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#527245 - 11/30/07 08:47 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
troglodyte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 259
Loc: Uppsala, Sweden
 Quote:
If, after careful consideration, the performer feels 'ff' would be better than the composer's written 'pp', then why should the performer necessarily conform to the composer's notation?
I don't quite get this discussion. Of course the performer is always free to do absolutely anything. The only limitation I can think of is if a work is distorted so much that it is doubtful whether the composer is still the composer - I presume there are copyright laws against me taking your work, distorting it, and still presenting it as your.

Apart from that the performer may make judgements that make a performance less agreeable to some. For example some like Gould and some not. Personally I don't like his Beethoven so much. But I certainly don't think those performances are "wrong".

I think a performer should always play in the way she thinks is best.

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#527246 - 11/30/07 09:09 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff135:
if they are simply there to be ignored? [/b]
Not to be ignored --- but sometimes changed. Ignoring implies that one doesn't even consider what's written. Changing implies that one considers it very carefully, and then makes a musical decision based on careful study.
_________________________
Sam

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#527247 - 11/30/07 09:17 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Theowne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/06
Posts: 1099
Loc: Toronto, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by Nikolas:
Hem...

If you had quoted my whole post you would see that I mentioned that it is an exxageratio, that maybe it happens, etc, with all reasonable doubt then.

I'm not implying anything about better or worst, or god and mortals or anything and please don't take my words and half my posts out of context. What I'm saying is that a composer has a different job than a performer, if this makes sense to you and is not insulting. Because it shouldn't be insulting.
[/b][/QUOTE]

Hello Nikolas,

The reason I quoted only that was because I was responding to the idea that you brought up (and agreed it was an exaggeration), not you personally. (You will notice I only made comment on the idea and never mentioned you) ;\)
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/Theowne- Piano Videos (Ravel, Debussy, etc) & Original Compositions
音楽は楽しいですね。。。

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#527248 - 11/30/07 09:26 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
I pasted this from the LANg Lang thread.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by pianojerome:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
So if Beethoven writes "p" you think it's OK to play "f"? My interpretation of Jeff's statement is that he thinks the performer should follow the composer's
markings in the score (which I totally agree with).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If, after much careful consideration, the performer thinks that 'p' is much better (as my teacher strongly believes about the ending of Tchaikovsky's dumka (marked ff), or if Horowitz thinks that Mendelssohn's Variations should end FFF instead of pp), then all the power to him. Why?

1. There is no risk of offending the composer. (if that is an important concern) Mendelssohn is dead, so he won't know how Horowitz played his Variations Serieuses ending.

2. Mendelssohn could be wrong, too -- fff might sound better than pp in this context, and if that's the case, then we shouldn't play it the "worse" way simply because Mendelssohn made a mistake. We should, of course, play it the "better" way.

3. There are multiple ways of interpreting music, and people prefer different interpretations -- we agree on this -- and it would be just as incompatible to say that Mendelssohn's way is the only correct way, just as it would be to say that Horowitz's or Thibaudet's or Perahia's way is the only correct way. We might reasonably disagree with Horowitz's ending -- not simply because it's different from Mendelssohn's ending -- just as we might reasonably disagree with Mendelssohn's ending.

4. Composers have been known to change their minds. Horowitz made suggestions to Rachmaninov for significant alterations, and Rach approved some of them. Bartok recorded his "6 Romanian Dances" (which were actually not his own tunes anyway) at least 3 times, for 3 different instrumentations, and he made all sorts of rhythmic/note/register changes each time. It's obviously much more politically correct if the composer can approve the changes; but if the composer is dead, then that doesn't change the notion that he might not have minded various changes.... if that is actually important.


There are 4 reasons. I'm not suggestion making these changes willy-nilly -- no, of course not. But after careful study and thought about the music, one feels a change would improve the music, there are 4 reasons why I think the change isn't so blasphemous.


So now, I'll ask you (and others):

If, after careful consideration, the performer feels 'ff' would be better than the composer's written 'pp', then why should the performer necessarily conform to the composer's notation?

Please be specific. I know that "the composer is the composer" -- that's quite obvious!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think saying Horowitz made a change to a piece is such a good reason for arguing that anyone else should, Here are a few reasons why:

1. Horowitz was a very willful player and often out to impress the audience. He made this change because he thought the ppp ending wasn't dramatic enough. I have heard a Jeffrey Siegel lecutre where he played the Mendelssohn and explained this. He chose to play the ppp ending which I personally thought was much more effective.

