you look at how few members of the public take an interest in most classical musicians, I think that is relevant too. Consider the following that certain performers used to have. Is that because their sounds reached out to the public? Maybe. These days a lot of pompous people like to talk about how 'deep' the playing of Brendel is. Can they explain in what way it is 'deep'? I've always seen it as being an example of the emperor's new clothes. The consensus of those who are supposedly knowledgable, is frequently based on people not wanting to be the one who risks coming across as too stupid to see what others claim to see. It's interesting to consider where the line ought to be drawn, but it has to be stressed that any premise that requires a person to see a score (before deciding whether a performance was good) or not, is flawed. You might as well claim that a painting is 'bad', if the artist takes the liberty of adding an extra tree, instead of doing a flawless reproduction of the landscape in front of him. Would the mona lisa become bad art, if we discovered that she actually had blond hair, but he chose to make it black? Is it impossible to appreciate, without a photograph of the scene he reproduced? In terms of what I look for myself,I think that outstanding performances are those that stand out upon how they sound- not upon whether they correspond accurately to instructions or not. Art is usually observed for what it is. Not by checking whether whoever brought it into being followed the instructions to the letter. I don't see why music should be an exception.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/16/09 06:21 PM)
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#1269495 - 09/16/09 06:32 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

The point I was making was that you were referring to absolutes, on slightly dubious grounds. I'm not saying that just because someone likes something it is good, no. However, you equally have to question whether a consensus among intellectuals means that something is good (and, above all, whether alternatives are therefore 'wrong')..... In terms of what I look for myself,I think that outstanding performances are those that stand out upon how they sound- not upon whether they correspond accurately to instructions or not. Art is usually observed for what it is. Not by checking whether whoever brought it into being followed the instructions to the letter. I don't see why music should be an exception.


I already made it clear a few posts ago that I never meant to imply that classical music had to be performed to the letter of the composer's wishes.

When I discussed a PW memeber's performance in the recordings section, interestingly enough I said something to the effect that "I don't have the score in front of me, but the way you play such and such a passage doesn't make sense musically". I didn't need the score to realize this. The poster thought I meant that he wasn't following the composer's markings and that's when he said he had never bothered to look at them and played the piece the way he felt.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/16/09 06:36 PM)

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#1269506 - 09/16/09 06:46 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: pianoloverus]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

The point I was making was that you were referring to absolutes, on slightly dubious grounds. I'm not saying that just because someone likes something it is good, no. However, you equally have to question whether a consensus among intellectuals means that something is good (and, above all, whether alternatives are therefore 'wrong')..... In terms of what I look for myself,I think that outstanding performances are those that stand out upon how they sound- not upon whether they correspond accurately to instructions or not. Art is usually observed for what it is. Not by checking whether whoever brought it into being followed the instructions to the letter. I don't see why music should be an exception.


I already made it clear a few posts ago that I never meant to imply that classical music had to be performed to the letter of the composer's wishes.

When I discussed a PW memeber's performance in the recordings section, interestingly enough I said something to the effect that "I don't have the score in front of me, but the way you play such and such a passage doesn't make sense musically". I didn't need the score to realize this. The poster thought I meant that he wasn't following the composer's markings and that's when he said he had never bothered to look at them and played the piece the way he felt.


Okay, I see what you mean. Even there, I'd be careful about going to so far as to talk about "indisputible" flaws though. I think the kind of impressions you're talking about arguably fall even more under the notion of subjective tastes. Sometimes when something just doesn't work, there are different things that you can focus on. Change one element and suddenly another element that might have seemed poor, might seem wholly appropriate. However, change a completely different element (while keeping the other identical) and that may also lead to a perfectly good whole as well.
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#1269711 - 09/17/09 01:29 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
These days a lot of pompous people like to talk about how 'deep' the playing of Brendel is. Can they explain in what way it is 'deep'? I've always seen it as being an example of the emperor's new clothes.


Which basically means that because you can't hear what others are hearing, they must be wrong. It's the same kind of bogus reasoning that is employed by those people who insist that anyone who says they like modern music is lying, assuming that it is simply not possible that anyone else like anything they themselves can't enjoy or understand.

