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 copland concerto
Author: Melissa 
Date:   2004-04-11 15:57

Has anyone here been blessed to have tackled the copland concerto? I would love to play it one day, however, I don't think that day will be very soon. So what are your experiences playing it? What did you play it for? What were the most difficult passages? Just thought I would ask for future reference.

Melissa



Post Edited (2004-04-11 16:07)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Kevin 
Date:   2004-04-11 16:18

I don't exactly have the Copland up to performance standards, but I can somewhat fake my way through it.

For me, the most technically chanlenging spot is the section starting with the pickup to measure 364 (in the Boosey & Hawkes edition). It is the second appearence of the initial swinging theme marked "with humor, relaxed" that first appears in m. 297.

Of course, the cadenza is tough too. Helps if you know your arpeggios and practice it slowly.

The grace notes in those last 10 measures or so of the entire concerto, should be played clearly and before the beat. Be sure to hit that chromatic scale right before the gliss.

The opening slow section, may be technically easy to play, but don't overlook it when you practice. It's easy to get fatigued or out of breath here.

I believe John Moses has recorded this piece with Copland conducting. Try searching this board for that conversation a while ago.

Good luck with the piece. It is indeed a masterful composition.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2004-04-11 20:19

I'm playing it up through the cadenza for my juries this semester.

It's a very full piece, very open to interpretation and nuance, and I never play it the same way twice. Delightfully fun, it's one of my favorite pieces.

As Kevin suggests, it's very easy to get sloppy in the opening section. Intonation and smooth transitions require lots of care.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: theclarinetist 
Date:   2004-04-11 20:34

I performed the piece at a recital with piano accompaniment. For me, the hardest part was the beginning. I personally, didn't find the cadenza and second half all that difficult (they aren't easy, but after sufficient practice I could play them very well). There are, however, a few counting spots in the second half that tripped me up the first couple times I played with piano.

I would recommend the Richard Stoltzman recording as a good example of how the piece might be played. Clearly, we all can't play like him (and, in fact, his "robust" playing on this piece would like be inappropriate when played with piano), but I think he brings an energy and sense of life to the piece that other performers have neglected (based on the recordings I have heard).

The grace notes at the end (as mentioned above), should be, in my opinion, completely and aggressively smeared, starting on top line F# for the smears to both C# and F#. The last several minutes of the concerto are building to this finale and I think it should be a big one! For me, on recordings where they play simply the grace notes "clearly", it's such a disappointment. It sounds so small and wimpy. My teacher described the last part (from the grace notes to the end) as a train that about to derail (or something similar). It should be crazy, fun, and hectic (especially compared to the very much restrained and controlled beginning).

You also need to think about the sections marked humorously and whether or not you want to swing them. Some people swing them, and I think it's fun and sounds good (this section of the piece is anything but serious, so why not have fun with it?). On the other hand, i also think it's very "humorous" to play the eights very straight with the slap bass underneath (I would assume this almost sarcastic contrast is what Copland meant by "humorously"). This is view is further strengthened by the fact that some of the notes are actually written as dotted 8th-16th, meaning he probably wanted contrast between the straight and dotted rhythms. This issue has been discussed on this board before if you wanna search for it. I think the final story is that when you play it, it's your interpretation, so do what you want. It's good to weigh both approaches though, to make sure you get the most out of your interpretation.

DH - theclarinetist@yahoo.com

I didn't spell check, sorry for any mistakes

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2004-04-11 23:51

If you're daring, you might add a slight swing to the cadenza as well. Very slight, mind you.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Someone who knows 
Date:   2004-04-12 00:05





Post Edited (2004-05-28 23:56)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Kevin 
Date:   2004-04-12 00:44

Stoltzman's playing is brilliant, but his choice to swing many sections of this particular concerto has been a huge source of debate. I prefer the Benny Goodman recordings, or the Drucker (with an especially well done slow section) recording.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2004-04-12 02:30

While I'm not a huge fan of Stolzman's playing, I, as a composer, appreciate when performers take a piece beyond what I've written. Some composers like it, and others don't, when a performer intentionally does something not written on the page. Where one person may see a corruption of the music and vision, others see the notes on the page as just a starting point for the music.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: GBK 
Date:   2004-04-12 02:42

EEBaum wrote:

> While I'm not a huge fan of Stolzman's playing


[ Let's not debate the pros or cons of Stoltzman's general style of playing. We've been down that road many times. Please keep this thread related to the questions posed in the first post. Thanks - GBK ]

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: John J. Moses 
Date:   2004-04-12 04:38

Hi Melissa (& Kevin);
Good memory Kevin, I did respond to an earlier post on the BB about my experience with Copland and his Concerto. Here it is:

Hi Keil:
It was a thrill for me, in the early 1980's, to record the Copland Concerto with Aaron Copland conducting.
I was hired to do, what sounded like, a simple film score in NYC at the old Columbia Studios.
When I found out, two days before the date, that Copland was conducting his own Concerto and I was the clarinet soloist, I almost died!
Working like mad, I showed up, and in two 3-hour recording sessions, we had it. Copland was pleased and signed my solo clarinet part, the producers seemed happy, and I was left in a state of shock and joy.
The movie was finally released as "Love and Money", it didn't do well at the box office, but years later went to video.
I purchased a copy for a keepsake, and it's really pretty good.
Wish I'd had more time with Copland to do a CD, and learn more from him about the Concerto. It's just a wonderful memory.
He was quite a guy! Thanks Aaron.

JJM
Légère Artist
Clark W. Fobes Artist

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Gregory Smith 2017
Date:   2004-04-12 05:34

After having performed it numerous times, some of my general thoughts on musical interpretation (including the Copland).

I am keenly aware of a school of thought more and more in vogue presently, that prizes putting performer whims ahead of the composer's explicit instructions. Overt flamboyancy at the expense of the composer's explicit instructions violates a sacred trust between composer and performer that is strongly frowned upon - at least in the professional circles that I travel. There is indeed a trend to look at a composition in a 'personal' way. Indeed, to 'exploit' its nuances as a personal expression tool. And to do this right at the beginning of learning it.

Most of our waking hours are committed, as scrupulous professional musicians, investing ourselves in exploring just how to interpret a composers work with the upmost fidelity to the composer in mind - and not as a means of self-indulgency.

This is not to say that there is not artistic liscence that one uses to deviate from the composer's "blueprint" that's in front of a performer at any given time. All great performers that I know or have heard of use this "blueprint" as a point of departure to then add their personal artistic expression or spontaneity to enhance (not undo) what the composer has laid out for them.

In writing a specific piece a composer makes thousands of choices. Should a ritard happen on a specific note? Should a crescendo extend an extra 2 beats? Should a held note be 4 beats or 5? etc., etc., etc...

The performer, in turn, faces the daunting task of trying to convey these wishes within the historical context of the piece. When the performer decides to depart from the composer's instructions "ad libitum" then the music ceases to be the composer's any longer, and violates the intent of the author.

If however the music is performed as written, then the music will take over on its own merits. As, for example, no two performers execute a ritard, or crescendo exactly the same way, thus lies the subtleties which separate the average performance from the memorable - that innate ability to take the listener along a truly sculptured and informed musical journey.

The great joy of playing this 20th century masterpiece for the clarinet is that it is seemingly bottomless - always offering something new of worth each time it is dusted off, re-examined and played once again. It's as if one would look through a spectacularly colorful kalidescope - each performance a reflection of that incredible array of colors present and available in every new turn of the kalidescope. But it must be Copland's kalidescope.

Again, being as faithful as reasonably possible to the composer's intent isn't a restricting process per se. Fidelity to the composer's precisely written instructions paradoxically FREES or LIBERATES the music from the cold, printed page.

No one knows "precisely" what he wanted. On the other hand no composer would want their music interpreted the same way every time. Something in the middle would do...but doing "something in the middle" is the key idea.

What I am describing is that the parameters of performance style must simply be informed by the composer...however one can best go about doing that...studying and listening to other works of the composer comes to mind...examining other scores of their works, etc. Otherwise there is no musical context from which to base one's interpretation.

More isn't always more. Sometimes less is more.

Gregory Smith



Post Edited (2004-04-12 05:36)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2004-04-12 06:08

Well said, Gregory!

Also, historically it has occurred that composers write things in slightly different than they may like it performed. Sometimes they don't want to overly restrict the performers, but there can be other reasons: Sousa sometimes wrote extra "stuff" into his marches (thicker textures, louder dynamics, etc.), and would modify the piece when he conducted, often on the spot. Instead, he reserved the way he liked it best for the ensembles he conducted. He often, on the spot, would wave out a section or drastically change the dynamic, to match how he liked it. This ensured that his ensemble always had a truly unique sound that was difficult to replicate by bands that just played the music as written, and thus led to a better reputation for his performances.