But I also think it has something to do with Horowitz vs. Pianojerome(no offense intended!)It reminds me of the story where Hoffman asked Anton Rubinstein why Rubinstein always made him follow the composer's markings while Rubinstein sometimes ignored them. Rubinstein's reply was something like "You can play it my way when you reach my age IF YOU CAN."

2. I have been to at least 150 master classes done by many different teachers(but not 150 different teahcers!). In the great majority of these classes the teacher complains if the student makes the *smallest* deviation from printed score. Things like "did the composer say to crescendo there(on just some small phrase)?" or "I don't see a staccato on that note" seem to be repeated endlessly in thses classes.

3. I don't think saying a composer made changes to *his* composition jusitifies this being done by the performer. I think following the composer's markings has something to do with respect for the the composer.

__________________________________________________
I think when playing for one's own pleasure it is OK to make changes but not in a professional performance.

Having said all this I don't think that making changes in a thoughtful way(and,I think, you PJ are among the most thoughtful people on this forum) as you suggested is a terrible thing. It's just not the best option IMHO.

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#527249 - 11/30/07 09:48 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Who are the enforcers of performance practice? And what is the rationale?

Each other, that's who: The tradition of performance practice daily reinforced by members of the classical music community schoolmarming each other with the attitude of "should" and "ought to." It makes me gnash my teeth.

The rationale? I don't hear one in this thread. I'm a traditionalist myself, and feel that their is value in maintaining a tradition. Perhaps a rationale can be found in that idea.

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


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#527250 - 11/30/07 10:22 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Somewhat related to this thread, I read somewhere that one of Horowitz's recordings of Liszt's B minor Sonata starts out loud rather than the indicated soft. Could someone confirm this for me? In a live performance I could imagine this being very effective (shock the audience at the opening!), but if it becomes a performance tradition replicated by all it looses its novelty.
And here's another tradition that I sometimes hear and which still irks me a little: in the very opening of Ravel's Scarbo, a lot of pianists establish a rather slow tempo, and then play those damn repeated notes as fast as possible, at a tempo completely unrelated to the established tempo. I know there are some early recordings of Scarbo made by friends of Ravel, so I should perhaps check those out and see if this particular tradition goes back that far.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#527251 - 11/30/07 10:27 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i'm always surprised when mr. teacher or mrs. director request that i play everything as written in it's proper context... altho i do a fair amount of enhancement improvisation for mrs. director.

it seems very natural to me to adapt the music to my smaller hands or add a little oomph.

one of my biggest regrets is that Bach did not have the opportunity to play his music on the grands of today.. he would have had so much fun, and with a sustaining pedal and the wonderful bass notes available, most likely would have written some of his music differently. in the privacy of my home, and even sometimes in public i make imaginary accomodations. i certainly do not attempt to make my piano sound like a tinkly harpsichord.

i haven't been struck by lightening yet.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#527252 - 11/30/07 11:46 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Jeff135 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/05
Posts: 912
Loc: Oregon
Hes, he likely would have used pedal.

But then again, if Bach was alive today, would his pieces be remotely the same? As I stated before, much of Bach's composing style for the keyboard was done due to the style of the period, likely influenced by the instruments they had then.

I believe that had he been alive in the 20th century his music would have turned out a lot like the more modern composers such as Messiaen or Ginastera. You cannot use that argument to say "it's outdated." No, it was written in a certain style during a certain time period for certain instrumets, and I can't really think of any way that changing the style so drastically would do any good.

No, you should not mimic a harpsichord, but one must keep in mind why the piece was composed a certain way. Bach wrote his music the way he did to accomodate the limits that the Harpsichord presented which is why it has been accepted generally to make it sound detatched.

We have a full grand piano now with a wide capability for different textures and dynamics. But to say that because we have modern instruments and improved ones doesn't mean we should modernize Bach because nobody knows HOW he would have composed if he had a full sized grand piano. Chances are, it would not be anything like the Bach we know today.
_________________________
The clown is watching you.

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#527253 - 11/30/07 12:39 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
Just to note something...

