Repeats?

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RE: Repeats?

Chris

Good point about the ornaments. While not being related directly to repeats one does have the same problem with recordings of Nielsen's fifth, where the timpani part has the very important role of trying to stop the orchestra. If you have one recording playing every time it begins to feel like that is the score - and I think, if my memory serves me right, Lutoslawski in the Chain 2 gives a similar freedom to the violin to play as the soloists pleases. Then there are the randomised instructions in Cage etc.

Regarding hearing the same ornaments over and over again I am not so worried - when listening to a different performance it leads to your expectations being challenged, which is a good thing don't you think?

Naupilus

RE: Repeats?

N, Interesting comment. Plenty of Lutoslawski scores have random passages so, yes, if we have only one recording the point of these is lost. Ditto Nielsen's fifth (but you wrote timps when it is side drum). And how about cadenzas? Now it seems standard that certain cadenzas are played in certain works and if the performer dares stray, eyebrows are raised (for example in Alicia de Larrocha's recording of Beethoven's fourth concerto). Cadenzas were supposed to test a virtuoso's improvisory skills - but what is improvisory about playing the same old Joachim cadenza in Brahms's VC (to give an obvious example)?

RE: Repeats?

Bazza

Thanks for the correction on the Nielsen - I was to lazy to check really!

As for cadenzas well I think again we should let performers decide. Some decisions do seem at best idiosyncratic (Kremer springs to mind!) but others are often interesting - the new Brahms VC from DG uses a Busoni cadenza.I wonder why more musicians today do not ask contemporaries for cadenzas?

One cadenza that I really value is Beethoven's from the violin concerto, which he originally wrote for the piano transcription of the concerto. I just find that first choice - sadly very rarely followed.

Naupilus

RE: Repeats?

c hris johnson wrote:

...sensu stricto...

Oh gawd - you're infected, Chris! LOL

c hris johnson wrote:

...an anti-Bazza, and edit-in a repeat simply by copying the first time.

That's what I did with Firkusny - so a full-on Bazza. :D

RE: Repeats?

To the original question, depends, depends. In Mozart, e.g. the quintet first movement expositions, they seem to me an essential component of the overall structure, throwing what happens subsequently into high relief. In Schubert 9 they turn an already-prolix work into a bore. Surely in many cases they were designed to familiarize audiences with the basic material and their composers themselves would omit them in recordings. With exceptions. It always seems to me that the first movement exposition repeat in Mahler 6 serves an essential purpose. The sense of being on a treadmill, of drudgery and routine is entrenched by the repeat and lends the development a feeling of catharsis, almost iconclasm.

RE: Repeats?

Chris

I am not sure I would call it cheating but certainly it's cutting corners. People with better music than me (which would not have to be much!) maybe can answer whether in general repeats are meant to be played exactly the same? Given that I suspect most pianists would try to offer something different second time round I suspect that a conductor might feel that a repeat offered the opportunity to subtly shift focus at points.

Another things strikes me too, which is perhaps just plain silly, but when as a listener one comes back to a repeat it is very different from hearing a section for the first time, as one has heard it before. Possibly metaphysical tosh...

Naupilus

RE: Repeats?

c hris johnson wrote:

...don't you think the practice is cheating?

If a commercial recording does it, I suppose it is. But can anyone tell the difference? If a conductor/performer is going to pay it exactly the same, just patch in the first take. Recordings are jigsaw puzzles anyway so not really something to worry about.

Does anyone think a totally different interpretation of a repeat would affect the continuity of the piece? I have seen reviewers moaning because a theme was recapitulated faster so I doubt if it would go down too well.

Naupilus - your metaphysical assertion is correct. And hearing an exposition repeat is just like rereading a chapter to re-familarise yourself with the characters.

 

RE: Repeats?

Sir Adrian Boult, in talking about the symphonies of Brahms, had this to say: "I always do the first movement exposition repeat in the Third and usually in the First and Second. It depends on the circumstances of the concert - how much time there is and whether the audience is sitting on comfortable seats or hard wooden benches. Artistically I think they should always be done." Regarding the 2nd Symphony he said "I think it will be heard in the recording (EMI) that the repeat is slightly faster and I try to make the long crescendo still more exciting the second time - it's very important that it should not be exactly the same. To repeat the exposition is sometimes excessive, in the Eroica for example, and I used to feel that with Brahms in the days when it never occurred to me to do the thing differently the second time. But I think that if Brahms put the repeat in then you ought to do it - he built his movement in expectation of that repeat. Of course in Mozart Serenades I feel he just put repeat marks because the Archbishop was having a long dinner - a 'We might as well play the thing twice" attitude!"

Bliss
RE: Repeats?

I need to hear Sir Adrian's Brahms. I have heard good things about it.

RE: Repeats?

I agree with the rough consensus here: if there's good music in the turn-around, or if the composer took the trouble to write the section out twice (copy-paste in Sibelius doesn't count!) then the repeat should be taken. Otherwise, for music composed before recordings, best thing is to omit it. I'm aware of the option of making the repeat different/more exciting, but most musicians seem to lack the ability to do this to any notable degree.

'Art doesn't need philosophers. It just needs to communicate from soul to soul.' Alejandro Jodorowsky

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