Advertising and Web Hosting on Woodwind.Org!

Woodwind.OrgKeepersThe C4 standard

 
 
 New Topic  |  Go to Top  |  Go to Topic  |  Search  |  Help/Rules  |  Smileys/Notes  |  Log In   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 
 Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: orchestr 
Date:   2008-10-04 02:15

This is similar to my previous post about the Messiaen, but I come from a school of thought of trying to play exactly what the composer writes. That being said, in the cadenza of the Copland concerto, every performance I've heard (probably around 20 out of 20), the clarinetist puts a big ol' fermata and break after the high D that's at the end of the third line of the third page (of my edition). It's 8 measures after the "a tempo (lively)". However, Copland writes no fermata, no breath, no rest, no shorter note value, the rhythm is the exact same as what precedes it and what follows it, so I get no impression that he wanted a break here. So why do people do it?? I'm baffled, especially considering my edition DOES have a sixteenth-note rest 6 measures after "a tempo (lively)" that I take as such an obvious cue to breathe or pause. Not to mention if you break the entire section into 4-bar phrases starting at the cut-time, the sixteenth-note rest fits just fine, but the high D is right in the middle of a 4-bar phrase! Maybe people consider the a tempo at the start of any 4-bar phrasing, but I do not hear it this way. Thoughts?



 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2008-10-04 10:25

Brian wrote:

>> So why do people do it?? >>

Because they come from a school of thought that doesn't take the text seriously.

I agree with you; there is very little musical justification for doing what you describe. And in fact, you lose an important feature of the passage by doing it, because it damages perception of the differing phrase-lengths -- they're notated by the accents, but they can be much more subtly characterised by a performer with tonal modulation at their disposal.

Also, playing too freely spoils the gradual move towards aggression that is a feature of the passage -- it almost becomes a fight between low and high accents, which towards the end can be almost ferocious.

Part of the problem is that there is a sort of follow-my-leader effect generated by famous performers' recordings. I've never had a student play me this piece without reproducing Goodman's little rhythmic quirk at 'hold back -- more deliberate'. (Worth noticing that the '--'s are missing in the clarinet part.) And if you try to tell students to play what is on the page, you are implicitly criticising the 'interpretations' of all these 'great artists' who have felt it necessary to pull the piece about.

The idea of looking at a piece of music to see what is there -- to find a real territory that nevertheless corresponds to the map that the composer has given us -- isn't a high priority for many performers. You could say that they're more interested in the audience effect that they may be able to create. And after all, you'd have to agree that most people in an audience won't be able to recognise when a performer diverges from the score of the Copland concerto, even if it's a very significant divergence.

It's almost an ethical question. I wrote something about it in:

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/2005/08/000322.txt

Anyway, you'll be pleased to know that I never do what you describe myself;-)

Tony



Post Edited (2008-10-06 13:18)

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2008-10-04 11:36

As an afterthought: you mentioned that your post was similar to your previous post about the Messiaen.

But it seems to me that in that case you get a different answer to the question: "What do we LOSE if we do this?"

So, asking "What do we lose in playing the Copland cadenza very freely?" gives me a very definite answer, to do with the structure of the piece. But I find that asking "What do we lose by playing the terrifying crescendo longer than is written?" DOESN'T give me such an answer.

I think rather that the musical IDEA is: the crescendo needs to be 'very long'; and that most probably Messiaen wanted it very long too -- could we say, 'at least as long as he wrote'? -- so we're not damaging anything by playing it longer.

Obviously that's a judgement. But I have thought about it, and tried it both ways. (Of course, it depends on the acoustic, too.)

Another consideration of the same nature arises in the case of the long trill from G to A on the second page. It seems to me that the musical IDEA here is that the trill slows down, 'turning into' the asymmetric eighth plus sixteenth notated rhythm, and then finally comes to rest. So I don't play quite what is written here either; but rather ALLOW the A in the trill to dominate to begin with; and then as the trill slows, progressively let the G take over till the music becomes what is written.

One of our jobs as players is to understand and represent the musical ideas that are inherent in the written notes. In fact, to be living in the world of musical ideas is what it IS to be a good player.

It's a matter of judgement, but in these cases, I think the ideas are clear enough.

Tony

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2008-10-04 15:38

I do a lot more unwritten than that when I play it, and I do something different every time. Sometimes I fermata that D, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I cut the tempo to 1/3 for a few bars a couple phrases later. As far as I'm concerned, it's a cadenza and is free territory for the performer to to do whatever s/he wants with it.

That said, I do appreciate the value of playing it "as written" and think that the performer would be at a loss without at least occasionally playing it strict to the page.

I find I get the most out of a piece when I've played it in as many different ways as I can think of. If I've played it completely straight, I'll have the completely-straight interpretation to pull ideas from when I play it. If I've swung it, I'll have that to pull ideas from. If I've swung it one eighth note offset, I'll have that to pull from. If I've played it littered with fermatas and obnoxious tempo changes, I'll have that to pull from. If I've played it with some notes prolonged making each bar of 4 into two bars of 3 such that it sounds like a Strauss walts, I'll have that to pull from.

Then, when it comes time to actually perform it, I have a lot of different ideas and interpretations to choose from.

I think that we lose a lot in music if we restrict ourselves to one interpretation. What's on the page, I consider to be the composer's indication of "This is a way to make the music sound really cool, and I recommend you play it that way." So I learn it that way first and see what's there.

As a composer, though, I also find value in a few other concepts that others may or may not agree with.

First, any given piece of music put in front of a performer only has one suggested interpretation written on it, but while I'm writing, I may have heard it a few different ways and just picked the one I liked best when it came time to polish the piece off and send it to performers.

Second, I've been pleasantly surprised by what performers have done with my music that I never considered and that isn't written on the page, often so much so that I think "If I were revising this piece, I'd put that in." I generally don't like putting out revisions for various reasons, but that's a different topic.

Third, there are a lot of things that a composer might assume the performers will do in accordance with performance practices of his time and possibly even of his local area and/or the soloist the piece is for. It is very very possible to put too much information on the page (I've done it, to performers' dismay) and so I'll leave things off that I assume the performer will do themselves.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2008-10-04 15:48

Another thing, and I think many will disagree with me on this...