I was pondering about this thread, when I was driving in London and I was listening th classic fm (shame on me, I know! :p ) Thing is that they played a butchered version of Rachmaninov's variations to the theme of Paganini (the well known piece). They played variation No. 17? 18? Something like that.

Then they played 2nd movement from Dvorak Symphony No. 9!!!!!!

I felt really weird and ****ed of as well!

Imagine we are having trouble with changing 1 dynamic and these people beep off the masterpieces!

After that, I was honestly thinking that I probably have every right to do whatever I want with music... (<-not really serious but I am really feeling bad about classic fm, although I do understand the reasons they do it)
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#527254 - 11/30/07 01:47 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Herein may be the answer to SAM's query, WHY?

Tomasino quoting himself above:

"The rationale? I don't hear one in this thread. I'm a traditionalist myself, and feel that there is value in maintaining a tradition. Perhaps a rationale can be found in that idea."

Just after I posted that, I recalled an essay by T.S. Ellit entitled "Tradition and the Individual Talent." This essay gives some heft and rationale to my point of view: that it is a good thing to pay attention to a composer's intent--as best it can be determined--and to pay some heed to the performance practices of the past; And why it is not OK to simply ignore the traditions of classical music, be it substituting an F for a P, playing a passage way too fast, or playing Schubert's Impromptu #3, opus 90, in G major because it's easier than G flat major.

What follows is not Elliot's intact essay, but Wikipedia's reduction of it. The essay is about poetry, but it certainly appllies to all artistic endeavor.

Here we go:

"For Eliot, the term “tradition” is imbued with a special and complex character. It represents a “simultaneous order,” by which Eliot means a historical timelessness – a fusion of past and present – and, at the same time, a sense of present temporality. A poet must embody “the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer,” while, simultaneously, expressing his contemporary environment. Eliot challenges our common perception that a poet’s greatness and individuality lies in his departure from his predecessors. Rather, Eliot argues that “the most individual parts of his (the poet) work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously.” Eliot claims that this "historical sense," that is, not only a resemblance to traditional works, but an awareness and understanding of their relation to his poetry.

But, this fidelity to tradition does not require the great poet to forfeit novelty in an act of surrender to repetition. Rather, Eliot has a much more dynamic and progressive conception of the poetic process. Novelty is possible, and only possible, through tapping into tradition. When a poet engages in the creation of new work, he realizes an aesthetic “ideal order,” as it has been established by the literary tradition that has come before him. As such, the act of artistic creation does not take place in a vacuum. The introduction of a new work alters the cohesion of this existing order, and causes a readjustment of the old in order to accommodate the new. Thus, the inclusion of the new work alters the way in which the past is seen, elements of the past that are noted and realized. In Eliot’s own words: “What happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art that preceded it.” Eliot refers to this organic tradition, this developing canon, as the “mind of Europe.” The private mind is subsumed by this more massive one.

This leads to Eliot’s so-called "Impersonal Theory" of poetry. Since the poet engages in a “continual surrender of himself” to the vast order of tradition, artistic creation is a process of depersonalization. The mature poet is viewed as a medium, through which tradition is channeled and elaborated. He compares the poet to a catalyst in a chemical reaction, in which the reactants are feelings and emotions that are synthesized to create an artistic image that captures and relays these same feelings and emotions. While the mind of the poet is necessary for the production, it emerges unaffected by the process. The artist stores feelings and emotions and properly unites them into a specific combination, which is the artistic product. What lends greatness to a work of art is not the feelings and emotions themselves, but the nature of the artistic process by which they are synthesized. The artist is responsible for creating “the pressure, so to speak, under which the fusion takes place.” And, it is the intensity of fusion that renders art great. In this view, Eliot rejects the theory that art expresses metaphysical unity in the soul of the poet. The poet is a depersonalized vessel, a mere medium.

Great works do not express the personal emotion of the poet. The poet does not reveal his own unique and novel emotions, but rather, by drawing on ordinary ones and channeling them through the intensity of poetry, he expresses feelings that surpass, altogether, experienced emotion. This is what Eliot intends when he discusses poetry as an “escape from emotion.” Since successful poetry is impersonal and, therefore, exists independent of its poet, it outlives the poet and can incorporate into the timeless “ideal order” of the “living” literary tradition.
Another essay found in Selected Essays relates to this notion of the impersonal poet. In “Hamlet and His Problems” Eliot presents the phrase “objective correlative.” The theory is that the expression of emotion in art can be achieved by a specific, and almost formulaic, prescription of a set of objects, including events and situations. A particular emotion is created by presenting its correlated objective sign. The author is depersonalized in this conception, since he is the mere effecter of the sign. And, it is the sign, and not the poet, which creates emotion.

