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Thread: Period music, period instruments.

  1. #1
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    Period music, period instruments.

    Leading off from a thread in the pipe organ forum, should music from a particular period be played on instruments from that period where ever possible.

    Example, to my ear Scarlatti sonatas should be played on harpsichord (or spinet) never piano, conversely The Moonlight sonata would not sound right on a harpsichord.

    Some orchestral works however probably do benefit from modern instruments. I'm only a listener, not a performer, though; what are the opinions here?
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

  2. #2
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Aloha mike,

    As an organist w/ piano proficiency I love taking piano, harpsichord, spinet, lautenwerk or other keyboard music and adapting it for organ. Of course, it is important to know about the composer, for what occasion he wrote the piece for or if it was as study material for developing technique or as a part of piano literature for the canon of works, ergo, a contribution to the wealth of keyboard literature.

    Imho, a piano work adapted for organ has to be registered differently than a work composed for organ - as an example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axop6...related&fmt=18

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=depTl...related&fmt=18

    The above examples of Liszt's piano music being successfully and terrifically adapted for organ.

    I love playing Scarlatti, Clementi, and Mozart piano sonatas on organ - I just have to really exercise care and thoroughness in how I plan my registrations and if I will use different divisions on the organ to bring out nuances that will not be readily apparent if I played the piano piece only on one manual.

    Hope this helps...

    Cheerio,

    CD
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  3. #3
    Commander, Assistant Conductor mathetes1963's Avatar
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    I'm no purist by any means, but I do think there is something to be said for trying to honor the composer's original intent, which includes using the instrumental medium or performance practices available to that composer. So, yes, I do often prefer "period" style or HIPs (Historically Informed Performances) for classical music. Conversely, I also think that no matter how much data we have at our disposal to render the music "authentically"- whatever that means- the fact remains that anything other than Bach playing Bach, Chopin playing Chopin, etc. amounts to an interpretation anyway. I think most of these people would be amazed just to know that their music was being played today at all, regardless of the instrumental medium. I wonder if Bach, for example, would really be offended by the permutations that have been imposed on the notes he wrote (Stokowski or Wendy Carlos, anyone?), given the exposure such arrangements have given his music.

    For me, I suppose my criteria would first be musicality -subject of course to one's own preferences/prejudices- and then "authenticity", also a very subjective experience.

    That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it...

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    Here's a beautiful Italian zither I just love to listen and watch. Here's
    the video.YouTube - THE SOUND OF SILENCE Salterio by Fabio Sbrizzi of BIOnigT
    judy tooley

  5. #5
    Commodore con Forza Tûrwethiel's Avatar
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    I'm afraid it depends on my mood. Sometimes the lush and slow approach of a big orchestra of modern instruments is just what I want and other times it's Mr Eliot Gardiner or nothing.

    Cheers

    Vicki

  6. #6
    Commander, Assistant Conductor mathetes1963's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tûrwethiel View Post
    I'm afraid it depends on my mood. Sometimes the lush and slow approach of a big orchestra of modern instruments is just what I want and other times it's Mr Eliot Gardiner or nothing.

    Cheers

    Vicki
    Hmm...I think you said the same thing I did using too many words!

  7. #7
    Commodore con Forza
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    From a historical perspective, composers of various times have composed with then-current instruments in mind. Mozart and Haydn didn't compose with the New York Philharmonic in mind, but rather with what we would now call a chamber orchestra. Buxtehude and Bach didn't have St. Sulpice or Wanamaker to romp on.

    For the purposes of recordings, probably performers are justified in using instruments as close to the original article as possible. But does that mean that Bach, Franck, or Widor can't be played in the Mormon Tabernacle? Of course not.

    There are no recordings of those composers, so we can only guess how they themselves would have played their music, particular in terms of tempi and nuances of interpretation. And, as mentioned above, a lot of them may have never guessed that their music would be played decades and centuries later.

  8. #8
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Aloha dll927,

    Thanks for your input. I used to think that one should only play JSBach on a period instrument or a reasonable facsimile of it. I'm glad that I was disabused of that notion long ago. Yes, musicians can and will be justified on performing music on period instruments. Nothing wrong in that mind you. But I have too often run into those who are dogmatic in their approach to JSBach - Either period instruments or no performance.

    It is silly to be so reactionary. However, I can enjoy listening to period instrument interpretations of JSBach very much. But personally, I'd rather perform on instruments by CC and the Symphonic School of Organbuilding which CC basically and singlehandedly started and the Wanamaker. Of course, I have other favorite builders - Hey, the Wurlitzer at Radio City Musical Hall and the machine at the Jasper Sanfilippo Mansion would be nice to have to play on daily.

    Cheerio,

    CD
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  9. #9
    Commodore con Forza
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    There are stories that Marie-Claire Alain, probably the champion of all recording organists, spends considerable time deciding on which organs to play certain music on. That is well and good, -- she is making recordings. But for most of us, especially in the U. S., that would be a very limiting approach.

    Speaking of whom, that dear lady must be well up in her 80's by now. I think she was born in something like 1926. More power to her. And she claims that she never listens to her own recordings!!

  10. #10
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dll927 View Post
    . . . Speaking of whom, that dear lady must be well up in her 80's by now. I think she was born in something like 1926. More power to her. And she claims that she never listens to her own recordings!!
    Spot on ... she was born on August 10, 1926, for trivia seekers
    Kh ~~.
    Administrator


    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
    Pro
    fessional musicians practice until they can't get it wrong ...


  11. #11
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    One of the former organists of St. John the Divine in New York, David Pizzaro, who was a pupil of Marcel Dupre never listened to Organ recordings at all. He was quite a fascinating gentleman. He looked like a twin brother of Karl Marx - Man, the fellow could really play circles around most organists.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  12. #12
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    Here's a version of Greensleeves you might be interested in. This is
    a hammered dulcimer.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_Imh...eature=related
    judy tooley

  13. #13
    Admiral Maestoso marval's Avatar
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    Thank you for that Judy.


    Margaret

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