I consider the composer to be only one part of the music making process. Once there are notes on the page, the composer's job is done. The composer has given their input, and indicated how they think something cool can be done.

Without performers, though, the composer has no music (unless he synthesizes it, and unless the piece was intended to be synthesized I'd argue that he STILL has no music). I find music to be a vibrant, interactive, collaborative activity between the performers and, by proxy of written music, the composer. I think it is completely the performer's right to take the music and do whatever they want to with it.

While I think it is valuable to play a piece of music "as the composer intended," I find it equally valuable to explore a piece of music "as the composer most certainly did NOT intend." It keeps the music alive, brings about new ideas, and leads to a sense of freedom and adventure (and, I think, more intimate familiarity with the music) that is so lacking in the "classical" world today.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: NorbertTheParrot 
Date:   2008-10-04 16:17

Can we not argue that Goodman's recording, with Copland conducting, is just as definitive as the printed music - or maybe even more so?

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2008-10-04 16:19

It is my feeling that a cadenza is usually interpreted in a free style. In the 18th and 19th century it often indicated that the performer would make up their own cadenza. With that in mind it is my belief that most cadenzas, the Copland included, is open to some individual playing, certainly with in good taste and musical bounds. The most boring performances I’ve heard of this particular cadenza is when a player simply plays it as fast as possible with no other musical ideas other then exactly what’s written on the page. Was that Copland’s intention? I think not but I guess that’s what individual musicianship means, individual. If it was played exactly as it’s written with no other interpretation it might as well be played on a computer instead of a clarinet. Everyone should perform this with their personal signature and interpretation, but always in good taste and within reasonable bounds. A little slower here, a dim. or cresc. there, a breath or small pause there, not a problem for me as long as it’s musical and not boring. ESP www.peabody.jhu.edu/457
Listen to a little Mozart, no cadenza
(See my correction in a lower post below.)

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

Post Edited (2008-10-04 17:40)

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: NorbertTheParrot 
Date:   2008-10-04 16:54

Ed - with respect, I think you are missing the point of the original question. "Orchestr" was not complaining that performers deviate from Copland's score. He was complaining that they all deviate from Copland's score in *exactly the same way*. This is not evidence of "individual musicianship". It is evidence that they are all copying each other or, as I suggested, that they are taking the Goodman/Copland performance as representing Copland's intentions more faithfully than the score does.

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2008-10-04 17:38

Norbert, you are right, I did miss his point. Thanks for pointing that out. In that case everyone copying each other in exactly the same way is not the way to go either. It may be a good place to start, but not necessarily a good place to end. I know many won't agree with me but when I teach a piece like that I do suggest the student listen to a few different recordings and take what they like from each. I also show them what I like to do and suggest they try some of my suggestions as well. But in the final interpretation I ask them to put something of themselves into the performance. Never simply be a copy of someone else. ESP

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2008-10-06 01:09

Alex wrote:

>> I find I get the most out of a piece when I've played it in as many different ways as I can think of. If I've played it completely straight, I'll have the completely-straight interpretation to pull ideas from when I play it. If I've swung it, I'll have that to pull ideas from. If I've swung it one eighth note offset, I'll have that to pull from. If I've played it littered with fermatas and obnoxious tempo changes, I'll have that to pull from. If I've played it with some notes prolonged making each bar of 4 into two bars of 3 such that it sounds like a Strauss walts, I'll have that to pull from. >>

>> Then, when it comes time to actually perform it, I have a lot of different ideas and interpretations to choose from. >>

Whenever I have discussions of this sort, it always strikes me that I have a very different view from most people here about what 'playing what the composer wrote' consists of.

Alex characterises it as 'completely straight'; and Ed Palanker wrote:

>> If it was played exactly as it’s written with no other interpretation it might as well be played on a computer instead of a clarinet. >>

That's not the way it seems to me at all.

Somebody once said that there is a difference between complex simplicity and simple complexity. The first is superficially simple, but has a deeper structure that acts to draw a listener in and convince them of the sense of what is being presented.

The second is superficially complex; but after a bit the listener can detect that it has no depth, and becomes bored.

Now of course, I have no way of knowing, without hearing it, whether Alex's performance of the Copland cadenza is the one or the other. It might be that his 'pulling' from all these ways of playing it DOES have a sense that I would find convincing.

But somehow I doubt it. Copland's music, for me, has very little to do with that sort of indulgence. (And, by the way, don't think that I can't myself 'pull' that sort of trick. It's the easiest thing in the world to do, for an expert player.)

I choose, rather, to have both surface and depth reflect the directness and simplicity of what Copland wrote. I don't think it a bad idea to regard Copland as a musician who merits my starting by privileging the expression of his ideas over what I might randomly happen to come up with on a given occasion. And I totally reject Ed Palanker's notion that 'playing it as written' means that there is not available to you an infinity of nuances in the dimensions of tonecolour, diminuendo, accent, energy, laidbackness and so on -- NONE of which contradicts the notation, but which may serve to bring alive more fully the musical ideas that are already there.

They are there, that is, only if you take the trouble to think about, and discover, what they are. The great conductor Rudolf Kempe wrote:

"One must not search, one must find. Searching implies conscious manipulation. Finding is the result of devotion to a composer and his music."

The notion that playing what is written must be boring perhaps goes along with the sort of teaching I seem to encounter here -- mostly American teaching, I have to say -- that reduces clarinet playing to ONE GOOD SOUND (as though there were such a thing) and CORRECTNESS of approach to the instrument.

For example, I was startled to read Ed's notion that his ideas of tongue position gave 'a darker sound', which he preferred. Well, sure -- but what about when the music requires a brighter sound, which it often does?

So, given that you have just the one, 'good', dark sound available, I suppose it's not so surprising that if you don't mess about with the rhythms, it gets a bit boring.

There are many other dimensions of variation that don't contradict the notation, like the sorts of subtle variations of tempo that aren't perceived as such, but rather heard as 'heaviness' and 'lightness', all within one overall speed. Then, the simple structure of the triadic arpeggios is preserved; and the way they are presented and then distorted as the cadenza progresses (they have, right from the outset, the intriguing quality of going both up and down SIMULTANEOUSLY; think about it) serves to unify what is clearly a connected discourse.

Apart from all that, what in my view is reprehensible here is the notion that INDIVIDUALITY is to be sought as a positive quality in and of itself. That's an approach to music that has you, right from the outset, tend to want to CHANGE what is there.