Despite the title of the essay, Eliot never directly mentions the word talent in the entirety of the essay. Instead, he seems to focus solely on the “tradition” aspect of his essay. This implies that the “Individual Talent” mentioned here is not what is conventionally considered to be talent, but instead, in Eliot’s definition, it is in fact the ability to connect with Tradition (Eliot’s definition), and create something which has the merit to become a part of it.

The implications here separates Eliot’s idea of talent from the conventional definition (just as his idea of Tradition is separate from the conventional definition), one so far from it, perhaps, that he chooses never to directly label it as talent. Whereas the conventional definition of talent, especially in the arts, is a genius that one is born with. Not so for Eliot. Instead, talent is acquired through a careful study of poetry, claiming that Tradition, “cannot be inherited, and if you want it, you must obtain it by great labour.” Eliot asserts that it is absolutely necessary for the poet to be studied, to have an understanding of the poets before him, and to be well versed enough that he can understand and incorporate the “mind of Europe” into his poetry. But the poet’s study is unique – it is knowledge which “does not encroach,” and which does not “deaden or pervert poetic sensibility.” It is, to put it most simply, a poetic knowledge – knowledge observed through a poetic lens. This ideal implies that knowledge gleaned by a poet is not knowledge of facts, but knowledge which leads to a greater understanding of the mind of Europe. As Eliot explains, “Shakespeare acquired more essential history from Plutarch than most men could from the whole British Museum.”"
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#527255 - 11/30/07 02:29 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Witold Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/07
Posts: 128
 Quote:
Originally posted by Nikolas:
I was pondering about this thread, when I was driving in London and I was listening th classic fm (shame on me, I know! :p ) Thing is that they played a butchered version of Rachmaninov's variations to the theme of Paganini (the well known piece). They played variation No. 17? 18? Something like that.

Then they played 2nd movement from Dvorak Symphony No. 9!!!!!![/b]
I've heard that back in Beethoven's days, it wasn't at all uncommon to add some small easy listening pieces between the movements of symphonies or concertos, just to make the listening experience a little less heavy. Also, Liszt regularly performed only the last three movements of his transcription of Beethoven's 6th in his recitals. Guess those were the most effective movements, the movements that the audience wanted to hear. If classic fm wishes to play only part of a work, that's fine with me. But I do hate those "best of" CD's that don't feature a single whole work, only single movements from larger works.

The issue discussed here is quite complicated. Of course, the text should be respected, but I also think the performer should be allowed some personal freedom. I actually find it quite refreshing when someone takes a new approach to an old work. Of course, Mozart always sounds good if you play it well according to the tradition, but that's not necessarily the only way it can be fascinating music. To appreciate the beauty in an alternative interpretation, the listeners must be able to switch of their sence of tradition and listen to the performance as it is, not in comparison to what they are used to hearing, a feat many classical musicians aren't capable of. This is why there are so many performers who are hailed by the masses but despised among other classically trained musicians.

Personally, I don't understand why there must be so much anger towards anyone who makes something a bit different. There is already millions of pianists who perform classical music the traditional way, why shouldn't a few be allowed to something else? The totalitarianism that seems to be the goal of many people (not refering to anyone in particular on this forum, but I'm sure you all know the "play it right or don't play at all"-people) is certainly not healthy for classical music as an art form. All forms of art depend on artistic freedom. Performing music is an art form, therefore nothing should be forbidden. The art of the actual compositions was created a long time ago and it already exists in the form of sheet music and often hundreds of recordings, and this work of art does not suffer any great damage from being treated differently at some occasion.

So what about respecting the composers intentions? How many directors respect Shakespeare by trying to put up authentic performances? Are those who don't strive for authenticity violating Shakespeare? The difference between music and drama is of course that the essential message is easier to find in Shakespeare. Therefore it's easier to alter it greatly while still preserving the essentials. I guess this is why we allow the great masters more freedom, they can understand the music and they can understand the impact of their changes. Students should of course study the music exactly as written. It's a bit like learning to compose, only when you are very fluent in the rules of voice leading, you can start learning how to break them.