And too, I've rarely heard any adequate explanations of why any interpretation by anyone of any music is "deep". That inability to explain it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Music is notoriously difficult to talk about, especially when trying to describe the effects it has on people.

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#1270016 - 09/17/09 03:18 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
These days a lot of pompous people like to talk about how 'deep' the playing of Brendel is. Can they explain in what way it is 'deep'? I've always seen it as being an example of the emperor's new clothes.


Which basically means that because you can't hear what others are hearing, they must be wrong. It's the same kind of bogus reasoning that is employed by those people who insist that anyone who says they like modern music is lying, assuming that it is simply not possible that anyone else like anything they themselves can't enjoy or understand.

And too, I've rarely heard any adequate explanations of why any interpretation by anyone of any music is "deep". That inability to explain it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Music is notoriously difficult to talk about, especially when trying to describe the effects it has on people.




No it means that because they cannot even begin to quantify what makes it "deep", I am extraordinarily skeptical as to what it is that supposedly carries such 'intellectual' weight. If someone just likes a performance that's fine. There's no implicit dishonesty there. It's when people hype something up as being intellectual or "true to the composer" etc. without being able to follow through (with anything that goes beyond mere issues of taste) that I ask questions. It stinks to me of people wanting to been seen to like a 'clever' musician, when they are not in a position to judge whethere there's actually anything clever or 'correct' about it. When I hear a pianist who sounds very middle of the road being described as a genius, I expect some kind of attempt to explain what I'm missing- if I'm to be persuaded that anything exists. At least pianists like Horowitz or Gould had an unmistakably distinctive sound. Like it or hate it, it is both audible and open to objective descriptions. However, I'm rather skeptical as to whether many Brendel fans could pick his performances out from a host of other competent pianists- either in terms of style or quality. Anyway, this is straying off the point somewhat. The major issue was that the fact that concepts of 'correctness' that are widely accepted by knowledgable people are often easily falsifiable according to historical evidence. Just because there's a wide consensus that something is 'wrong' doesn't mean that it actually is. That's the big problem in performances styles these days. Too many people trust what they have been told is right (and more importantly, what is supposedly unacceptable), without stopping to think for themselves.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/17/09 03:36 PM)
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#1270315 - 09/18/09 02:20 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
These days a lot of pompous people like to talk about how 'deep' the playing of Brendel is. Can they explain in what way it is 'deep'? I've always seen it as being an example of the emperor's new clothes.


Which basically means that because you can't hear what others are hearing, they must be wrong. It's the same kind of bogus reasoning that is employed by those people who insist that anyone who says they like modern music is lying, assuming that it is simply not possible that anyone else like anything they themselves can't enjoy or understand.

And too, I've rarely heard any adequate explanations of why any interpretation by anyone of any music is "deep". That inability to explain it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Music is notoriously difficult to talk about, especially when trying to describe the effects it has on people.




No it means that because they cannot even begin to quantify what makes it "deep", I am extraordinarily skeptical as to what it is that supposedly carries such 'intellectual' weight. If someone just likes a performance that's fine. There's no implicit dishonesty there. It's when people hype something up as being intellectual or "true to the composer" etc. without being able to follow through (with anything that goes beyond mere issues of taste) that I ask questions. It stinks to me of people wanting to been seen to like a 'clever' musician, when they are not in a position to judge whethere there's actually anything clever or 'correct' about it. When I hear a pianist who sounds very middle of the road being described as a genius, I expect some kind of attempt to explain what I'm missing- if I'm to be persuaded that anything exists.



First, you would have to find someone foolish enough to care to undertake that endeavor, which I am guessing would probably prove to be futile in the end, anyway.

Quote:


At least pianists like Horowitz or Gould had an unmistakably distinctive sound. Like it or hate it, it is both audible and open to objective descriptions. However, I'm rather skeptical as to whether many Brendel fans could pick his performances out from a host of other competent pianists- either in terms of style or quality.