As Greg was saying, I think it's important to heed instructions when they are there, and interpret appropriately when they are not. I've been pleasantly surprised more than once when someone playing a piece of mine takes something in a way I totally didn't expect. Had I been more explicit and demanded the performer stick rigidly to the score, such things would be less likely.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: theclarinetist 
Date:   2004-04-12 21:18

Someone who knows..

To avoid rehashing the Stoltzman issue, I'll try to keep things general. I think simply playing the notes is, often, boring. If I just want to hear notes I can download a midi file. If performers cannot personalize a piece, what is the point? You can argue to no end at what point "personalization" becomes "mutilation" and you'd probably never find the perfect answer. I personally don't think Stoltzman crosses the line. I personally find the Goodman recording boring. BTW, I never said that a piece had to be altered to be interesting and I never mentioned Brahms or Stravinsky. This discussion is about the copland only and I think my opinions were appropriate that topic (even if you don't agree with them).

If you noticed my post, I discussed both sides of the swung vs. unswung issue, and I personally prefer it unswung.

The end story is, as a listener, I like to be entertained (as I would assume most would). I would rather hear a dazzling performance than a robot who is constrained and holding back. If I were a music historian or doing a report on Copland's intentions I might feel differently, but if I hear a piece I want to be entertained. That said, any performance that achieves that goal is fine with me (as a listener, mind you, not a musicologist).

I hope no one else was as enraged by my opinions as you were ; )

DH

ps - again, no spellcheck

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Gregory Smith 2017
Date:   2004-04-12 21:49

theclarinetist wrote:

>I would rather hear a dazzling
> performance than a robot who is constrained and holding back.
> If I were a music historian or doing a report on Copland's
> intentions I might feel differently, but if I hear a piece I
> want to be entertained. That said, any performance that
> achieves that goal is fine with me (as a listener, mind you,
> not a musicologist).
>
> I hope no one else was as enraged by my opinions as you were ;

===================================================


I'll speak for myself.

Adhering to the text is not necessarily boring and perhaps liberating while deviating from the text in a dramatic fashion is not necessarily entertaining.

Perhaps there's a middle ground rather than a "one or the other", seemingly polemic view of interpretation.

Gregory Smith



Post Edited (2004-04-12 21:50)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: RAMman 
Date:   2004-04-12 21:58

Let's think in different terms...

Do we swing Copland or not? Hasn't the point been missed here?

Horovitz Sonantina, 3rd movement. If you swing...its sounds rediculous...if you style it, it transforms from what is dull on the page to being an incredible piece.

I think the idea of Copland wanting Benny Goodman to play exactly what is on the page is silly. Ever seen a conductor who asks a concerto soloist to change the way they're playing something?

I can see it now...

Mikhail Pletnev:

"Excuse me Mr. Collins, I think your ornaments in the 1st movement of this Mozart concerto we're recording for Deutsch Gramaphone are rubbish, and your use of articulation is totally inappropriate."

Michael Collins:

"I do apologise Maestro, I shall endeavour to change"

Erm...no.

Benny Goodman always had an enormous chip on his shoulder about what the classical world thought of him. If he had recorded a true Benny Goodman performance of a work by Copland, then he would have thought people were laughing at him behind his back.

Oh dear...I can see the furious responses already!!



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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Larry Liberson 
Date:   2004-04-12 22:04





Post Edited (2006-10-05 22:48)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Someone who knows 
Date:   2004-04-12 22:25





Post Edited (2004-05-28 23:57)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Kevin 
Date:   2004-04-12 22:32

My views on the subject are as follows.

A performer's interpretation is an important aspect of a piece, but his take on the music is not quite more superior than the notes themselves. In order to write music of any decent value, a composer undergoes hours of creative struggle & painfull editing. The process to put those little thoughts onto paper and then to actually make all of them work together is a long difficult task. When a masterpiece is finally completed, I think it can be somewhat insulting to the creator when a performer just comes up and flat out changes what has been written. Differences in ritards, and dynamics are, of course, acceptable and even expected, but not when the performer alters aspects like rythms, timbre, pulses, pitches, etc..