The alternative is to take the trouble to find the musical arguments that lie both behind and in the notes, and SPEAK them -- using whatever technical resources you have, or can develop -- in what after all cannot be other than your own voice.

The truth is, if your palette is rich enough, you cannot avoid individuality. C.D.F. Schubart wrote of the harpsichord playing of C.P.E. Bach:

"One is aware of witchcraft without noticing a single magical gesture."

That's an ideal that appeals to me much more than the manipulative Harry Potterisms that Alex purveys. And notice that he says, right at the outset, "I find *I* get more out of a piece when....."

How about the idea of getting US, the audience, INTO the PIECE?-)

Tony



 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: orchestr 
Date:   2008-10-06 02:08

Couple of things: We have to realize that Goodman was a rock star in his time. He also, from what I've heard, could be a real jerk. Maybe Copland didn't want to correct Goodman because he was afraid of him? Who knows? He certainly changed all of his high C#'s because Goodman wasn't happy with them. Also, for argument's sake, should we all play the Cb in m 413 and 415 as a C-natural because the Goodman/Copland recording has it that way?

Secondly, I tend to agree with Tony. I think the end of the cadenza can have a lot of style, and it seems to me almost like a perpetual motion thing that pauses and fermatas might interrupt.

I'm also not sure Copland's marking of "freely" should apply to the whole Cadenza. It definitely applies to those opening phrases of the cadenza, but just because a composer writes an unaccompanied section in a piece doesn't make the entire thing an ad lib cadenza that you can do whatever you want with it.

Final point, Copland is pretty specific with what he wants, writing fermatas, breaths, "slower, hold back, (short), somewhat slower, gradually faster" etc. Seems to me like if he wanted to encourage freedom of interpretation, he would leave all of that out and let us interpret it however we felt it.

I am playing devil's advocate a bit, and I understand some of Alex and Ed's points. I know in the little composing I've done I've a) been open to alternate suggestions for how to play something, and b) left a lot up to the performer, assuming they would know what I meant (maybe Copland assumed we'd just "know" to put a fermata on the high D?). I'm performing this for the first time and I may very well do the same thing if I'm not happy with any other way. It just seems like no one else has questioned it, ever since the "authentic, definitive" Goodman recording. I had a teacher who used to say "A recording is just the last bad interpretation" whenever I'd say "but I have a recording that does such-and-such!"



Post Edited (2008-10-06 16:35)

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2008-10-06 14:36

Tony Pay says above "For example, I was startled to read Ed's notion that his ideas of tongue position gave 'a darker sound', which he preferred. Well, sure -- but what about when the music requires a brighter sound, which it often does?"
This is a quote above when writing about the Copland in this post. My answer to Tony is simple, when the music calls for a brighter sound; I do what I have to in order to get a "brighter" sound. I don't recall writing that I never do that if the music calls for it. I do what works for me, I assume you do what works for you. Everyone needs to do what works best for them, which is the point I have always tried to make. I'm sorry I startled you. ESP

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: William 
Date:   2008-10-06 14:37

You all send me a CD of your Copland performance--I'll keep the one that I like and throw away the rest. End of story!!!!

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: davyd 
Date:   2008-10-06 17:04

As someone who is far more likely to hear this piece than to ever even attempt to play it: I'd rather hear an individual's take on a passage like this. If I wanted to hear BG's interpretation, I'd listen to the recording. If BG's interpretation is the only one that can ever be right, why should anyone else play the piece?

Then again: if I were on an audition committee, I'd want to hear it as it's printed, which I understand is what's expected.

So I suppose it's a matter of "where you stand depends on where you sit".
William wrote:

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: mrn 
Date:   2008-10-06 18:27

I haven't been on here for a few days, but I'm really glad to see someone bring up this topic. I almost started my own thread about this the other day. The other day I happened to sit down with the printed music to this piece without my instrument and without any of my recordings of the piece playing.

When looking at the sheet music, it occurred to me that Copland was pretty detailed in terms of his notation of this cadenza. For example, where he wanted a "short fermata," he says so. So, like the OP, I got to thinking that this non-printed fermata that everybody seems to play is perhaps questionable in terms of what Copland was after. This led me to think that perhaps a re-look at this cadenza in terms of what is printed (as opposed to what's been recorded) might be worthwhile.

As I sat there, I decided to try to imagine what this part of the Copland concerto would sound like if you played everything exactly as written, accents, rhythms and all--to get some idea (independent of Benny Goodman's interpretation) of what Copland was after. And then it hit me--this little section of the concerto has nothing to do with jazz (at least not in the Benny Goodman sense)--as I see it, the inspiration for this section comes almost exclusively from Brazilian music (and perhaps some of Copland's own Latin-flavored pieces like El Salon Mexico or Danzon Cubano--there's a little spot that reminds me of El Salon Mexico in particular).

Now it's well known that there's Brazilian material in the concerto because Copland said so, and it's also well known that Copland wrote most of the concerto in Rio de Janeiro. So it's not like I've discovered anything new. However, after having a look at the music again after many years, I'm beginning to come to the opinion that when most people play this part of the piece, they try really hard to make it sound like Benny Goodman, but in doing so they miss the Latin character of the music.

My feeling is that this piece (especially this section) ought to be played "straight"--not so much because Benny Goodman played it that way, but because that's the way Latin music (even "Latin jazz") is played. To be honest, I never really cared for the cadenza part of this concerto before. But now that I've started looking at it from a more Latin-inspired perspective, I really like it. To me, it makes more musical sense that way.

In short, I think it would be a valid interpretation and worthwhile to try to make the cadenza sound less Benny Goodman-inspired (and less cadenza-like, with so many stops and starts) and more "Carmen Miranda-inspired," lets say, with a more steady rhythm, definite accents in the right places, and so forth. More specifically, I see the cadenza as being in essence a Brazilian choro albeit with Copland-esque flavor (in much the same way that El Salon Mexico is a set of Coplandized Mexican folk tunes). I find that this more Brazilian approach makes the cadenza fit better conceptually with the thematic material of the final 1/3 of the piece. (I also note that this could possibly cause some Spohr-like breathing difficulties in spots, but it does look like Copland at least tried--notice that he throws in an occasional 16th rest after a shortened downbeat [which I see as possibly being his way of giving the player a spot for a quick breath--the commas I interpret as quick and abrupt pauses, not as breaths, per se].) I have some more specific ideas about how to do this, but that would be too much to write in one post.