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#527256 - 11/30/07 03:36 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
calpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 146
Loc: California
 Quote:
Originally posted by Janus Sachs:
One reason is the slippery slope -- if we start changing the score one way or another, and those changes accumulate, over time the piece will certainly become a completely different monster from what the composer intended. One of the wonderful things about the original instruments movement is that the interpreters would often try to get rid of some of these awful traditions, such as the re-orchestrations of Beethoven symphonies (some of which are still done, alas!) and reveal something which hasn't been heard in centuries -- and arguably something closer to the thing itself.
Another is that, since the composers are dead and we can't hold seances, any guess on what alterations the composer might approve of would be guesses at best and presumptuous at worst. So follow the sources (the score, composer approved alterations, etc.). We know Mahler altered his own scores (even structurally!) to suit particular performance venues, but can we say what alterations (if any) he would do for a venue he never performed in?
Of course, changes can be made can be very effective if done tastefully, however that opens up the floor for tasteless alterations, and of course there is no guarantee that performers will have taste to begin with. So if in doubt, go back to the score.
Honestly, "why" is of course the hardest question to answer, if it is at all answerable. The integrity of a piece of music is embodied in the score and how the composer/period expected it to be realized. I'm really not convinced you can be convinced otherwise, pianojerome. So, please go ahead, change dynamics, registers, add cadenzas, and play like a drunken sailor. And put those mustaches on the Mona Lisa. [/b]
If a performer knows what he's doing then I see no reason why he shouldn't do it, if it ends up being a good interpretation. Saying that performers shouldn't make their own interpretations because it opens up the floor for tasteless interpretations is like saying that composers should never write music because it opens up the possibility of tasteless music coming into existence. We wouldn't be close to where we are right now.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Janus Sachs:
one thing for sure is that any changes to the score must be made with a thorough knowledge of the work, the composer, the period, performance practice of the composer/period, etc. to help increase the chances of any alterations being "tasteful", that intangible which cannot be pinned down but which must be present, or at least attempted. [/b]
I agree with that better. And it is certainly not impossible to study a work thoroughly. Also I for one think that music is written to be expressed. If the composer writes some detail in his music and not one performer or listener, even after thorough studying, picks it up, it might as well not be there.

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#527257 - 11/30/07 06:04 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
To me, this seems to revolve around issues about what the composition is and what the performance is. My attitude about it is basically the most radical option: the performer is free to do anything at all with a score. The score still remains intact for other performers and score-readers, so essentially, no score is harmed, whether the performer changes it a little or a lot. And anyway, the whole worshipping-of-the-score thing is a fairly recent development in music history (even though composers have always complained about what performers do).

But even if I think performers are completely free to do whatever they want (and how are you going to stop them if you don't agree?), I don't automatically think it's a good thing for every performer to stray far from the score. There are all sorts of issues of taste, context, the performer's musicality, etc. that enter into the picture. All sorts of performance can appeal to me, though, from the most straitlaced score-honoring one to the most I-just-gotta-be-me type that essentially is an improvisation on what's written. I don't see the point of deciding that one way is the only way.

wr

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#527258 - 11/30/07 07:38 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by wr:
(and how are you going to stop them if you don't agree?) [/b]
I could see a Piano Police existing in the near future. \:D
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#527259 - 11/30/07 11:08 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
TheMadMan86 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 341
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
 Quote:
Originally posted by Loki:
 Quote:
Originally posted by wr:
(and how are you going to stop them if you don't agree?) [/b]
I could see a Piano Police existing in the near future. \:D [/b]
Ahh piano big brother. Always watching. Maybe there should be some Piano rebels out against the man?