Again, those were simply my own views on this subject.

But even with that being said, I really don't think it's that big of a deal. Stoltzman's recording may not be accurate, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. People should learn to listen to works with an open mind, and appreciate the performance, rather than to wonder how its supposed to sound or what the composer meant.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Gregory Smith 2017
Date:   2004-04-12 23:25

>.... recording may not be accurate, but
> that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. People should learn to
> listen to works with an open mind, and appreciate the
> performance, rather than to wonder how its supposed to sound or
> what the composer meant.
==================================================

Would one say the same of Shakespeare or
Ibsen or Steinbeck or Orwell?

Change one word or one sentence and the inflection and meaning of the author/composer is changed.

Sure one can "enjoy" the final result in any case, but that part is absolutely NOT what is left up to the performer to decide.

Gregory Smith

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: theclarinetist 
Date:   2004-04-13 00:55

As is usually the case, this discussion can go on forever without ever resolving, but that's okay. I think we are slightly over-exaggerating Stoltzman's "changes" to the piece (I realize that this discussion isn't really about Stoltzman - but since it came up..). Other than a smear or two and a little swinging he doesn't "alter" the piece. That all i wanted to add.

Thanks

DH

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: donald 
Date:   2004-04-13 02:51

hmmmm a few issues
1) by saying that the Goodman/Copeland recording is "boring", you are saying that "Copeland is boring" because, after all, it was "his" version of the piece.... if you follow me (i'm in a hurry so this may not be the best english)
2) who said that the issue with Stoltzman etc was to do with "swinging" the rhythm? I own the Stoltzman recording and it's not my favourite, i reccently bought another by an american player who does much that i don't like- but in neither case is "swinging" the main issue....
3) i think the real issue that is relvealed here is to do with listening. Goodman is not boring to me because i can hear lots of things that he is doing to the music. Other people i know listen to it, but don't HEAR these things so don't find the interpretation interesting. At the same time, a reccent performance by a cellist (of the Schumann fantasy pieces) had me irritated and bored by what i considered a vulgar plethora of obvious and exagerated "musical" gestures. Another clarinet player with me thought it was "very musical".
that's just how it is.
donald

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: LeOpus1190s 
Date:   2004-04-13 10:54

Right... well reading this thread I think I will consider more strongly what the professional symphony player has to say rather than some amature. After all he's made it and his points are more valid.

Mr. Smith, I am always greatful when you shed some light on things. Perhaps you could voice your opinions more often to give us deeper insight to how the real professional world works rather than us just speculating from the outside.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: RAMman 
Date:   2004-04-13 16:11

What right does someone have to say that some people's views are more valid than others? The above post is silly...I know plenty of pro players in well known orchestras who talk absolute nonsense...oh but hang on, their points are more valid than some amateur (which I presume I have been lumped as)...that's rediculous.

Someone who knows...my comments are based on other comments made by elite clarinet players, many of whom worked with or knew Mr. Goodman. I don't just make up stuff and place it on boards like this.

As for my Collins/Pletnev conversation, you missed my point. I was not saying it is more appropriate to improvise in Mozart than to 'swing' Copland...it was an illustration of a conductor/soloist relationship.

Just because you can't find an example of something elsewhere, does not make it invalid. To concerto is dedicated to a man who played in a certain way. Copland must have written the concerto to play to these strengths, accents and rythmns are used to create an almost 'written out swing' but if these rythmns are played entirely precisely, they sound absurd. Therefore, there must be some ground for adding additional styling (my original point if you notice).



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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Kevin 
Date:   2004-04-13 16:27

I don't think that because someone is a professional means that their views on a debatable subject are right, and if someone is an amatuer then their own views are of less value.

Of course, that is not to take anything away from those posts by Mr. Smith. I too am grateful that he is a member of this community.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-04-13 16:29

RAMman wrote:

> What right does someone have to say that some people's views
> are more valid than others?

The same exact right that you're exercising to dispute it ...

And, of course, there is a difference in the weight of some people's views in regard to others. I know Gregory Smith's, Larry Liberson's, GBK's and John Moses's bona fides, but I don't know yours. Until I know yours, your views will necessarily have less weight than theirs.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Gregory Smith 2017
Date:   2004-04-13 16:58

RMAman wrote:

"...I know plenty of pro players in well known orchestras who talk absolute nonsense..."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


No truer words have been spoken here at Woodwind.org. I do not intend to disparage other professional's viewpoints, only to point out that there is obviously a certain amount of disagreement amongst those that are professionals.

