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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000252.txt from 1996/04

From: Nate Burk <nathan@-----.COM>
Subj: Dan and his Michelangelo -- me and my handcuffs
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 1996 23:48:47 -0400

Dan made an interesting comparison of representing music authentically to
representing artwork authentically:

>But when you get it, it is just not right. For one thing, it is
>nude and you don't want to offend anyone. So you have a pair of
>shorts made from denim and, with a lot of work, get them sewn
>right on David. A scotch plaid tie is added next because it is
>very saucy. And stuck in David's hand (the one holding the sling)
>is an umbrella in your favorite color: puce.

Yeah, this anology fits, but let me play devil's advocate. When Michelangelo
sculpted the statue, he never intended for people to replicate it. I think
he'd be pretty pissed to see anything like this ever happen to his work.
Composers, on the other hand, should *expect* people to interpret their work
differently. Thus, while it would be inappropriate to alter a great painting
or sculpture, it's not as out-of-the-question to manipulate music to suit
one's own feelings.

I still don't think there's one right way to play anything and I'll never
look down on anyone for playing something differently than the norm... like
I said before, I'll just flip the channel or stop the tape. The handcuffs
come into play when someone tells me that Mozart doesn't want me to ritard
at the end of a certain phrase or Weber never intended me to play a pair of
grace notes at the end of a turn. Few editions of any piece are very true to
the original autograph (correct word?), so what's the point in trying to
adhere to them to the letter? If we can't add our own imagination to the
music that we play, why do we bother playing it?

I don't know, guys, I guess I don't take authenticity as serious as you do
(or maybe I take it too seriously, who knows). I'll try my best to learn
about a particular composer's style and about the period from which the
music comes, but if something pisses me off in the music, I'm sure going to
change it. I think of myself as more of an artist than an ambassador when I
play music; while it's important to preserve authenticity, I think we'd be
bored to tears if we all heard the same interpretations over and over again.
Maybe I've missed the point here, but I don't like the idea of being
"responsible" for the work of these great composers.

For the majority of you who wish to play the music as authentically as
humanly possible, bravo -- I applaud that effort because I simply don't have
the patience to sit myself down in a library and study Brahms' early
childhood to analyze why he might have called for a decrescendo in measure
132. :)

But when I play at a recital, I like to think people want to hear *me*
playing a composer's work... they don't want to hear me play how my teacher
plays it or how Wright, Marcellus, or Neidich would have played it... they
want to hear me. Maybe it's selfish to make that assumption, but if they
don't like what I have to offer, then they don't have to come to my next
recital, do they? :)

--Nate

(Btw, sorry for the underlying sarcasm in this note -- please take my word
that I didn't mean in it in a condescending way!!!!)

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