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#527260 - 12/01/07 01:38 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by TheMadMan86:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Loki:
 Quote:
Originally posted by wr:
(and how are you going to stop them if you don't agree?) [/b]
I could see a Piano Police existing in the near future. \:D [/b]
Ahh piano big brother. Always watching. Maybe there should be some Piano rebels out against the man? [/b]
I could see the piano rebels, locking themselves away in a concert hall, waiting for the piano police to storm the hall, putting up one last stand...
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#527261 - 12/01/07 02:32 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
 Quote:
Originally posted by Loki:
 Quote:
Originally posted by TheMadMan86:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Loki:
quote:
Originally posted by wr:
(and how are you going to stop them if you don't agree?) [/b]
I could see a Piano Police existing in the near future. \:D [/b]
Ahh piano big brother. Always watching. Maybe there should be some Piano rebels out against the man? [/b]
I could see the piano rebels, locking themselves away in a concert hall, waiting for the piano police to storm the hall, putting up one last stand...
...While playing as LOUD as possible and as FAST as possible the 1st movement of Beethoven's Moonlight sonata!
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#527262 - 12/01/07 08:29 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
TheMadMan86 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 341
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
 Quote:
Originally posted by Nikolas:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Loki:
 Quote:
Originally posted by TheMadMan86:
quote:
Originally posted by Loki:
quote:
Originally posted by wr:
(and how are you going to stop them if you don't agree?) [/b]
I could see a Piano Police existing in the near future. \:D [/b]
Ahh piano big brother. Always watching. Maybe there should be some Piano rebels out against the man? [/b]
I could see the piano rebels, locking themselves away in a concert hall, waiting for the piano police to storm the hall, putting up one last stand...
...While playing as LOUD as possible and as FAST as possible the 1st movement of Beethoven's Moonlight sonata!

Just remember, in the end, there can be only one!*insert queen music on piano here*

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#527263 - 12/01/07 08:29 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
hopinmad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 1001
Loc: Eryri/Manchester
By changing the score because one thinks it would sound better thus is dangerous as the thinking it's better thus is probably a result of not understanding the composer's intentions.
_________________________
Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin

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#527264 - 12/01/07 09:25 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
I'm dissappointed in the lack of response to my last post above, in which I posted a summation of T. S. Elliot's essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent."

It bears very much on this thread, and offers a new and fully articulated perspective on this subject.

It's long, I admit, and maybe a difficult read--but it's worth it.

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


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#527265 - 12/01/07 01:23 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
Pianists presuming to "improve" a composer's original works are the epitome of arrogance in my opinion; they are indicative of the increasingly self-centered society in which we live.

It seems to me these pianists want more of the limelight, to show how equal they are to the composer (or worse, how much better they are than the composer).

The cold fact is: one hundred years from now people will still be discussing these composers, whereas an exceedingly few concert pianists will be remembered. If you want the lion's share of history's limelight, you might as well start composing!

As a disclaimer I will admit that as an accompanist I occasionally modify a score to suit the situation - however these are most often orchestral reductions, which are only approximations of the composer's intentions.

When I do play a solo composition all of my experience is brought to bear in delivering the most faithful rendition of what I understand the composer's intentions to be. This takes much study and preparation.

Any artist naturally brings their own personality to a performance - it almost cannot be helped. But respect is shown when the pianist excercises restraint in deference to the composer.

A virtuoso might choose certain works which allow them a little more leeway to show off their talents.

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
1. There is no risk of offending the composer. (if that is an important concern) Mendelssohn is dead, so he won't know how Horowitz played his Variations Serieuses ending.
No risk of offending dead composers? Can any of us be so sure about that?! ;\)

Much better to honor the dead, to whom we owe so much.
_________________________
Grotrian 225
S&S Hamburg-C
M&H "A" at home

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#527266 - 12/01/07 02:01 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
 Quote:
Originally posted by tomasino:
I'm dissappointed in the lack of response to my last post above, in which I posted a summation of T. S. Elliot's essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent."[/b]
It happens to me all the time, don't worry! \:D \:D \:D \:D \:D \:D (of course this is a joke).

I can't say that it bears a lot with this thread though, because the issue here is not the poets (which in music's case would be the composers, right?) but the performers (in which there is no equivelant in poetry, not in such manner as performers are here).

I found this essay and these ideas highly interesting however. I do think that I agree that one has every last drop of tradition inside (from Homer to today) and goes on being contemporary however. It is exactly what I've been blabbering about to young composers, who only wish to stick to strict tonality... (but this, again, is totally off topic, which I am SO used to doing so many times)

On the matter at hand, something, which I don't think has been brought up yet:

We are all talking about solo performances right? Cause otherwise a solist in a concerto would seriously be in trouble, was (s)he not following the score "exactly". And to contrary to what some people may think (not in here, but in general), it's not that the pianist will walk in the room and state what he wants to do and the orchestra + conductor will follow.

