Creativity versus Scholarship

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Last post
Regarding Parla's Comments

‘Finally, collectors of serious interest in specific repertory, works or composers try to get practically any version available, simply and mostly on account of their differences.’

 

You bring up an enlightened observation Parla. The current market suggests that if one were to look at a list of Beethoven Piano Sonata recordings released within the past ten years, it would require deep pockets to acquire them all. And the likelihood would be, that at a handful of these recordings could be considered exceptional.

 

‘In the past, artists of Classical Music tried to create a persona around the performer which, in quite a few cases, enhance the interest and the memory of the audience for their love of known but even unknown works (a Karajan's view on Beethoven, Scarlatti by Horowitz etc.). Nowadays, numerous soloists, conductors, Chamber Ensembles, even Orchestras appear, through the various media (CD, many live concerts, TV, Youtube etc.), almost anywhere.’

 

My thought is that thousands of today's musicians with recording contracts are inundated by the pressure to deliver  definitive interpretations. How can a young recording artist release a new Mendelssohn Violin Concerto that sells to the point of buffering production costs, much less gross a desirable profit margin while insuring an extended contract with that label?

 

 

Given these demands, I can’t see how musicians can fall short of  academic research endeavors and the need to augment a creative aesthetic within a work that’s been recorded by now a thousand times over. And even worse, consistently bring this same level of artistry throughout the span of their contractual agreement. I sometimes believe that the competition is much greater than most people realize.

goofyfoot

A reply to Goofyfoot's response.

Goofyfoot, I recognise the truth in your last response. From my side, allow me to reply to some points:

Maybe (or probably) none of the Beethoven's Piano Sonatas of the last decade is truly "exceptional". However, most of them are characterised by certain differences, some fresh some less new(er). For a collector though, they can be interesting additions to existing recordings for various reasons and for their different approach and results.

As one of the not so many who follow virtually all the new recordings almost all over the world, I can assure you that there is much pressure to "today's musicians for at least some worthwhile interpretations. However, these musicians are not (unfortunately rather often) happy enough to see their final product to reflect their efforts (cheap or not that professional productions, hasty procedures, lack of vision, talent and some more).

The competition is stiff. There is no question about it. The actual issue is, nevertheless, whether this competion promotes the idea and notion of excellence to the effect of leading the "today's musicians" towards exceptional or definitive performances and recordings. My experience both from live performances and recordings the last few decades make me feel that these musicians never manage to truly reach a level of exceptional character, brilliance in their performances and a unique persona in their artistry. They have too many things to do, in such a hasty manner, in a fast moving world. Very few take their time to get mature enough and indulge in their art, so that they may create their own trademark in any work they have to perform.

Only here in the Oriental Asia, plenty of soloists present technically excellent interpretations both in live performances and even in recordings. However, none managed to convince even their own people that even one of them is such an exceptional artist, let alone to get through the international arena. A techically superb Viola player told me that he feels like a..."waiter", asked every now and then to serve whatever is on order by conductors, producers of concerts etc. No time (but even apetite) for actual improvement, deepening and mastering his Art.

Parla

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