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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000944.txt from 2000/07

Subj: RE: [kl] Learning practices (was Mozart's wife and Carl Maria We ber)
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 11:25:33 -0400

In a message dated 7/27/00 4:15:54 AM, writes:

<< Excellent point, IMO. Andrew Porter used to write in the New Yorker about
singers (particularly, but not exclusively) giving performances of
various works, and showing no understanding of the traditions of
performing those works. Sometimes these performers would actually say
that they had no desire to hear others performing these works, because
they did not wish to clone those performances. Porter pointed out
repeatedly that the value of hearing others was in hearing many
performances, and allowing some of the aspects of performances you like
to creep subconsciously into your own performances. In this way, you made
the performance your own - not by ignoring traditions, but by adapting
them to your own point of view. (Andrew Porter wrote it much more
lucidly!) >>

Well said. You have no idea how difficult it is to convey this concept to

I had many great discussions of recordings with my friends and colleagues at
the clarinet fest. We often talk about how difficult it is to find the
correct 'feel' for style in old German music (I am talking mostly about
Brahms and Wagner, but you can throw Dvorak into this same general category).
I mentioned some recordings by Frederick Stock and the Chicago Symphony, a
team that is mostly forgotten or ignored as 'pre-glory days' of this
orchestra. I suggest something of the opposite. If you want to hear old
Germans play this music as if it were 'holy,' this is one group to listen to.
There is something in the way they play, both as an orchestra and in their
approach to the music, that is mostly lost now. I get much of the same
feeling when I hear pre-war Dresden recordings under Busch and Bohm. It is
not something that can be taught in words and intuition would have to be
miraculous to discover it alone.

It is my opinion that as musicians we have something of a duty to understand
performance traditions, both good and bad. Recordings are the only way to get
close to performers who have been gone longer than we have been alive.

David Hattner, NYC

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