I hope that one realizes I am simply giving my point of view, based on my own personal experience. I'm hoping that, at least it seems to me, that everyone is expressing their opinion based on their own personal experience.

The DEGREE TO and the STYLE IN which a performing artist decides to adhere to what they believe are the composer's intentions has been the subject that I have tried to address.

Gregory Smith



Post Edited (2004-04-13 17:02)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: RAMman 
Date:   2004-04-13 17:15

I may seem like I'm ranting...

I'm not, just encouraging discussion!

Can't agree that one opinion is more valid than another though...I take a comment from anyone as seriously as any other.

As far as Copland goes, I think people will have to agree to disagree, it's getting a little heated!!



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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Ed 
Date:   2004-04-13 17:18

One of the difficult issues for a composer is that s/he must rely on others to interpret what was intended. A painter or sculptor can submit to the public exactly what s/he intends. We don't go to the museum and say, "I think Picasso would have loved to have used some red there, maybe he ran out, I am going to add it in." It doesn't matter that we might like it better that way.

I agree with the statements by many here that we are responsible to play what the composer wrote. It is a shame that there are many who feel that this would be boring. I can think of many recordings that are meticulous about detail and are stunning in their excitement and beauty. (Many by Szell and Reiner come to mind). Music played accurately is not necessarily boring, but music played boring is boring. It is our job to find the music and to flesh it out.

I have also heard some of the best known clarinet virtuosos of today add their "interpretations" to a work that makes me sick in the distortion of what is on the page.

FWIW- I fell in love with the Copland after hearing BG's recording. I love its charm and simple straight forward approach. It is probably still one of my favorites.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-04-13 17:33

RAMman wrote:

> Can't agree that one opinion is more valid than another
> though...I take a comment from anyone as seriously as any
> other.

I can't believe that your sentiment as expressed here could be serious!

Two doctors disagree as to how to treat my particular malady, but I value both those opinions much higher than the opinion on treatment offered by the guy who's fixing my car! (true story)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: RAMman 
Date:   2004-04-13 21:29

Your analogy valid in terms of what I actually wrote...but I didn't express exactly what I wanted to.

Two clarinettists post on a board..one has been posting on the board for years, the other is new.

Both post on a topic, and someone says that because the former clarinettist is who he, his point is more valid than the new boy.

I think...both opinions are as valid as each other.

Plus...in terms of what is valid and what is not...the opinion of your mechanic on your health is valid (opinion is not always based on knowledge, as one post said above)...whether you choose to follow it is up to you.



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 Re: copland concerto
Author: OpusII 
Date:   2004-04-13 21:52

I think that your both off topic here…

A performer must play a piece by following his hart… if that also stand on the sheet then that’s great. But if he plays beautiful and it doesn’t stand on the sheet.. then it's also great!

Every person has his own way of expressing himself.. there is nothing wrong with that!

Example.. I ask W. Boeykens to play the same piece as I'm going to ask E. Daniels… sure I get two whole different pieces. But probably I would love them both…

Eddy

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-04-13 23:17

OpusII wrote:

> Example.. I ask W. Boeykens to play the same piece as I'm going
> to ask E. Daniels… sure I get two whole different pieces. But
> probably I would love them both…

And I'll wager both play what's written. There's an incredible amount of freedom in playing what the composer intended.

However, if you don't play what the composer has set down, then please do what the movies do ... "based (incredibly loosely) on something that happened."

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-04-13 23:23

RAMman wrote:

> I think...both opinions are as valid as each other.

I like educated opinions, ones that have some factual basis because there's been some effort involved in forming them, ones that can stand up to debate, ones where someone can consider and weigh what was said. The "newness" of the person stating the opinion is irrelevant, but the process that the person went through to form that opinion isn't.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Someone who knows 
Date:   2004-04-14 02:42





Post Edited (2004-05-28 23:57)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: JMcAulay 
Date:   2004-04-14 03:23


Another expression of art, namely poetry, may have various interpretations, whether intended by the author or not. Emphasis during readings can make a huge difference. Haiku, of course, is intended to have diverse interpretations.

