Chamber "Reductions"

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janeeliotgardiner wrote:

janeeliotgardiner wrote:

 

That's really my point, in some ways. This was standard practice for centuries. Now, we have suddenly become ultra-purist about the whole business. Either the full work in the complete, authorised version - or nothing!

 

I think you are misguided there Jane. There is plenty of sense in that. The whole things has nothing to do with purist attitudes and such, but with "access". Back then they needed these reduced versions, now the situation has changed radically as we can have the orchestra at home. So for us to show some attention to them is a totally different thing, more to do with intellectual curiosity maybe, or with compulsive consumption, or a few other things.

 

In fact there is not lack of interest as you say (since the practice died of natural causes, as it were) but a current awakening in this interest.

Financial gain

Thanks, Jane.

I wonder what happened to the Mozart / Beethoven / etc. reductions? Are they not worth safeguarding?

Reducing to gain financially is an interesting issue, implicating the worth of the original works (from the composer's point of view).

I'm afraid I am going to

I'm afraid I am going to insist on the "purist" angle, Camaron. Obviously, I am well aware of the changing contexts etc and the impact this has had on the market for "reductions". I think, in addition to questions of access and so on, there is also a matter of attitudes. And these really are different. My sense, from reading books on Mozart, Bach etc was that people then were much less concerned with questions of authenticity and fidelity to the text etc. They would happily knock out salon versions of bigger pieces, or transcribe from one instrument to the next. Whereas we are obsessed with authenticity. Consider the way we think of improvisation now. Where it was once standard - and even applauded - it is now frowned on. The text has become sacred and must not be tampered with at all costs. This is a fundamental difference in attitude towards musical performance. 

Now, this changing attitude may well be explained by the rise of recording technology, but this only an explanation: it doesn't eliminate the attitude, which remains as a historical fact.

(Off for the rest of the day now.........incase you were going to respond immediately.)

Purpose, scope etc. of "reducing" the original.

We did not witness a "wider distribution", let alone a higher reputation, of Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 11-14 because of their "reduced" version, neither in their time nor afterwards. It was purely a need for an occasion of the particular times. Pure circumstances! In some cases, it served particular group of musicians to perform a wider repertory (the case of Salomon's "reductions" of Haydn's Symphonies did not make any favour to the composer; rather to Salomon!).

Finally, I do not see any real "trade off". The original works function in their own form and environment, the chamber ones in their own and for their own purpose.

In most of the concerts of Chamber Music I helped to organise, we almost always suggest or commission transcriptions, arrangements, "reductions" in general, of famous works to use them as a "vehicle" for the capabilities (virtuosity, precision, articulation, musicianship etc.) of the participating musicians. We have made this kind of "arrangements" on Rossini's Barber of Seville, Mozart's Overtures to Figaro and Cosi, Shostakovich's Second Waltz (from Jazz Suite no.2), Khachaturian's Sabre Dance, Operatic Arias and many more. It is not a big deal but it is a highly entertaining process and with rewarding results for audiences and the performers. Nothing more.

Parla

P.S.: C. Catsaris, in his latest release, on his own label Piano21, presents Beethoven's Fifth in the original form and in a solo Piano version arranged by the pianist. Is it going to add or offer anything?..Likewise, he released, some time ago, a double CD, where he performed Chopin's Second Concerto in four verions: a) the original one with Orchestra, b) a solo Piano version, arranged by the composer, c) the version for Piano and String Quintet, arranged by David Lively and d) a version for two Pianos, arranged by the composer and with some contributions from "friends". Does it raise any eybrows?..

I don't know Jane. You seem

I don't know Jane. You seem to believe that the "lack", or the small number of these reduced versions and other things, is to do with the dogma of authenticity. But where you see small numbers I see a "proliferation" of reduced versions, and I think it is just to do with the recording companies "testing" to see if there is a market for it. If there is enough of a niche audience for them then musicians will be hired and paid to produce them. And these musicians might have their own ideas about the value of the practice, just as Beethoven and the rest indeed had, but they will do it and get the money.

parla wrote:
parla wrote:

We did not witness a "wider distribution", let alone a higher reputation, of Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 11-14 because of their "reduced" version, neither in their time nor afterwards. It was purely a need for an occasion of the particular times.

This makes sense. Perhaps reductions are fine for the moment, but the published version is for the times to come (you and me).

parla wrote:

parla wrote:

We did not witness a "wider distribution",

 

No idea who you mean by "we". "Wider distribution" means more sells, that's all. You make an arrangement, gets sold, you get paid for it. Back then it wasn't about recordings, it was about printed scores.

 

parla wrote:

it is a highly entertaining process and with rewarding results for audiences and the performers. Nothing more.

Nothing less!

More or less

Camaron,

I believe the premise (including the composer's) is that the reductions are not the Piano Concertos. (Why orchestrate if otherwise?)

Jane,

I do not believe reduction is completely analagous to ornamentation.

Brahms

Camaron,

I do not believe the average home owner can play the original piano part of the 2nd Concerto, let alone adding the orchestral parts.

tjh212 wrote:

tjh212 wrote:

Camaron,

I do not believe the average home owner can play the original piano part of the 2nd Concerto, let alone adding the orchestral parts.

 

Do you mean Chopin's? If so, that is a different case. Chopin used the reduced version for rehearsing, and very likely for private concertos at the fancy residences. I think it got printed and published too, but you would think that amateur pianists were not its public.

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