Certainly in a live performance, I could. But that doesn't matter, since testing that premise isn't a possibility, and I suspect that it's unlikely you would take anyone's word on it.

Quote:


Anyway, this is straying off the point somewhat. The major issue was that the fact that concepts of 'correctness' that are widely accepted by knowledgable people are often easily falsifiable according to historical evidence. Just because there's a wide consensus that something is 'wrong' doesn't mean that it actually is. That's the big problem in performances styles these days. Too many people trust what they have been told is right (and more importantly, what is supposedly unacceptable), without stopping to think for themselves.


People generally ally themselves with whatever trends of thought and fashion that fit their sensibilities. I don't think that thinking for themselves has much to do with it, other than the sort of everyday rationalizations we all use to explain ourselves to ourselves.

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#1270337 - 09/18/09 04:47 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Andromaque Offline
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So, gentlemen, music is a performing art, I conclude???
with all what that implies, i.e. a mix of traditions, currents and countercurrents of approaches to interpretation with the usual sprinkle of ultra-"traditionalists" and "innovators".
Whether we can accurately estimate what Mozart really wanted or not is not as relevant as it might appear. Today's living composers have ample opportunity to record their exact wishes to posterity but they rarely go beyond some instructions on the score. And it is rather obvious to us, and probably to them, that their works will be "interpreted" differently three or four generations into the future. That is the Achille's heel of the performing arts in a sense. Even 'worse", an audience made out of "lay" people gets to have the final word. Their appreciation of a performance is however very much steeped in the moods and sensibilities of the day. Academic interpretation might differ from popular takes but it too carries the stamp of time and place.
Nothing new under the sun.

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#1270581 - 09/18/09 02:47 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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"First, you would have to find someone foolish enough to care to undertake that endeavor, which I am guessing would probably prove to be futile in the end, anyway."

"Certainly in a live performance, I could. But that doesn't matter, since testing that premise isn't a possibility, and I suspect that it's unlikely you would take anyone's word on it."

So you could "certainly" recognise his style of playing? But you could not even attempt to offer a few words of what distinguishes it from others- so as to permit you to do so? I'm afraid that's rather unlikely to convince me about what it is that I am supposedly missing. Personally, I remain convinced that his reputations has far more to do with his 'holier than thou' gimmick than anything else.
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#1270586 - 09/18/09 02:54 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Andromaque]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
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Originally Posted By: Andromaque
So, gentlemen, music is a performing art, I conclude???
with all what that implies, i.e. a mix of traditions, currents and countercurrents of approaches to interpretation with the usual sprinkle of ultra-"traditionalists" and "innovators".
Whether we can accurately estimate what Mozart really wanted or not is not as relevant as it might appear. Today's living composers have ample opportunity to record their exact wishes to posterity but they rarely go beyond some instructions on the score. And it is rather obvious to us, and probably to them, that their works will be "interpreted" differently three or four generations into the future. That is the Achille's heel of the performing arts in a sense. Even 'worse", an audience made out of "lay" people gets to have the final word. Their appreciation of a performance is however very much steeped in the moods and sensibilities of the day. Academic interpretation might differ from popular takes but it too carries the stamp of time and place.
Nothing new under the sun.


But the world of music is now dominated by those who do NOT have open minds- and who impose rules that are frequently unjustified historically, as if they stem from incontrovertible fact. That's the entire problem with today's culture- the fact that so many people not only think that they CAN conjure up what Mozart wanted, but that they seek to dismiss other ways as 'unstylistic' or 'romanticised' etc.

The only answer to today's limited thinking is to look to history. Not in order to impose rules, but so the most dubious 'rules' that restrict modern musicians can be brought into question and hopefully shown the door. Then musicians can start doing interesting things again, without being told that they are guilty of pissing in the composers face.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/18/09 02:57 PM)
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#1270591 - 09/18/09 03:02 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


"First, you would have to find someone foolish enough to care to undertake that endeavor, which I am guessing would probably prove to be futile in the end, anyway."

