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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000596.txt from 2003/10

From: <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Who speaks?
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 08:07:56 -0400

Tony Pays said:
> That's the whole point of the discussion. Music is very often played
> badly, even by pro players, because it's played self-centeredly. (It's
> as though the performance is about the player, rather than being about
> the piece.)

Isn`t 'badly' a fundamental human constituent, and isn`t this what we
fight to overcome?
We all suffer, and we have to live with this to some degree. So a 'bad'
performance may indeed be a wonderful learning experience and a 'good' way
*to* learn, to enable us to eventually play with much more insight with
regard to what the composer`s intentions *for the performer* are.

>Indeed, so inconsistent was he over the years that someone once expressed a
>doubt that there ever was such a 'person' as Stravinsky.
>There is little doubt that he wrote the music he wrote, however....

I heard Stravinski`s arr. of The Grand Waltz from Les Sylphides (Chopin) a
couple of days ago. Hadn`t heard it before - only the orchestrations by
Alexandre Glazunov, Anatole Liadov, Nicolas Sokolov and Sergei Taneyev.
I made a 'showman' remark to Dan in my previous reply, and I must make this
aside to compare the Stravinski arr. to a fairground merry-go-round jangle.
It was interesting to listen to, but in the context of this discussion, I
would call it 'bad'. For this reason - considering how much more 'feminine'
the femail ballet
dancers were in Stravinski`s era compared to what we may see sometimes
today, it could be viewed to have been wholly inappropriate. Maybe that`s
why it`s now re-discovered all these years later?

TW originally:
> > Why then do we emphasise in colleges, in schools, in private teaching,
> > in master classes and to a large extent on radio, the importance of
> > searching for composers' intentions.

> That wasn't his only reason. The deeper one was that what a composer
> produces is the result of the interaction of all his conscious and
> unconscious processes, and not the result just of his conscious
> intention. The 'happy accident' might not have been so accidental.

Understanding that Stravinski`s (Chopin) Grand Waltz was an arr. (not a
composition) he surely must have had every intention of being 'up front',
maybe enough to even intentionally upstage the dancers. A case of being a
'sod' I ask? (Excuse the wrong usage of my original wording).

> And no, it's not that a composer's conscious intention isn't important
> *at all*. It's that the deepest parts of much of the world's greatest
> music are available only by exposing our *own* conscious and unconscious
> processes to our only unequivocal sources -- namely, the *texts* -- and
> that includes understanding the conventions of notation and performance
> practice that were in force at the time.

"at the time" is so important to understand.

> And people make mistakes, after all. Beethoven was said to have
> sightread, in the work of some of his contemporaries, not what was
> there, but what *had to have been intended*, and what had been written
> wrongly by the copyist.

We don`t seem to find too many whiz-kids named Ludvig anymore. Perhaps they
are intentionally protected.

> What I actually do in a borderline case will depend on the degree of
> refinement of my own understanding, and on the degree of flexibility of
> my own inner instincts and processes.
> But for me as well as my students, I'd say that any refinement of
> understanding, and any flexibility of instinct and unconscious process
> that we may have, can only have arisen in the course of our attempts to
> bring *faithfully* to life the great music texts of both past and
> present. Those texts are our teachers.

Flu-bound TW

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