Listen to the "bridge" of "Tico tico no fuba" to see what I mean. The rhythm is virtually identical to the Copland cadenza:

Here's Carmen Miranda's version (which is a bit on the fast side)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFwNXoEzRgY

Here's a clarinet version with a choro group (clarinets are traditional choro instruments, by the way), Listen to the bridge and see if you don't hear a similarity to the Copland cadenza in rhythm and melodic material:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78XrrxYW5Zk

Villa Lobos' Choro No. 1 has a similar feel (but is more laid back):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAg8VHuXNKU

Anyway, that's my take on this section, for what it's worth. It's not like I can back this up with a whole lot of research or anything. And I certainly wouldn't try to adopt the clarinet tone and the ornamental stuff of the clarinet player in the above clip. But I do think there is something to be gained from viewing this piece from a more Latin point of view, because the essence of that music is there.



Post Edited (2008-10-06 19:41)

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2008-10-06 21:06

Heh... never even considered a Brazilian angle on it, but that makes quite a bit of sense, and could very well work better than just about everything I've heard and tried. Will definitely give that a whirl ASAP!

The difference between "as written" in Classical style vs. Carmen Miranda style is subtle, but I think it could totally make the cadenza way more exciting.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: nielsen57 
Date:   2008-10-06 22:08

Perhaps to let the man himself have a say in this argument...

"The movements [of the Clarinet Concerto] are connected by a cadenza, which gives the soloist considerable opportunity to demonstrate his prowess, while at the same time introduces fragments of the melodic material to be heard in the second movement. The cadenza is written fairly close to the way I wanted it, but it is free within reason--after all, it and the movement that follows are in the jazz idiom. It is not ad lib as in cadenzas of many traditional concertos; I always felt that there was enough room for interpretation even when everything is written out."

-- Aaron Copland, from his autobiography, "Copland: Since 1943", written with Vivian Perlis

His words could, of course, be interpreted in a number of different ways (since, indeed, "within reason" means different things to different people)...my point being that there is value in looking up from the score occasionally and seeking out the larger context (though, to be fair, I'm studying musicology...and musicology students are a bit biased in that regard!). Copland's own words are invaluable in that respect...beside the autobiography, he also wrote an article in the Jan. 1927 issue of "Modern Music" on jazz rhythm in classical music, which was cited in another excellent article entitled "On the Influence of Jazz Rhythm in the Music of Aaron Copland" by Stanley Kleppinger from "American Music", Vol. 21, No. 1...I'm currently awaiting the arrival of the '27 article via interlibrary loan. I love your ideas, mrn, concerning the Brazilian aspect, and the more I study this piece, the more clear the genius of Copland is, in his skillful interweaving of North and South American popular idioms.

Happy reading/listening/practicing everyone!

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2008-10-07 01:10

Nielsen quoted Copland as saying "I always felt that there was enough room for interpretation even when everything is written out." My point exactly. Thank you for reminding us that just because a composer writes something on paper that they don't necessarily expect, or even want, everyone to play it exactly the same way so there's no difference between players. Bravo Nielsen 57. Fine! ESP

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

Post Edited (2008-10-07 01:28)

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: mrn 
Date:   2008-10-07 05:43

Great quote, Nielsen57!

My two cents on interpretation vs. notation: What I try to do is to find a "big picture" understanding of the music that gives the most meaning to the indicated notation. Two people can both follow all the markings in the score, yet still have differing interpretations, because in any given piece there is much that is either not notated or impossible to express in notation. The trick is to find underlying musical ideas that make the notation meaningful. Finding the music from the score in this way is, in a sense, reasoning from first principles.

For example, take bars 107-109 of Copland. This is where there's a series of staccato 8th notes alternating between a high clarion C (on the downbeats) and altissimo E, F#, and A. In every recording I've ever heard (dating back to Goodman), it's the altissimo notes that seem to get the emphasis in bar 107, yet there are no accent marks over the altissimo notes. If you imagine it played on a piano as written and with a steady beat (where the high notes don't necessarily pop out like they do on clarinet), it seems as if the real emphasis ought to be placed on the clarion C's, because they are the downbeats. Now, all of a sudden, the whole passage makes more sense because you can see that bars 107-109 are simply a variation on the same rhythmic motive that appears in the immediately preceding bars--it's a slightly augmented/ornamented/subdivided form of the same little syncopated rhythm, which also shows up in a slightly different context in the third section of the concerto. This rhythm is one of the great unifying concepts of this piece, because it shows up all over the place in different contexts. That's an example of what I mean by a "big picture idea" that makes the notation make more sense.

The trick is that in order to get to this interpretation, you have to go back to first principles as contained in the printed music. You wouldn't get this from simply listening to the Goodman recording or the Stoltzman recording, both of which let the altissimo notes get the emphasis, because that's the natural thing for the clarinet to do.

Are Goodman and Stoltzman "violating" the notation by playing it their way? Absolutely not--what they do doesn't contradict the notation. Nonetheless, it's different from the way I envision this passage.

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2008-10-07 05:45

Ed Palanker wrote:

>> Nielsen quoted Copland as saying "I always felt that there was enough room for interpretation even when everything is written out." My point exactly.>>

But, what that means is that interpretation can take place without changing what is written. Our notation underdetermines performance, because the sort of nuance that makes the Copland cadenza have 'a Brazilian flavour', say, lives in variations of tone-colour and accent-type, not in taking wild liberties with the rhythms and adding spurious fermatas.

My previous point to you was to say that it seems to me that you -- or if not you, then others -- teach 'good clarinet sound' rather than promoting the ability of a student to make those sorts of variations. And notice, PROMOTE. Someone who isn't encouraged to be aware of those things is less likely to find the possibility of using them in musical performance. It's no good just encouraging us to do what we currently 'like', even if in the end that's exactly what performance comes down to. The journey of finding out what we TRULY like has to run up against the real-world opposition of seeing what is missing in our current endeavours.

>> Thank you for reminding us that just because a composer writes something on paper that they don't necessarily expect, or even want, everyone to play it exactly the same way so there's no difference between players. >>

No, of course not. But they expect people to play what they wrote; which as I have tried to explain, is not the same thing.