"Certainly in a live performance, I could. But that doesn't matter, since testing that premise isn't a possibility, and I suspect that it's unlikely you would take anyone's word on it."

So you could "certainly" recognise his style of playing? But you could not even attempt to offer a few words of what distinguishes it from others- so as to permit you to do so? I'm afraid that's rather unlikely to convince me about what it is that I am supposedly missing. Personally, I remain convinced that his reputations has far more to do with his 'holier than thou' gimmick than anything else.


For some reason, I just can't seem to find the motivation to say anything.

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#1270700 - 09/18/09 05:51 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


"First, you would have to find someone foolish enough to care to undertake that endeavor, which I am guessing would probably prove to be futile in the end, anyway."

"Certainly in a live performance, I could. But that doesn't matter, since testing that premise isn't a possibility, and I suspect that it's unlikely you would take anyone's word on it."

So you could "certainly" recognise his style of playing? But you could not even attempt to offer a few words of what distinguishes it from others- so as to permit you to do so? I'm afraid that's rather unlikely to convince me about what it is that I am supposedly missing. Personally, I remain convinced that his reputations has far more to do with his 'holier than thou' gimmick than anything else.


For some reason, I just can't seem to find the motivation to say anything.



Call me old fashioned, but I've never been terribly swayed by the 'no comment' line of argument.
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#1270774 - 09/18/09 08:42 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Call me old fashioned, but I've never been terribly swayed by the 'no comment' line of argument.


Perhaps because no one is trying to sway you?

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#1270907 - 09/19/09 07:17 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Call me old fashioned, but I've never been terribly swayed by the 'no comment' line of argument.


Perhaps because no one is trying to sway you?


Whether you're trying or not, if I believe in something strongly, I usually prefer to support it with something. I find it rather remarkable that you're bold enough to publically claim that you could "certainly" pick out what distinguishes Brendel from other pianists, yet you're not bold enough to offer so much as a shred of detail as to how. At least most of his supporters are able to come up with something about his superior grasp of 'structure' (albeit using overwhelmingly subjective vagueness that rarely suggests anything remotely intellectual or accountable).


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/19/09 07:31 AM)
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#1271417 - 09/20/09 04:24 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Call me old fashioned, but I've never been terribly swayed by the 'no comment' line of argument.


Perhaps because no one is trying to sway you?


Whether you're trying or not, if I believe in something strongly, I usually prefer to support it with something. I find it rather remarkable that you're bold enough to publically claim that you could "certainly" pick out what distinguishes Brendel from other pianists, yet you're not bold enough to offer so much as a shred of detail as to how. At least most of his supporters are able to come up with something about his superior grasp of 'structure' (albeit using overwhelmingly subjective vagueness that rarely suggests anything remotely intellectual or accountable).


Funny, I didn't feel particularly bold saying that. I was just reporting what I think is the case. It seems rather pointless to offer any detail or try to back it up, since it's just based on my personal listening experience, which is not necessarily reducible to verbal description even if I had the inclination to try to do it.

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#1271467 - 09/20/09 09:22 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Call me old fashioned, but I've never been terribly swayed by the 'no comment' line of argument.


Perhaps because no one is trying to sway you?


Whether you're trying or not, if I believe in something strongly, I usually prefer to support it with something. I find it rather remarkable that you're bold enough to publically claim that you could "certainly" pick out what distinguishes Brendel from other pianists, yet you're not bold enough to offer so much as a shred of detail as to how. At least most of his supporters are able to come up with something about his superior grasp of 'structure' (albeit using overwhelmingly subjective vagueness that rarely suggests anything remotely intellectual or accountable).


Funny, I didn't feel particularly bold saying that. I was just reporting what I think is the case. It seems rather pointless to offer any detail or try to back it up, since it's just based on my personal listening experience, which is not necessarily reducible to verbal description even if I had the inclination to try to do it.




