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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000408.txt from 1994/05

From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Best performance
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 11:36:06 -0400

Jim Freeman and I are like minded but I did not say it as well as he.

The idea of anyone producing the best performance implies some sort of a
rating system, objectively arrived at, with which one could rate the 23rd best
performance and the 92nd, etc. This same system would then, in theory at
least, be allowed to wander aimlessly in the realm of best music. And the
objectivity would tolerate the conclusion that the Beethoven Op. 118 No. 1 is
absolutely 13th best piece while Turkey in the Straw is the absolutely
n-th best.

The whole idea of "best" is (or should be) antithetical to a musician's
thinking. That is the kind of thing that the non-performing public goes
for, and this is particularly true in America where Texas wants the biggest,
and California wantsthe most politically correct, and New York wants the
tallest, and Illinois wants the most American, etc. We are a nation of
people who seek the ultimate size or quantity in anything we do. Using this
logic, how good could Mozart have been? After all, he came from such a
small town.

I certain hope that I never hear the best performance ever of any work
in the repertoire. It could only be followed by paralysis of the intellect
and a serious case of musical constipation.

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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