Tony

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2008-10-07 10:15

>> For example, I was startled to read Ed's notion that his ideas of tongue
>> position gave 'a darker sound', which he preferred. Well, sure -- but
>> what about when the music requires a brighter sound, which it often does?

Assuming you are able to use that different type of sound, that's only a problem if you don't like to. In that case, you can either accept that you'll be doing something you are not so interested in, or another possibility is to not play music which have things you are not interested in playing. Someone doesn't HAVE to play music just because of XYZ... Of course that's completely different from liking or understanding the music.

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2008-10-07 13:30

I was referring rather to the sorts of local sound modulation that occur in speech. They're necessary too, I'd say, to characterise all but the very simplest sorts of clarinet playing, and certainly necessary in order to play the Copland cadenza.

Tony



Post Edited (2008-10-07 13:41)

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2008-10-07 14:27

OK. I was replying to the general concept suggested in your post of basically encountering music that requires you to do something you are not interested in doing. It wasn't clear to me that you meant things that are relevant to just about any typs of playing. Anyway, it also goes along with:

>> The journey of finding out what we TRULY like has to run up against the
>> real-world opposition of seeing what is missing in our current endeavours.

An example could be studying your favorite subject in university and realizing that to get your degree, you will probably need to learn things you actually don't want to learn at all. So some will give up, some will accept that and just do it, some will realize they actually like those things they never thought they would, and some might realize (after studying and undersatnd those things they don't like) that maybe a degree is not so important as they originally thought.... in spite of what your grandfather told you  :) Music is in many ways the same.

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2008-10-07 19:27

clarnibass wrote:

>> An example could be studying your favorite subject in university and realizing that to get your degree, you will probably need to learn things you actually don't want to learn at all. So some will give up, some will accept that and just do it, some will realize they actually like those things they never thought they would, and some might realize (after studying and undersatnd those things they don't like) that maybe a degree is not so important as they originally thought.... in spite of what your grandfather told you. Music is in many ways the same. >>

It seems to me that you're talking about your own choice to play the music that you want to play, rather than the music that perhaps you were expected to play -- and even the music that you thought at the beginning you might want to play.

Of course I understand that, and support you in making your own choice.

But I was rather talking about the requirements that I, and other lovers of already composed music -- including the whole canon of masterpieces for our instrument from just pre-Mozart to the present day -- might want to IMPOSE as a discipline on those who have already CHOSEN to continue with the task of playing it. It's our responsibility, I'd say.

Mike made a very good post that illustrated such a responsible attitude toward that task, as applied to the Copland concerto. Unfortunately, I can't comment in detail on his post, as I don't have a score with me. But I have made posts about the piece myself:

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/1999/09/000786.txt

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/1999/09/000792.txt

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/1999/09/000795.txt

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/1999/09/000817.txt

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/1999/09/000847.txt

...and I think that anyone playing the Copland should consider the issues raised in those posts.

And some parts of the long thread:

http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=184733&t=184698&v=f

...engage with some relevant issues, including the necessity of 'local' modulations of sound to deal adequately with such a piece as the Copland.

See, it just isn't good enough to encourage students to play it 'how you feel it', any more than it's enough to allow decisions about the piece to be determined by the 'market', as Silly Billy suggested here.

Students mostly aren't equipped to play the Copland concerto. They have limited techniques, most of them, and more importantly, limited ideas about how whatever technique they have might be appropriate to play it.

Of course, whatever discipline students go through, in the end they will choose their own voice. But if they have been left to their own devices, and therefore have a very limited range of options within which to choose, they will be disabled.

Ed said that he encouraged his students to listen to discs of famous players, and then to 'mix and match' what they happened to fancy in order to come up with their 'own' performance.

What a crappy way of engaging with the ever-fascinating task of finding the 'big picture' that Mike talked of.

Tony



Post Edited (2008-10-07 19:36)

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: orchestr 
Date:   2008-10-07 19:27

I'm so glad this post has inspired such discussion! I think I've learned more about the cadenza than I ever did in lessons with my former teachers! I totally agree on the latin rhythm, I think I just took it for granted. And I think Michael is right when he says it's not jazzy in the Benny Goodman sense. Copland wanted it "in the jazz idiom", but that doesn't mean it can't be in the LATIN jazz idiom! Most of the latin/choro music I've heard is very rhythmic, very constant, kind of like bluegrass music, and this also argues against putting the pauses in. I practiced the cadenza these past few days and found that I CAN make a statement without putting pauses between phrases, but doing more with accents, dynamics (now I just sing through those high D's, but when it goes down low, I like to get really soft and build to the ff's). I also agree that 10 people can play exactly what is on the page, and play it completely different. I mean, if you tell someone to play a passage and think of a spring meadow, and then play it again exactly the same while thinking of a volcano erupting, they can't help but put in little nuances that change their playing, even when tempo, articulation, accents, rhythm, etc. are basically the same. It's these nuances, these micro-gestures that make music individual to each of us. We don't need to swing the eighths in Copland to make a statement!

So, going back to the Brazillian element, I have a big question. As we all know, Copland said, "a phrase from a currently popular Brazilian tune, heard by me in Rio, became embedded in the secondary material." Does anyone know what this "popular" Brazilian tune was?

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2008-10-07 19:34

Tony, I think you are reading my statements through too narrow window. Just because I, or others, teach and stress good sound, and keep in mind that I’ve already stated in previous posts, that doesn’t mean they have to sound like me, that we don’t teach to the music as well. Of course I teach a student, and play myself, a variation of style and sound when the music calls for it. No, I won’t do or teach something that I don’t like or think is wrong just for the sake of variation. As I said, I teach a good sound because a student in America can not get a good job without having a good sound, but I also try to teach them to be good musicians and that includes just about everything. Please don’t pick out one aspect of something I, or others say, and make it sound like that’s the only thing we do or teach. In this case, Copland said what he said, that doesn’t mean he, or me, is suggestion that it be played in any old way that we want, there is such a thing as good taste and being musical and I’ve already pointed that out in one of my earlier posts. That was the whole point of my answer in the first place. Let’s not stretch every point that someone makes. You don’t know my teaching style just because I’ve made some points trying to help out other people when they request an answer. I tell them what I do or my opinion and hope it helps them and from the e-mails I often receive I think I’ve been very successful. ESP

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: mrn 
Date:   2008-10-07 22:44

orchestr wrote:

<<So, going back to the Brazillian element, I have a big question. As we all know, Copland said, "a phrase from a currently popular Brazilian tune, heard by me in Rio, became embedded in the secondary material." Does anyone know what this "popular" Brazilian tune was?>>

I wish I knew. I'll bet somebody in Brazil knows, though. :)

Here's an interesting quote from Copland that gives further support to the argument that the Clarinet Concerto ought to be played "straight":

"Some of the second movement material represents an unconscious fusion of elements obviously related to North and South American popular music: Charleston rhythms, boogie woogie, and Brazilian folk tunes."

