Some thoughts on editing

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RE: Some thoughts on editing

CARLOS PINHEIRO JR - this is something I heard a few times over the years, and of course you are correct with regard to Pollini's astounding technique.  I would agree with you, that such edits reflect a perfectionism of the highest order - a bit like a film director having actors try a line in many different ways, and later deciding which parts to use from each takes.  All takes are valid and correct, but it happens that one may capture something unique that others do not.

RE: Some thoughts on editing

I have mixed feelings about this issue in general. In ways it reminds me of a conversation that I had concerning Jan Vermeer and his use of the camera obscura. And, I associate the Vermeer scenario to what Michelangelo might have done with the Sistine Chapel had projectors and Photoshop been an option for him versus red chalking paper cartoons onto the ceiling' wet plaster.

 

When and where does integrity begin and end? It seems as though technological advancement is inherent to artistic evolution but does learning to sing well matter if pitch correction can believably correct so many mistakes? My notion is that there is room for both but the idea that pitch correction therefore becomes a substitution for excellent singing is wrong and that the two should never be confused as being the same. This is why I think record lables are dishonest in not providing an edited and an unedited version within a single release. I'm just glad to see that there are also others who care about preserving authentic recording practices.

goofyfoot

One way to resolve the

One way to resolve the "tension" between live concerts, on one hand, and heavily edited recorded performances, on the other, is to start with the premiss that tastes in music are ultimately "subjective" or, at the very least, "intersubjective".   Accordingly, one can accept that some listeners have a subjective preference for live performances; while others are happy to listen to everything from live performances to heavily edited recordings, or even to midi renditions. Sue me. I'm not aware of any cogent argument for the musical or aesthetic superiority of one form of expression or externalization over the other.  It's simply a matter of taste.

For myself, I'm entirely unaffected by the issue of process, that is, how the music was made, how it was recorded, how many takes and splices were required, and so on.  I'm affected only by the the "product," the end result.  For other listeners, it is different.  It matters to their appreciation of a recording whether or not 800 splices were required to make a recording, or whether it was completely live, spontaneous, unaffected. 

That leaves the question, what is the burden on the artist, the producer, the sound engineer to disclose the recording process? One way to proceed seems to me this: Either the question of recording process must be answered truthfully, revealing everything; or the artist/recording engineer/producer must be prepared--damn the torpedoes--to take the 5th amendment. Let listeners then draw their own conclusions.

One way to resolve...or to...ignore the problem.

I am with you, John, as for the "end result" that matters, since this for what we pay, in any form (CD, download, streaming). I'm talking as a very avid collector of numerous CDs and SACDs.

However, it is a very legitimate question whether this "end product" corresponds to the reality and to what extent, because it is the truth that matters most at the end of the day. Virtual reality is good but it cannot and should not replace the real thing, although it almost prevails in many aspects of our "modern" lives. (I cannot forget the answer a very successful Chinese busenisswoman gave, when they asked her if she followed the events in the Olympic Games of 2008 in Beijing: "Yes, I followed them in my I phone!").

Parla

Re: correspondence to the original music

parla wrote:

I am with you, John, as for the "end result" that matters, since this for what we pay, in any form (CD, download, streaming). I'm talking as a very avid collector of numerous CDs and SACDs.

However, it is a very legitimate question whether this "end product" corresponds to the reality and to what extent, because it is the truth that matters most at the end of the day. Virtual reality is good but it cannot and should not replace the real thing, although it almost prevails in many aspects of our "modern" lives. (I cannot forget the answer a very successful Chinese busenisswoman gave, when they asked her if she followed the events in the Olympic Games of 2008 in Beijing: "Yes, I followed them in my I phone!").

Parla

 

 

 

On "correspondence" to the real thing, I agree completely; but I'd want to add a proviso, using the following example:

 

I have a personal preference for baroque music played on original instruments, in accordance with baroque practices and conventions.   I find performances on modern instruments, often with less attention to authentic performance practice, less appealing.  My preferences in this regard are entirely subjective, simply a matter of personal taste. 

 

On the other hand, questions like, "What does authentic baroque performance practice consist of?"; "What is the right "process" and "product" in that context"; "What did the composer intend?":  these are questions about which objective truth, or "correspondence to reality," is not just possible, but necessary.  Arguably,  if we lose sight of these questions, we risk losing or putting at risk the original music.

 

Where correspondence of the product to the original means something like the foregoing, and where ones subjective appreciation and enjoyment of a recording or live performance depends on evidence in the process and product of that kind of correspondence, then an element of objectivity or correspondence to the original becomes part of ones "personal equation of likes and dislikes." 

 

But, of course, I'd still want to maintain that even knowledgeable listeners--listeners who know something about authentic performance practice--can't be faulted for preferring modern instrumentation and super-edited recordings over faithful interpretations on original instruments, preferrably heard live and in an appropriate setting.  In other words, I still don't think we can avoid the conclusion that these sorts of likes and dislikes are ultimately a matter of personal taste, while acknowledging that, for many listeners, correspondence to the original is part of their personal criteria of judgement and appreciation. 

 

 

 

 

Surely period performance is

Surely period performance is an imprecise "science" with many unknowns, and guesswork by the performers?

 

Ted

Period performances.

"Imprecise science"? Why and how it could be..."precise", let alone science. Is the modern instruments performances a science, let alone precise? It is an ongoing process anyway.

"Many unknowns"? That's the fascinating thing about it. The performers, scholars and experts have to keep searching and discovering.

"Guesswork"? Yes, but still it has to..."correspond to the truth". It cannot be arbitrary.

Searching for the original does not lead us necessarily to the truth itself but rather to a fascinating and revealing aspect of it.

Parla

I used "science" in inverted

I used "science" in inverted commas. The point I am making is that there is a tendency (perfectly amongst the public rather than period performers or scholars) to believe that period performances are exact historical realisations by definition. Just as there is a belief that certain performers or orchestras are technically perfect and never make mistakes, so editing shouldn't be necessary.

 

Ted

 

 

Trends and opinions.

If we are talking about a "tendency" and a "belief", no problem, but we do not have to worry or even refer to that.

Parla

TedR wrote:

TedR wrote:

Surely period performance is an imprecise "science" with many unknowns, and guesswork by the performers?

 

Ted

 

It is an inexact science, but a science nonetheless.  In other words, we certainly do know some things about baroque conventions, but like all knowedge, what we know is imperfect and always susceptible to improvement. 

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