So there's nothing remotely bold about claiming that you could distinguish Brendel's sound from other performers without offering any explanation as to how? That sounds like outright bravado to me.
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#1271515 - 09/20/09 11:47 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
That sounds like picking another argument to me. smile
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#1271549 - 09/20/09 12:33 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
That sounds like picking another argument to me. smile


No, I'm not looking to pick an argument. I'm simply defending the honest belief that I stated before against a poster who was quite willing to suggest that I'm mistaken, yet totally unwilling to put his money where his mouth is.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/20/09 12:35 PM)
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#1271551 - 09/20/09 12:37 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
WHAT AN AWESOME THREAD!!!! 2hearts
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#1271901 - 09/21/09 02:16 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7797
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


So there's nothing remotely bold about claiming that you could distinguish Brendel's sound from other performers without offering any explanation as to how? That sounds like outright bravado to me.


Oh, it's easy to explain how - I listen.

It's not as if he's the only one - there are other pianists who I have heard who seem to me to have such a distinct effect on me in certain music that I could tell them apart. I'm pretty sure, for example, that I would recognize Lang Lang in a lot of Rachmaninoff or Liszt. On the other hand, there are plenty that I wouldn't say that about, and some I like very much. Steven Osborn comes to mind as one who has a personality and I like his playing, but he is not one that I would say I could identify listening blind (not yet, anyway).

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#1272184 - 09/21/09 03:53 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


So there's nothing remotely bold about claiming that you could distinguish Brendel's sound from other performers without offering any explanation as to how? That sounds like outright bravado to me.


Oh, it's easy to explain how - I listen.

It's not as if he's the only one - there are other pianists who I have heard who seem to me to have such a distinct effect on me in certain music that I could tell them apart. I'm pretty sure, for example, that I would recognize Lang Lang in a lot of Rachmaninoff or Liszt. On the other hand, there are plenty that I wouldn't say that about, and some I like very much. Steven Osborn comes to mind as one who has a personality and I like his playing, but he is not one that I would say I could identify listening blind (not yet, anyway).





That's like an expert on insects saying that he can tell which insects are which by looking at them. How can you claim to be able to do so, without being able to explain how? I could write a whole essay on the specific stylistic traits of Horowitz. There are a handful of pianists who could fool me into believing them to be Horowitz (including Joseph Villa and Byron Janis). That's because they use the same wide dynamic range and the same pianistic tricks- ie.e the ones that I could spend hours describing.

I'm not saying you could't identify Brendel's style, were he to be be put among a range of other performers for blind listening tests. However, if you're going to claim that you certainly could, but refuse to explain how, I'm afraid it doesn't look terribly convincing. The thing I find most notable about Brendel's style is how middle of the road it is. That's why, if you think I'm missing something, I'm rather surprised that you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is by explaining a few of the characteristics that are apparently so distinctive as to permit you to identify his playing.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/21/09 04:00 PM)
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#1272269 - 09/21/09 06:32 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7797
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


I'm not saying you could't identify Brendel's style, were he to be be put among a range of other performers for blind listening tests. However, if you're going to claim that you certainly could, but refuse to explain how, I'm afraid it doesn't look terribly convincing. The thing I find most notable about Brendel's style is how middle of the road it is. That's why, if you think I'm missing something, I'm rather surprised that you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is by explaining a few of the characteristics that are apparently so distinctive as to permit you to identify his playing.


I don't think I said anywhere that I was capable of describing what I have experienced with his playing, merely that I could recognize it. I don't care in the least about being convincing to you. In light of the prejudices you've shown regarding Brendel and other listeners' reactions to his playing, I'm not interested in simply adding to the stockpile of what you see as vague nonsense. In other words, I already know that any description I would provide would be met with derision, since you don't share the perceptions and apparently believe that people simply make them up. The issue is totally speculative, at any rate, and not worth expending any more energy over. Say what you like in response - I'm outta here.

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#1272279 - 09/21/09 06:56 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


I'm not saying you could't identify Brendel's style, were he to be be put among a range of other performers for blind listening tests. However, if you're going to claim that you certainly could, but refuse to explain how, I'm afraid it doesn't look terribly convincing. The thing I find most notable about Brendel's style is how middle of the road it is. That's why, if you think I'm missing something, I'm rather surprised that you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is by explaining a few of the characteristics that are apparently so distinctive as to permit you to identify his playing.