All three of these musical genres are usually played with straight (or almost straight) eighths. They're not swing.

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2008-10-07 22:54

brn, that's a good quote, thanks for relaying that. I've always thought of the concerto the same way, except of course for the Cadenza, which I think of much the same a Copland himself. You've been very helpful with your posts.
Thanks, ESP

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: mrn 
Date:   2008-10-09 04:32

Thanks.

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2008-10-09 18:26

Ed Palanker wrote,
>>I know many won't agree with me but when I teach a piece like that I do suggest the student listen to a few different recordings and take what they like from each. I also show them what I like to do and suggest they try some of my suggestions as well. But in the final interpretation I ask them to put something of themselves into the performance. Never simply be a copy of someone else.>>

Although it makes sense to encourage students to listen to a variety of performances, instead of fixating on just one and slavishly copying it, "take what they like from each" sounds risky -- sounds like a method that could lead to a disorganized jumble of bits and pieces. The great compositions and the great performances have a powerful momentum: the composer and then the interpreter each have a strong sense of where the music is going and why. Every note sounds inevitable. The listener doesn't stop to think, "Wait a minute. Did the composer write a rest there? Does that note have a fermata?" The mere fact that we're questioning whether these interpretations work means they don't work. If they worked, it wouldn't occur to us to question them.

That sense of drive, momentum, is why, for instance, a performance of Bach's "The Art of Fugue" sounds so devastating when the performer doesn't try to interpret (guess) what Bach might have meant to do next, but instead plays precisely what Bach wrote and no more, and thus ends the performance abruptly, jarringly, at the point where Bach died before he finished writing. That sense of "line" is so strong in Bach that interrupting it, breaking it off in the middle, feels like an electric shock--and serves to make the point that what precedes *does* have this power of momentum.

I'm an amateur, but FWIW (having taken piano from a teacher who asked me never to listen to a recording until I'd worked all the way through a piece by myself) I think the best place for a student to learn the momentum of any given piece is not in other people's performances, but in close analysis of what the composer wrote. It seems that most pieces, including Copeland (in large part because of Goodman), gather a collection of interpretative encrustations like the barnacles on the bottom of the hull. The weight of them can sink the boat if they're not cleared off now and then -- as the weight of past performances can confuse or even discourage a student.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2008-10-09 21:46

Thank you Leila, I said many might not agree with me. I do what I find works for me and my students. Just so you know, I don't ask them to listen to recordings before they learn the piece, only to give them some "other" ideas on interpretation once they learn the notes and use a little of their own musicial experiences so they don't become carbon copies of my interpretation. I usually give them several ideas myself and might even refer to other players interpretation when giving them ideas. I really want them to learn to be their own person when they learn a piece but I think it helps most students to listen to several other players and get ideas from others as well, both what they like and don’t. I want them to learn to be discriminating and not just copy anyone, including me. It's all a matter of philosophy. I never claim that my way is always the right way, but for me it works. I really hope that all teachers do what they think is best and works for them. I’m not telling anyone else to do what I do, I’m simply saying what works for me. ESP.

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2008-10-09 22:12

Lelia wrote:

" The mere fact that we're questioning whether these interpretations work means they don't work. If they worked, it wouldn't occur to us to question them."

I'll have to disagree with that. Different people have different criteria for something working or not. One might not question whether an interpretation works, whereas another person might be aghast as to how much something doesn't work.

Also, with something like the Copland, there is so much discussion about what to do with the cadenza and what works and what doesn't in the clarinet community that many of us would likely, before the performer plays a single note of the piece, already have going through our heads, "I wonder what they'll do with the cadenza, and if it will work."


I do agree with what I think both Lelia and Ed are saying, though, that listening to something just to copy it in whole (carbon copies) or in part (disorganized jumble) can tend to miss the point. Rather, listening to a bunch of different interpretations, I think, is more useful to offer ideas for the *type* of thing you might interpret differently. A sort of give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish situation.


In other news, I tried playing the cadenza with some Carmen Miranda flavor the other night. It's really tricky to keep up the momentum, especially since I haven't worked on it in a while and usually tend to fermata and rubato the living daylights out of it. I like the feel, and I think it can, erm, work really well once I get it back up to performance level.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: mrn 
Date:   2008-10-10 00:52

EEBaum wrote:

> I do agree with what I think both Lelia and Ed are saying,
> though, that listening to something just to copy it in whole
> (carbon copies) or in part (disorganized jumble) can tend to
> miss the point. Rather, listening to a bunch of different
> interpretations, I think, is more useful to offer ideas for the
> *type* of thing you might interpret differently. A sort of
> give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish situation.

I think the important issue is not whether or not to adopt ideas from reference recordings, but rather, whether you know *why* you're doing one thing or another, irrespective of whether the idea (or the inspiration therefor) came from someone else's performance or not. (Or "how to use recordings" rather than "whether to use recordings")

I think it's more important to ask questions like: Does this make musical sense? Is it compatible with the other interpretational choices I've made? Does adopting this performance practice put me at odds with the composer's ideas?

In respect of the last question, there is a difference between ideas and notational details. For example, virtually nobody follows Debussy's exact tempo indications in the Premiere Rhapsodie--much of the piece would seem too slow and much of the spirit of the piece would be lost if everybody played it that slowly. Notation is an indication of the composer's intent, but it is not perfect. It's up to us to find deeper musical meaning behind the notation--we have to make the notation make sense musically. Sometimes recordings can help us find that meaning, occasionally they can throw us off track, but the task is still the same, regardless. But in any case, my philosophy is that the written score is still the primary source--everything else is commentary/interpretation.