In such cases one needs to follow the score, right? Actually in any case with more than 1 performer all performers need to follow the score. Of course in chamber music they can all agree to some issues, and in orcehstral music, they all follow what the conductor says. But I wouldn't image that the parts would read "FF" and the conductor would ask for a "p" instead...
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#527267 - 12/01/07 04:44 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nikolas,

Of course there is an equivalence to performers. Don't performers work in a "tradition" of performance practice? This essay has everything to do with this thread. Simply substitute the word "artist" for "poet," and you'll see that T. S. Eliot's essay encompasses all traditiions, from pottery making to performance art, and certainly has everything to do with the subject at hand.

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


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#527268 - 12/02/07 07:31 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
 Quote:
Originally posted by whippen boy:
Pianists presuming to "improve" a composer's original works are the epitome of arrogance in my opinion; they are indicative of the increasingly self-centered society in which we live.

[/b]
Ummm, how can it be indicative of the increasingly self-centered society in which we live when in fact it was much more common in times past? For example, I don't know of any pianist today who messes with the ending of Liszt's La Leggierezza, but long ago pianists frequently played a different loud and flashy ending to that etude composed by someone else (I forget the name right now, but it was some famous pianist).

I think that in general performance today is extremely chaste and rather depressingly puritanical, compared to the times in which much of the music we play was written. Where's our modern equivalent of Dreyshock playing the Chopin Revolutionary etude with the left hand in octaves? Or, for that matter, Brahms' version in sixths of another Chopin etude? Or all those concerts where it was considered okay to play just one movement of a multi-movement work? And the thing that is important to remember is that composers prior to our current composer-centric era actually expected that their music would as likely as not be subject to all sort of changes by performers and might be "repurposed" in any way a performer could think of. After all, in the 19th century, there was a whole industry of composers creating piano works out of other composers' operatic output, and that's a pretty major departure from "composer intent", jumping from vocal and orchestral stage productions to parlor piano, but I don't think many composers complained. And I dare say most composers from that time would be utterly flabbergasted at the kind of reverential attitude towards scores that is currently in vogue.

wr

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#527269 - 12/02/07 08:03 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
Hi wr,

Just to add that the cadenza prior to Beethoven pretty much was... an imporvisation from the pianist (not many written cadenzas for Mozarts concertos as far as I know, and certainly not from the composer himself).

This has eclipsed and it is a pity, but then again contemporary classical music has moved so much further than I would imagine it being difficult to temper with it, even on the fly.

(i'm cursed to being right in the middle and not having a much biased opinion for myself... ah well).

What is interesting is that "classical music" (concert hall music) takes up a small part of music today. Nobody will mind covering... Radiohead or eminem and doing whatever you wish. It's been done repeatadely. Things are NOT so bad then.
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#527270 - 12/02/07 01:06 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Cultor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/07
Posts: 342
Loc: BsAs
 Quote:
Originally posted by tomasino:
I'm dissappointed in the lack of response to my last post above, in which I posted a summation of T. S. Elliot's essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent."

It bears very much on this thread, and offers a new and fully articulated perspective on this subject.

It's long, I admit, and maybe a difficult read--but it's worth it.

Tomasino [/b]
I did certainly read your quotes Tomasino, and thank you very much for posting them. In fact, I feel it's the most revealing group of ideas of this thread because it face us to the troubles of art, individuality, life, time, tradition and uses.
I'm coming back to the forum, because I feel I have a couple of things to say about this theme.

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#527271 - 12/02/07 01:08 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Cultor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/07
Posts: 342
Loc: BsAs
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cultor:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by tomasino:
[qb] I'm dissappointed in the lack of response to my last post above, in which I posted a summation of T. S. Elliot's essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent."

It bears very much on this thread, and offers a new and fully articulated perspective on this subject.

It's long, I admit, and maybe a difficult read--but it's worth it.

Tomasino [/b]
I did certainly read your Eliot's quote Tomasino, and thank you very much for posting it. In fact, I feel it's the most revealing group of ideas of this thread because it face us to the troubles of art, individuality, life, time, tradition and uses.
I'm coming back to the forum, because I feel I have a couple of things to say about this topic.