I don't think I said anywhere that I was capable of describing what I have experienced with his playing, merely that I could recognize it. I don't care in the least about being convincing to you. In light of the prejudices you've shown regarding Brendel and other listeners' reactions to his playing, I'm not interested in simply adding to the stockpile of what you see as vague nonsense. In other words, I already know that any description I would provide would be met with derision, since you don't share the perceptions and apparently believe that people simply make them up. The issue is totally speculative, at any rate, and not worth expending any more energy over. Say what you like in response - I'm outta here.





Well, the only thing that seems speculative to me is that you claim you could recognise his style, when you cannot categorise any of the features that might permit you to do so. I said before merely that vagueries bother me. Such things would not be distinctive- and would hence be a ludicrous premise for supposedly being able to distinguish one pianist's sound from others. People do not distinguish one performer out a thousand, for their "grasp of structure", say. That's precisely why I was inviting your to go into some specifics, that might illustrate in what way Brendel offers something that you claim is distinctive to your ears. If you could offer some, I might be interested to consider them. Seeing as you cannot point towards anything, I shall continue to believe I'm not missing anything terribly remarkable- beyond the generally rather middle of the road style that I have witnessed from him.

Incidentally, I do not believe that people make their impressions up. I simply believe that their impressions are prompted more by the image than anything truly remarkable within the playing. That's why I would like to know what fans feel it is that is distinctively carried in his sound, which they might not find elsewhere. If I'm missing something, I should love to know what that actually is.

You're welcome to your own opinions, but if you can only state that you feel that you're right and I'm wrong, it's really quite pointless. There's real very little purpose in arguing against a honest belief such as that which I stated, if you're not prepared to following through by backing up your opinions with anything beyond the statement that you think I'm wrong.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/21/09 07:14 PM)
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#1272360 - 09/21/09 10:12 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: eweiss]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: eweiss
WHAT AN AWESOME THREAD!!!! 2hearts


+1,000,000

Hey, that's my line. grin wink

Well, it was Brendan's first... laugh
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#1272364 - 09/21/09 10:18 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
That sounds like picking another argument to me. smile


No, I'm not looking to pick an argument. I'm simply defending the honest belief that I stated before against a poster who was quite willing to suggest that I'm mistaken, yet totally unwilling to put his money where his mouth is.


For someone who isn't looking for an argument, you do a damn fine job of stirring them up in many threads you enter into. And you probably wonder why people don't like you very much. whistle
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#1272505 - 09/22/09 06:42 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
That sounds like picking another argument to me. smile


No, I'm not looking to pick an argument. I'm simply defending the honest belief that I stated before against a poster who was quite willing to suggest that I'm mistaken, yet totally unwilling to put his money where his mouth is.


For someone who isn't looking for an argument, you do a damn fine job of stirring them up in many threads you enter into. And you probably wonder why people don't like you very much. whistle


I just say what I believe (and explain why, unlike some posters) If people can't hand an alternate opinion, maybe forums aren't the ideal place for them?
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#1272526 - 09/22/09 08:10 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Isn't the production of music always a collaborative venture between the composer(s) and the performer(s)? If it were not so, I could produce a definitive performance of any composer's work by the simple expedient of digitizing the score and playing it through some computer-controlled musical instrument or other. But, on the whole, we don't tend to rate that as a performance -- we expect the performer to bring something of himself or herself to the music.

Now, when it comes to the collaborative venture between, say, Chopin and me, it's pretty obvious who the major contributor is. But with the best performers that isn't necessarily the case. We don't know what Bach would have made, for example, of Gould's interpretation of his Goldberg Variations, but it's at least possible that he would prefer it to the way he would have played them himself -- who knows?

As for the notion that the enjoyment of the audience isn't an adequate test of a competent performance -- poppycock. I suspect that anybody in the audience who is able to mount a convincing argument that the performance was `wrong' in some sense other than being `not enjoyable' would be quite capable of going home an playing it himself the way he thinks it should be played.

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