> In other news, I tried playing the cadenza with some Carmen
> Miranda flavor the other night. It's really tricky to keep up
> the momentum, especially since I haven't worked on it in a
> while and usually tend to fermata and rubato the living
> daylights out of it. I like the feel, and I think it can, erm,
> work really well once I get it back up to performance level.

Personally, I think it's a lot trickier to play it "Brazilian style" (or my interpretation of Brazilian style, anyway)--especially those bars 107-109 I mentioned earlier. Playing that altissimo A that quickly and staccato, for instance, is really hard to do. So I have a way to go on it, myself, before I'm going to be happy with it. When I pulled it out the other day, I hadn't played a note of Copland since I worked on it as a high school student 14 years ago. I think I appreciate this piece a lot more (and Copland's work in general) as an adult, though--even if my "Copland fingers" are a bit rusty.  :)



Post Edited (2008-10-10 04:21)

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2008-10-10 05:01

Yeah, it's a heck of a lot trickier. Though I'm having some luck stylistically by making the notes longer yet markedly separated, rather than straight-up staccato.

We must have different bar numbers (??!). For me, the cadenza starts at 115 (and, oddly enough, ends at 120). Though I know the part you're talking about, and yeah, that part is especially trickified.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: mrn 
Date:   2008-10-10 15:28

EEBaum wrote:

> Yeah, it's a heck of a lot trickier. Though I'm having some
> luck stylistically by making the notes longer yet markedly
> separated, rather than straight-up staccato.

That's essentially what I've been doing.

> We must have different bar numbers (??!). For me, the cadenza
> starts at 115 (and, oddly enough, ends at 120). Though I know
> the part you're talking about, and yeah, that part is
> especially trickified.

How strange! My part is exactly the same as yours--I just never noticed this strange numbering before. I got to "107-109" by simply counting backward from 120. But that's not exactly right, is it? I guess you don't really need rehearsal numbers in a cadenza, but it would sure be nice if they'd use letters instead of bar numbers if they're going to pull a stunt like that. It's clearly not a 5 bar cadenza. I wonder what the orchestra parts look like.

Oh well, I guess it's a B&H thing--the company famous for its wide-bore clarinets publishes "wide-bar" cadenzas to play on them!

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2008-10-11 16:44

>> It seems to me that you're talking about your own choice
>> to play the music that you want to play, rather than the
>> music that perhaps you were expected to play

Not exactly. What I meant was trying to give maybe another suggestion about this:

>> Mike made a very good post that illustrated such a responsible
>> attitude toward that task, as applied to the Copland concerto.

What I meant (sorry if it wasn't clear) is that someone who is going to change a composed piece should possibly ask themselves why they are even going to play it.

>> But I was rather talking about the requirements that I, and other
>> lovers of already composed music -- including the whole canon of
>> masterpieces for our instrument from just pre-Mozart to the present
>> day -- might want to IMPOSE as a discipline on those who have
>> already CHOSEN to continue with the task of playing it. It's our
>> responsibility, I'd say.

First, I don't know about "lovers of already composed music". Maybe promoters is a better word. This implies, maybe unintenationally, that people who don't play this music don't/can't love it just as much. But "we" do! Some of us at least. "We" (again, some of "we") can love a written piece and listen to it as much as anyone, and try to undersatnd all the details of it. This doesn't mean "we" would want to play it. Listening to ALL music this way is IMO a great way to improve in whatever music you are choosing to play.

Anyway, my point is that even if someone is a "promoter of already composed music" it is very possible they can realize that not all "already composed music" is something they should play. Maybe not even all good "already composed music".

>> See, it just isn't good enough to encourage students to play it
>> 'how you feel it', any more than it's enough to allow decisions
>> about the piece to be determined by the 'market'

Exactly! Sometimes it's even more basic than that... the decision of playing a cetain piece itself is determined by the market, which will very possibly lead to what you wrote.



Post Edited (2008-10-11 16:47)

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: orchestr 
Date:   2008-10-13 22:05

This conversation is getting more and more philosophical as the posts continue. So I'm going to add something a little silly that I did with the cadenza, but it gave me a bit of a revelation!

I have a DB-90 Dr. Beat metronome, and it has these different rhythms built into it: waltz, samba, rock, jazz, etc. I set it to rhythm #20, which is a simple clave rhythm, a little slow, about 104, and played the 2nd page of the cadenza with this horrible MIDI clave drum rhythm.

...And I'll tell you what, it worked SO WELL. I played it for another clarinet playing friend of mine, and her response was, "Oh my God, that's it! That's how it should be played! That's the perfect accompaniment!" The hard part, which I believe is why everyone plays the cadenza rubato anyway, is endurance. I have to take quick breaths in weird places, my tongue gets tired, my embouchure gets tired, my brain gets tired... However, now I play it very evenly, and I can really groove without any pauses or tempo fluctuation until the very end. As long as l use the accents and dynamics and articulation to keep it from sounding like it was played on a computer, I think it's really effective. Maybe I'll post a recording after my recital.



 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: mrn 
Date:   2008-10-14 01:50

orchestr wrote:

> This conversation is getting more and more philosophical as the
> posts continue. So I'm going to add something a little silly
> that I did with the cadenza, but it gave me a bit of a
> revelation!

That doesn't sound silly--it sounds like you had basically the same sort of "revelation" I had about playing the cadenza with a steady beat and a Latin feel. Like you, I've found that with the more metric interpretation, you can slow it down a tad and still make it interesting (although breathing is hard)

I'd love to hear what your interpretation sounds like!

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2008-10-14 03:04

Nitai wrote:

>> What I meant (sorry if it wasn't clear) is that someone who is going to change a composed piece should possibly ask themselves why they are even going to play it. >>

I suppose that it didn't occur to Alex -- for example -- that he was CHANGING the Copland. He thought that he was doing the job of INTERPRETING it.

But that sort of confusion is quite common. It's usually applied to earlier music, though; modern composers like Copland are assumed for some reason to have written 'what they wanted' more than someone like Schumann, say, who is fair game for the free-fantasist.