But changing a poet's actual words? Not cricket. That you don't do, just as you don't take a composer's work and change what is written. Uncommon interpretation can add different life to a piece, it's true. But changing a note here and there, deciding to "swing" something that isn't so marked, or deciding that Lento should be at MM=90 just doesn't cut it. Not in a formal presentation. If you like it otherwise, announce in advance that your playing will be an improvisational interpretation, That way, people who think it stinks can appropriately blame you, instead of the composer.

And by the way, re the Copland concerto, how about opinions on the way Goodman handled his vibrato?

Regards,
John

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: theclarinetist 
Date:   2004-04-14 03:30

Not that this matters, but I think we often read too much into to composer's intentions (this is sort of an off-shoot, and has been discussed before).

As a composer (by no means "accomplished, but I have had numerous pieces performed and worked with the performers), I find that the performer is AS much a part of the end result, if not more so, than the black dots I put on a page.

For example, I wrote a Bass Clarinet Sonata that my teacher performed. I had very particular feelings about the Cadenza and how I thought it should be played. When I coached the piece with my teacher, he played it completely differently than what I thought I wanted. And it was great. Many compositions are edited and revised after an initial performance or ever years by composer whose intentions apparently weren't set it stone as some would like to think.

Similarly I've met with a few composers (most notably John Corigliano and Ron Nelson, plus many less well known people during my college playing experiences). I've never met a single one that was as adamant one would imagine from these posts.

I PERSONALLY find the Goodman version a little boring, as I've said - I don't think it's atrocious (actually it's good), I just like Stoltzman's better (not to mention the Goodman version that I have has a few "wrong" notes in it! Maybe he's right and all the other recordings are wrong but his is different than the other's I've heard).

I'm sure the Goodman recording reflects how Copland and Goodman intended the piece to sound at the particularly time it was recorded. If he was alive today and conducted the piece with 5 different clarinets, I'm sure we'd have 5 different interpretations. For all we know, he might not even be offended by Stoltzmans. I have heard many recordings of this piece and they are all different in some way. To say that anyone who strays from the "original" version, which was the way 2 artists worked together on one day with one orchestra, is incorrect or getting further away from what constitutes a perfect performance is just plain stupid.

Someone mentioned that music is not like paintings or sculpture. They require a middle-man before they get to the listener and can't be recreated the same each time. Why then, does this outcome (which is inevitable) get under some people's skin so much?

DH

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: claaaaaarinet!!!! 
Date:   2004-04-14 03:50

> though...I take a comment from anyone as seriously as any
> other.

>I know plenty of pro players in well known orchestras who talk absolute nonsense..."

RAMman's point of view is right on, as far as I'm concerned.

Incidentally, if we were feeling extra concerned about Copland's sacred vision for the Concerto, we'd all insist on his first version of the piece, which Goodman considered to be too difficult and would not play. Neidich recorded this first version serval years ago. But it doesn't really matter which version you choose to play, does it? To swing or not to swing the "with humor, relaxed" portion? Who cares?! I certainly don't, as long as it is played with humor and in a relaxed way and all involved enjoy the show. Actually, check that. Play it in an angry and uptight way if you want to, as long as you mean it.



Post Edited (2004-04-14 03:52)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Ed 
Date:   2004-04-14 12:01

"Similarly I've met with a few composers (most notably John Corigliano and Ron Nelson, plus many less well known people during my college playing experiences). I've never met a single one that was as adamant one would imagine from these posts."

That is interesting. I was playing in an orchestral workshop for conductors a few years back. The highlight was Corigliano's Symphony #1. He was there for the week working on it with the conductors. He was very particular about having the parts played exactly as he had notated.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: RAMman 
Date:   2004-04-14 12:30

Someone who knows...clearly doesn't know these players.

I'm from the UK, and anyway, since when does saying "Goodman always had an enourmous chip on his shoulder about what the classical world thought of him" and "If he recorded a true Benny Goodman version of the Copland, he would think the classical world was laughing at him behind his back" (this is my own statement, based on the evidence of the first), 'openly going out of the way to dis Goodman's playing'? Sounds more like his psycology (and I mean that with ABSOLUTELY no disrespect...I think he was a superb clarinet player).

During the coaching I have had on the Copland, I have had insight into Goodman's playing that I had not had before. This has caused me to form my opinions, based on appropriate knowledge and opinions from others who have been in the clarinet world longer than I have.



