Hi from a new member

Thomas Dressler

New member
Just saying hello. I joined the forums and then was immediately distracted by the devastation here in the south. It's been difficult to concentrate on much else, but I'm trying to get back to doing normal things. So here I am!

I'm an organist/harpsichordist with a strong interest in early classical music (music written before 1750) but I have a lively interest in most music written before the 20th century. (And some interest in 20th century music, but I especially like older music.) My interest lies in trying to determine how the old composers really intended to hear their music, and playing it that way rather than with modern "improvements." Sometimes it's quite difficult to determine what they really had in mind, but it's always interesting to try.

Besides being an organist/harpsichordist, other instruments interest me because you often learn things you can apply to your own instrument by studying others.

I just thought I'd say a quick hello, and that I like the international flavor of this forum. I'm looking forward to getting to know some of you!

Tom Dressler
 

Jette

Rear Admiral of O Theatre & the 4 - 1 + a few more
Hi Thomas/Tom

Welcome to MIMF
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I hope you will like it here and I´m looking forward to seeing you around the forum
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Jette
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corno

Vice Admiral of Notes, Dots & at times also Slurs
Hi Tom,

Welcome aboard!
Interesting interests you have there. - What do you hope to gain in the knowledge about how music was performed in "times long since passed"? The "rise" of the Orchestra of the Age og Enlighthenment and similar "original/periode instrument players/groups" over the past years have sparked some interest into the field of musical reception/perception and while also amateur/semipro groups have attempted performance of classical works on period instruments I've rarely been inspired by the performances other than the quaint sound coming from these instruments (especially the oboes and clarinets, which are somewhat weaker in sound than today's instruments) when being played by a non pro. But then again periode performances are not only about the (copies of) old instruments but also the phrasing, tempo and in pre 1750 music the ornaments in particular. Interesting field... no doubt, but I've yet to discover the real reason in this historical pursuit other than the satisfaction in the knowledge of how things did sound, or how we think it sounded.

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Thomas
 

Rune Vejby

Commodore of Water Music
Hi Thomas,


Welcome!
So nice to see a fellow classical musician here on the forums
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I'm looking forward to some interesting discussions with you!
 

Frederik Magle

Administrator
Staff member
Welcome Tom!
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I'm very glad to have you aboard and looking forward to read your take on early (and not so early) music, pipe organs and other topics.
Hope you will find yourself at home here on Magle International Music Forums
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Best regards
Frederik
 

Thomas Dressler

New member
Thanks for all the hellos!

I thought I'd make a quick response to the other Thomas' questions about early music performance. You'll find out soon enough that historically informed performance is something I'm very passionate about!
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There are a couple things I could say regarding the things you mentioned. First is that, yes, I believe there have been quite a few less than inspired performances on period instruments. From having spent many years with people who do this, I know there are some who are more concerned with technique than inspiring musicianship. But I think there's more to it than just that. There are plenty of people performing in historic styles who are very strong musicians. And there are plenty of boring performers who play modern instruments.

Let me say here that I was about 18 when I became interested in period performing styles, and the reason I got so excited about it was that to me, the music became more vivid and made more sense. I remember the recordings out in the 1970s of, say, Haydn symphonies or string quartets were painful to me. I thought I just didn't like the music. But when I heard period performances of it, I realized it was the performances I didn't like. To me, using modern performing styles for old music is like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. It just doesn't fit. And from years of performing this way, I feel it is more expressive, and more emotionally fulfilling. It's not just about hearing quaint sounds, but about swimming with the musical current rather than trying to paddle upstream.

Another thing which needs to be taken into account is the tendency of people to not like what they're not familiar with. This was especially true 20 years ago when period performances were still a bit unusual. Nowadays it doesn't sound so strange to people. We need to remember that music is NOT a universal language, or at least musical style is not universal. A person may be very fluent in one style but not understand when first hearing another style. And in classical music, this is true of music from one's own culture but from eras in the past. Take language as an example. I don't know how fluent everyone here is with English, but when a modern person tries to read Shakespeare's works for the first time, it's difficult to understand. Some of the words look the same but mean different things, some words are completely different. This is true also of our own musical styles from the past. Is it better, then, to take Shakespeare and translate it into modern English? I suppose some people would say yes, but my own preference is no, we should learn to understand Shakespeare's English. The same is true, in my opinion, with music from the past.

Interestingly, if you ever attended a performance or maybe more than one performance of a Shakespeare play, you'd know that even with the old English, with good acting, the meaning comes across. The same is true, in my opinion, with period musical performances. Some performers are good at making the music understood in it's intended "dialect" because of the way they play it. This is what I strive for as a performer.

Thomas Dressler
 

Thomas Dressler

New member
PS on this:

The things I said also apply to music from the 19th century, I believe. Our modern interpretations of Romantic music are very different from what Brahms, for instance, had in mind. So I try to apply the same ideals to 19th century music, also.

Thomas Dressler
 

Lotus80

Commodore of Water Music
Hello Thomas,

Welcome to MIMF!
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I hope you'll keep enjoying this forum.

Cheers, Lotus80
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Frederik Magle

Administrator
Staff member
I hope you will excuse I took the liberty of replying, starting a new thread about this very interesting subject here quoting Thomas' and Corno's posts from this thread. That way it will be more visible to people that they may find and join this discussion. So if you don't mind - Thomas and Corno - I suggest continuing this discussion in the new dedicated thread
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