(I say Schumann because I once heard an execrable performance of the Fantasiestucke by the 'cellist Natalia Gutman, who went on to give a wonderful account of the Britten sonata. She thought that Britten knew what he wanted, and presumably Schumann, not. She afterwards said, "Do you STILL prefer it on the clarinet?" to a Russian student of mine she knew who was at the concert with me -- to which I wanted to reply that she wasn't entitled to use the word 'it' in her question, because she hadn't played IT, having ignored all Schumann's dynamics, phrasing and tempo indications. But I didn't.)

So I agree with you. And indeed, if I find that I can't see my way to have a piece 'work' without imposing something on it that has no justification in the text itself -- so that I'm just using the text as a sort of 'note-quarry' for my own devices -- I generally try not to play the piece.

Since we're being 'philosophical':-) here's an unusual example of misrepresenting a piece because of marketing considerations: I was once asked to play what used to be called 'The Wagner Adagio' in a chamber music programme. So I said that of course we would play it, but that it had recently been discovered to be, not by Wagner, but by Heinrich Baermann (a movement from his septet for clarinet, strings and two obbligato horns) and should therefore appear in the programme as by Baermann, its true author. The director of our chamber ensemble reported this to the concert promoter who came back saying that no, she wanted the Wagner Adagio, which was how it had to appear on the programme. So I refused to play it under those conditions.

Something like the Cage solo clarinet sonata is (perhaps) different. Here there are no contextual instructions, like dynamics or phrasing. It's all just note-rhythm content, apart from a tempo instruction at the beginning of each of the movements. So you have to do SOMETHING. And what I've often done is played the movements in between the movements of something else -- once a Machaut mass, and once more recently between, and occasionally during, the movements of the Saint-Saens sonata. That gives some musical leverage for decisions about how to play the notes, because you have a context to work with and against.

So you see that I'm not that much of a purist about composers' intentions -- just a purist about being HONEST when we are making free with them, and not pretending that somehow we are justified in doing what we do by the slippery notion of 'interpretation'.

I'm very glad, by the way, that Brian, Mike and perhaps Alex, are finding ways to play the Copland without messing about with it. And surely, that's what we should always BEGIN with, rather than with other people's recorded messes -- whoever they are.

Tony



Post Edited (2008-10-14 07:33)

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2008-10-14 08:53

>> And surely, that's what we should always BEGIN with, rather
>> than with other people's recorded messes -- whoever they are.

In university I had a class called "Introduction to Composition". In reality it was a teacher who usually just brought a lot of music pretty much no one in the class has ever heard before. One thing he used to do a lot of times is not tell us who the player/composer was before we listened. A few times he brought especially bad music played by a very famous musician, to prove a point.

The same can sometimes work for written music too. Sometimes actually being unfamiliar with the music and all the details that are written actually helps. For example, I've never seen the Copland Concerto notes and have no idea how it is written, but I listened to the several versions I have after not listening to it for a long time.

I listened to the cadenza, and having no idea how Copland meant for it to be, I had only my sense to follow the logic of the playing in relation to the music. Some things are hard to tell, at least at first, but some are pretty obvious. I think it's a matter of understanding the logic in the music and why certain things wouldn't be a good idea. If, for example, someone isn't familiar with certain ideas and a style that is in this cadenza, there is a good chance they will not know how to play it with these ideas. In one version I have, the player obviously is familiar with a lot of things in the cadenza, so he completley exaggerates it, which turns out terrible.

Maybe it's important to explain it has nothing to do with personal taste (or as close to nothing as possible). If I liked that particular version I would have no problem admiting it. Actually I didn't like it, but there is a lot of music that objectively I think has a lot of problems, bad ideas, wrong playing, etc. but I still like it. There's a good chance some people will like that version, but in spite of this, the problam is exactly what you explained here:

>> being HONEST when we are making free with them, and
>> not pretending that somehow we are justified in doing
>> what we do by the slippery notion of 'interpretation'.

 
 Re: Copland Cadenza Interpretation?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2008-10-14 17:21

Tony wrote:

>>
So you see that I'm not that much of a purist about composers' intentions -- just a purist about being HONEST when we are making free with them, and not pretending that somehow we are justified in doing what we do by the slippery notion of 'interpretation'.

I'm very glad, by the way, that Brian, Mike and perhaps Alex, are finding ways to play the Copland without messing about with it. And surely, that's what we should always BEGIN with, rather than with other people's recorded messes -- whoever they are.
<<

While I might suggest that the composer's intentions may be "do whatever you want with this, mess with it, screw it up, whatever" and he just didn't write that on the score (which is often the case with what I write), I think I can be comfortable with your suggestion. I might word it "as written" rather than "composer's intentions", but that's more semantics than anything else.

When I mess with a piece of music, I make no claims to myself of accuracy to the page, but rather take an "I think it sounds cool this way too" angle. People who have heard me take the Copland cadenza to the practice room rather than what I'll play for, say, an audition committee will vouch for that.

The problem, for me, can arise with different opinions of whether messing with the music is appropriate. It's probably marketing more than anything else. If I play my wholly messed-with version for someone and claim that it's an "interpretation", there will probably be more acceptance from some circles than if I claim I'm screwing with the piece. Most of my circles are cool with the idea of messing around with what's written, but a few can be hypercritical of that, so "interpretation" may be a bit of double-speak to gloss over it and pretend it's not happening. Like "enhanced interrogation techniques." :)

Oddly enough, since I've always heard the Copland with a few gallons of rubato slathered on top, to my ears playing it as written feels like I'm messing with it.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

 Avail. Forums  |  Threaded View   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 


 This thread is closed 
Search Woodwind.Org

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

The Clarinet Pages
is sponsored by:

For Sale
Put your ads for items you'd like to sell here. Free! Please, no more than two at a time - ads removed after two weeks.

Mouthpieces & Barrels
Fine makers of mouthpieces and barrels, from wood to crystal to hard rubber and plastic

Instruments
Retailers and manufacturers of clarinets, both modern and early replica

Events
Major events especially for clarinetists

Music & Books
CDs, Sheet Music, and some of the greatest reference books ever written!

Miscellaneous
Services and products too varied to categorize! Repair, recording, news

Accessories
Accessories that every clarinetist needs - reed makers and shapers, ligatures, greases, oils, and preservatives ... and more!

Reeds
Great reeds available from around the world

Service
Instrument repairs, restorations, adjustments, and overhauls.

 
     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact charette@woodwind.org