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#527272 - 12/02/07 01:08 PM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Cultor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/07
Posts: 342
Loc: BsAs
Double post. Sorry.

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#527273 - 12/03/07 10:57 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
Cultor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/07
Posts: 342
Loc: BsAs
Some spare thoughts on persons, time, context, music nature and the burden of traditions.[/b]

We can find three persons or music protagonists in the musical communicative process:

The composer.
The interpreter.
The listener.

And we deal with several correspondent historical, social and contextual times:

The time and context in which the composer composed the work.
The time and context in which the interpreter interprets.
The time and context in which the listener hears the piece.

These times and contexts do not always coincide.
When I say context, I mean that each moment of human history brings it’s own uses, it’s own way of doing the things and perceiving and representing the reality. We modulate our individual perceptions accordingly our contemporary time context and it’s usually difficult, if not impossible, to completely escape from it.
One way of considering tradition is as the historic weight and inertia of certain human uses. May times we feel it as a burden that pushes us to advance to the future but looking backwards. It’s reserved for the brave, or the irresponsible, to truly depart from traditions. We feel protected by traditions because they gives us a direction, a sense and relates us with the past from where we come.

Then it happens that the music is a very spiritual art which is represented by a score, a reasonably precise written representation of sounds. Changing the old uses and interpreting the music in a new way will not harm the original score, something that don’t happen with other forms of art, like painting or sculpture. I mean, if we brake La Pietá into tiny pieces of marble, besides changing the original meaning, we change for ever the original form. Of course for doing such we may certainly be jailed. Not so with the music. Music nature is spiritual and, as an art of time and memory, is newborn each time it’s performed and listened. No risks to ruin the score. Just the actual performing.

Another important fact is that music lives by itself. Many times the composer (as noted by Eliot) impersonates his epoch and re-presents it musically becoming the vehicle of higher and bigger social energies. Music has it’s own embedded tempos and dynamics, an existence of it’s own, intimately related to the time and the context in which it was created. A simple example: we can’t change the dynamics of the opening piano solo in the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto N° 23. It would be ridiculous to play those initial bars fff[/b] because the music itself (minor tonality, sad mood, loneliness of the piano solo, insisting pulse over a pastoral elegiac tempo, etc.) asks to be played p[/b].

So, abruptly departing from traditions or breaking the nature of music figures and themes is possible but extremely dangerous. When we change some music parameter we change the meaning, superimposing our own contemporary and personal times and meanings.
Of course its factible; we are free persons. I remember hearing a huge symphonic piece, very extended and chaotic, from a German composer, in which small fragments of Mozart music appeared here and there totally out of context. It was like seeing rests of some famous monument after a devastating nuclear war and you ended up feeling somewhat sad for all that was lost. Interesting. Mozart’s music, although rooted in old and venerable traditions was manipulated at the cost of breaking the temporal, historical and contextual original figurations and thus depriving it from its former sense. It was used. Well used, I must accept.

That’s an extreme example of deconstruction, I know. To constrain this subject to the more punctual problem of interpreting a piece of music, I would say that the weight of traditions (time, uses, historic inertia, contextual influences, etc.) added to the embodied meaning of the music “creature” both create a force, a very difficult and dangerous to change driving vector. Can we do it; can we twist the music form? Yes, we can. What for? May be to use it as a quote, to add something else to others music, to say something personal and contemporary, etc. Is it worth? Why not? It depends on our intention.

What I finally think is that nothing in art should be the result of just individual whims. We can change or even deny our traditions if we want, but it’s better to do it with a precise and exhaustive knowledge of what we are doing, why we are doing it and the risks we run when we do it. After all those are family jewels.

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#527274 - 12/06/07 06:16 AM Re: Hello, Mr. Composer. I'm going to overthrow you now, if you don't mind.
emopiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/03/07
Posts: 18
Loc: Botswana
No, with Pianojerome.

Yes, many of the composers are dead. The piece, however, is not. The piece was written with an intention, a thought and an emotion. A performer should bring out that in their own way. However, radical changes for the hell of it is not something that should be done.

this i agree with...
yea jeff you are pretty right there
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Go emo
Play piano
hail chopin and liszt
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