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 Re: copland concerto
Author: JMcAulay 
Date:   2004-04-14 19:18

Gee, wonder what a "true" Benny Goodman version of the Copland might be? Is the one we've been listening to for years... faked? Wow! all this time, it has sounded so good. No, not boring at all. Exciting every time I hear it. Maybe something's wrong with me.

Oh, maybe I have it now. The implication is that BG was a "one-trick pony," whose style was incapable of excellence except in a swing milieu. Aha. Well, on that matter, my position is the same as that of Bela Bartok,

Regards,
John

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2004-04-14 20:24

"Similarly I've met with a few composers (most notably John Corigliano and Ron Nelson, plus many less well known people during my college playing experiences). I've never met a single one that was as adamant one would imagine from these posts."

Every composer of classical music that I've worked with, including Pierre Boulez, Michel Jarrell and Heinz Holliger, has been adamant that one plays exactly what was written in the score. I remember Pierre Boulez getting highly irritated with the viola section because they weren't playing his written dynamics!

"I find that the performer is AS much a part of the end result, if not more so, than the black dots I put on a page."

I will agree with you there. But some performers strive to discover the composers' intentions (starting with the details of the written score) and give performances that are fantastic, deep, moving, etc. etc.

I heard Stolzman play the Copland in Switzerland. A lot of what he played had very little to do with what Copland wrote. Despite this, his performance was convincing, and the audience called him back to play 3 encores!

So where does that leave us? Stolzman, because of his ability to project the music into the audience, could pull something like that off. But why did he feel he had to actually change notes, rhythms, tempi, dynamics etc., to be able to do that? Why couldn't he do that and still stick to the text? Some performers can.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Gregory Smith 2017
Date:   2004-04-14 23:10

Liquorice wrote:

> ...Every composer of classical music that I've worked with,
> including Pierre Boulez, Michel Jarrell and Heinz Holliger, has
> been adamant that one plays exactly what was written in the
> score. I remember Pierre Boulez getting highly irritated with
> the viola section because they weren't playing his written
> dynamics!


Phil Farkas, the esteemed former principal horn of the Cleveland Orcheatra under Rodzinski and the Chicago Symphony under Reiner, teacher extrordinaire, had this to say in his book "The Art of Musicianship."

To paraphrase:

Rodzinski insisted that one play EVERYTHING already in the music - the dots, the dashes, the accents, the crescendos, the diminuendos...and in the proper style. To overlook any aspect of the printed indications by the composer was tantamount to missing that note.

Here is an old anecdote which might illustrate how important all the elements of even one musical note can be:

A trumpet player in the village band had just one solo to play in a certain composition. It consisted of one glorious golden note, played just right. But at the performance, in his nervousness or carelessness, the trumpeter made seven mistakes on his one note!

1) He came in a measure too soon.
2) He played the wrong note.
3) The wrong note was too flat.
4) The attack was too loud.
5) The note was made a cresc. instead of a dim.
6) The tone was fuzzy.
7) He held the note one measure too long.



> ...A lot of what
> he played had very little to do with what Copland wrote.
> Despite this, his performance was convincing, and the audience
> called him back to play 3 encores!


So did Liberace.


> ..... But why did he feel he had to actually change
> notes, rhythms, tempi, dynamics etc., to be able to do that?
> Why couldn't he do that and still stick to the text?
> ....Some performers can.


"Some performers" such as Heiftz, Rabin, Piatigorsky, Browning, Szell, Reiner, Marcellus, Herseth, Lifschey, Schnabel, R. Serkin, etc, etc, etc. have a vision of the music they play, not simply the playing of it.

This doesn't even address one, of if not the most important aspect of music making. Tempo.

Unlike architecture, which is expressed in terms of space, music is dominated by the inexorable flow of time. Setting and maintaining the proper tempo is therefore one of the most important elements of the performer's complex task. A piece of music performed at the wrong tempo is like a building erected on a shaky foundation; in both cases the structure is bound to collapse.

Meaningful music making has much less to do with simple grandstanding.



Post Edited (2004-04-15 06:51)

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Brenda 
Date:   2004-04-15 00:50

So I should listen to Benny Goodman's version of the Copland Concerto, that's what I've been doing wrong! Then maybe I'll like it after all this time. Copland's a good composer, but this one doesn't call to me, don't know why.



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 Re: copland concerto
Author: theclarinetist 
Date:   2004-04-15 03:04

My clarinet teacher tells a funny story about composers.. When he was a student at Eastman, Stravinsky came and spoke. He said a number of his clarinet peers had questions like "why did you do such and such in this measure of 'Three Pieces' (or other compositions)"... According to my teacher, Stravinsky's answers were basically a combination or "I don't remember" and "it doesn't really matter" (not in a rude way... he just didn't think it was that important). Granted, I'm just (poorly) relaying this story, so i've probably missed a few details, but the overall point my teacher makes is that all the students were expecting these profound answers about tiny details in his pieces and were shocked that he didn't seem to care as much as they did...

I've heard similar stories about other composers, which I've mentioned in previous posts. I obviously can't speak for all composers - only myself and those I've worked with (and they could have just been having a "who cares" day, so who really knows).

To answer another poster, I'm sure Stoltzman could just play the piece completely as written and it would be captivating. You can't logically infer that he "changes" the piece simply because he is unable to play it "normally". (sorry to rehash the stoltzman issue - but I like the guy!)

DH



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 Re: copland concerto
Author: LeOpus1190s 
Date:   2004-04-15 05:21

Here is something to consider. There are still a few clarinet players around that actually played it under copland. Mel Warner, Clarinet professor at NIU is one of those people (I have seen his signed copy by copland as well). I would think he would have an accurate enterpretation on how to play the piece.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2004-04-15 06:06

theclarinetist wrote: "You can't logically infer that he "changes" the piece simply because he is unable to play it "normally""

Why not? Did you actually read my post? Stolzman changed notes, rhythms, tempi and dynamics. That's not just not playing it normally- it's changing the piece!

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: theclarinetist 
Date:   2004-04-16 03:59

Liquorice -

Did you actually read my post?? By saying that some players (aka not Stoltzman) can not change a piece at all and play it well, you imply that Stoltzman could not play the piece well if he didn't make any "changes". I'm simply pointing out that you can't infer that just because he changes the piece, it means he couldn't play it "normally" - which is exactly what I said the first time.

I don't contest that he "changes" the piece. I'm just saying you can't logically use that as evidence of his inability to play it well without "changes", if he so chose...

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2004-04-16 06:40

theclarinetist- sorry, I misunderstood your post. It was actually a bit ambiguous:

"You can't logically infer that he "changes" the piece simply because he is unable to play it "normally". "

I read that as: "Given that he is unable to play it normally, you can't logically infer that he changes the piece"! If you read your post again you'll see that it could also have been read that way.

I don't dispute that Stolzman could play the piece normally. I just asked why he chooses not to. Why does he actually choose to change the piece? Some performers can play just as expressively without changing the piece, so it's not impossible. My guess would be that Stolzman just doesn't have as much respect for the composer as other musicians have, so changing the odd note here, rhythm there, tempi, etc. doesn't seem important to him.

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2004-04-16 15:54

I am really on side with Greg Smith here...I have found there is something affectatious about Stoltzman's product as of late. Playing to the grandstand is a bit dangerous in music and when things go over the top vulgarity is usually a bit close behind. As to Heifitz who I do admire I part ways...I always thought he played too sharply in relation to the pitch of any orchestra he worked with....maybe it had to do with cutting through the massive sound of an orchestra.

I think the thing that bothers me about Stoltman is the inconsistency even of his vibrato. Where Harold Wright could turn off the vibrato...Stoltman never attempts to whatsoever ...for example the slow music of the Weber 1st I heard recently had the most grotesque throat a's from Mr. Stoltzman that I thought it was a period clarinet. Man....this was really a sell out to bad taste....

As to ritardandos etc...he was really actually quite conservative in the Weber. His tempo in the finale was slow and quite heavy...his high Gs all a bit low and yet he sounded sharp in other registers...I guess maybe I look at these from what I do in an orchestra. And by that I mean how far I can take expression without wrecking my sound...

David Dow

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 Re: copland concerto
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-04-16 16:06

"There can be no freedom without discipline." - Nadia Boulanger

(If you want to learn more about this pillar of music, see http://www.nadiaboulanger.org/. )

Reply To Message
 
 Re: copland concerto
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2004-04-16 16:20

Thanks for the interesting link!!!

In a nutshell she was really a tremendous force who influenced anyone seeking clarity of expression.

David Dow

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