Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Historic AwarenessA lot of nonsense is talked about cleaning away the dirt of “romant

  1. #1
    Recruit, Pianissimo
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    13

    Historic AwarenessA lot of nonsense is talked about cleaning away the dirt of “romant

    A lot of nonsense is talked, it seems to me, about cleaning away the dirt of “romantic” performances. It sounds like Mr. Slope in the Barchester Chronicles, “Throwing away the useless rubbish of past generations”. Some musicians are much better at self-publicity than at seeking an artistic truth out of devotion to the music. A performance of Brahms will be given without using vibrato, not because this will give us a new appreciation of Brahms, or forms part of a many-faceted attempt at “historically aware” performance, but because this isolated notion sounds impressive. I fully expect somebody to advertize a performance as employing portamento. (I rather wish this would happen.)

    The trouble with cleaning away is that it can lead to sterility. There are performers of whom it might be said could not touch anything so sordid as human emotion. Indeed there are many musicians regarded as “great”, who look at the music (I’m thinking of some one like Pollini) rather than through it (such as Furtwängler or Schnabel)

    If you take the trouble to study 19th-Century performance even superficially, you soon discover that composers and performers were anxious to obtain clarity. When you listen to, say, Klemperer or Furtwängler, every note is heard (because the strings are not allowed to be too loud and thus drown the winds, for example).

    Let’s be content that not even every piece of (say) Buxtehude sounds its best on every “Buxtehude” organ. I accept that an instrument built on 18th-Century lines will play most 18th-Century music very well, and will also be more than adequate for quite a lot of nineteenth-century music. A lot of nonsense is talked about cleaning away the dirt of “romantic” performances. It sounds like Mr. Slope, “Throwing away the useless rubbish of past generations”. If you take the trouble to study 19th-Century performance even superficially, you soon discover that composers and performers were anxious to obtain clarity. When you listen to, say, Klemperer or Furtwängler, every note is heard (because the strings are not allowed to be too loud and thus drown the winds, for example).

    All you have to do to play romantic music on a classical organ is to register the music in the appropriate manner. So, for example, you double your Principals and Flutes at the same pitches for Franck and couple the manuals, and you get a satsfactory approximation of that rich romantic sound the music demands.

    It is the music that comes first (in my opinion). In the UK we have worked wonders in making life as comfortable as possible for organists. Our instruments are a delight to control, with everything in easy reach. On the continent, some of the finest instruments force you to adopt the most uncomfortable posture, my favourite example being the Piaristenkirche Maria Treu in Vienna. You’ll be in agony, though you will have had a wonderful experience of playing Brahms!

  2. #2
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Nu Zeln
    Posts
    4,962
    I take your point about the strings being too loud I heard our own NZSO perform Beethovens 5th at my local venue and it was as if I was listening for the first time conductor Pietari Inkinen must have done as you suggest because the wind section could be heard and it sounded wonderful.
    I don’t want a signature any more

Similar Threads

  1. Old comedy and nonsense songs
    By Dorsetmike in forum General Music Debate Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Jul-17-2013, 23:00
  2. Nonsense Rhymes
    By Dorsetmike in forum Forum Games
    Replies: 148
    Last Post: Jul-02-2012, 19:02
  3. ancient historic pictures
    By methodistgirl in forum Community Center and Chat Forum
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: Jul-03-2008, 02:35
  4. A historic little scene!
    By acc in forum Pipe Organ Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Dec-13-2007, 00:24
  5. DRM Nonsense
    By Samael in forum Community Center and Chat Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Feb-06-2007, 09:35

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •