Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

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RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Tjh, in the example with the three different keyboard instruments (Graf, Steinway and Fazioli), the difference is more than "discernible"; it is obvious! Sonically, they might sound even like black and white (we have had some extensive exchanges with some already gone members, in various threads, about the use of Fortepiano in comparison to modern Pianos). In the same vein, does the performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto on a modern and common violin make it a lesser masterpiece compared to its performance on a precious and rare Jacobus Steiner (where the sonic difference is more than clear)?

So, what is the big deal about the "discernable" sonic difference of singing "Herz" instead of "heart"? Does this affect any part of the score, so that we may start talking about a musical difference?

Parla

P.S.: If the score "dictates" to sing "Herz" instead of "heart", it is not because of the composer's musical choice, but on account of the existing text used on the occasion (great poems, commissions, ready libretti etc.). In the cases where the composer is the author of the texts used, he has very little choice but to use his own language (mother tongue). So, Wagner had no choice but to use "Der Herz". However, in the English version of the Ring, the translators would have to resort only to "the heart". By the way, is the English version of the "Ring" a different and, much more, a lesser masterwork compared to the original by Wagner?

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

So, somehow, we get closer, tjh, at least as for the "obvious"...

"Music is not sound?" Music is specific sounds called notes. And these notes should be in organised manner (Harmony, tonality, counterpoint, orchestration, structure, form, etc.) I sincerely hope you do not belong to those who claim that any sound is music. Otherwise, anything goes...

Britten chose what he thought is necessary to serve his Requiem, for the extra-musical aspects (spiritual, ritual, literature etc.). The very vast majority of the composers have resorted to a neutral language (Latin) and the very few to their mother tongue (Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms).

I cannot speculate what Wagner would have sanctioned, but none of the "staunch" Wagnerians have ever complained about the "English" Ring. Incidentally, Goodall's Ring is one I found very true to Wagner in every aspect of the musical score (not what is written above or under the stave).

As for your last sentence, I can add that the "violation" goes that far to perform a whole Ring in concert performances (Barenboim at this year's Proms and Janowsky's new Ring from Berlin: two very notable and successful stories of "unorthodox" Wagner).

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Tjh : "Not so easy to explain".

Not so difficult to perceive it...at least.

Again, the unnecessary (and unrealistic) speculation about Wagner's reaction on a Goodall's premiere of Tristan und Isolde.

As for your last post, I may say that we are trapped between a decline in the modern productions (exceptions simply justify the rule) of Opera houses (including Bayreuth alas) and few successful "unorthodox", but convenient and considerably less costly for the producers, concert performances. It's of no use: you cannot extract what is not there...(in both cases).

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Tjh, the "you cannot extract what is there" refers to the modern productions in Opera theatres and the concert performances in Concert halls, not to the score (and the potential changes of the text, libretti etc.).

As for how I can experience a "more Russian Shostakovich" has to do with the music itself which invites a Russian text more or better than another one. Of course, by listening to Goodall's recordings, I experience a less Germanic Ring, but only in the extra-musical aspect of the text. The music is identical and its essence and message (the features of Wagner's Music) are intact. Besides, for a much wider public, it may be more direct and accessible than the original text, which, in any case, in order for them to follow they have to resort to a translation!..

Some composers, depending on their commission, could easily accept various versions of their works in two (at least) languages (e.g. "La Fille du Regiment" & "La Figlia del Reggimento" or much more Haydn's "Creation" which exists and is performed in both German and English...accordingly).

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Thanks for this extended dialogue (since we are only the two of us, eventually, in this thread).

Even if a composer (like Wagner) had a suggested norm of the visuals for his Gesamtkunstwerke, it does not mean the potential future "performers" have to stick to this norm. The composer has absolute authority only for his score. All the rest can be "suggested" forms of how he envisaged his works to be performed, but, based on the various limitations and evolution of the Opera theatres alone, these forms cannot be treated as the score. That's why we have resorted to "concert performances" of Gesamtkunstwerke by the most loyal Wagnerians, to start with.

Any work by Rossini can invite a libretto in Italian language. Even without the text, one can feel the Italian gusto. In the same vein, Beethoven's music to Fidelio (starting with the quite Germanic Overturte) cannot but invite a German libretto.

Finally, to make myself clear, I don't "dismiss Wagner's authority on text" or other extra-musical element. On the contrary, as an advocate of his Gesamtkunstwerke, I recognise his authority on any aspect of his works. However, I can defend only his absolute authority as a composer, i.e. for his score. Having said that, I don't mean I will let all the extra-musical elements of his works go away. I will and I actuall do defend them, but, when limitations or special conditions occur, I can live with another viable text or even a concert performance (I have almost all of Goodall's Wagner recordings and I follow closely Janowsky's new cycle based on "Concert performances". They will never become my first choice or "reference" ones, but I respect a viable difference which still fully respects and honours the score).

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

I am 100% with you, tjh, as for the "limits of the future norm". The audiences, performers and producers are not,  most unfortunately, with us. I simply comprehend some of their limitations and the inevitable developments in our always evolving world.

Likewise, I can fully subscribe to your claim that "the change of future does not mean that musical interpretation needs to evolve with it". However, if the then "managers" of the composer's opus, namely the performers, scholars, producers etc. cannot defend the "authority" of the composer in every field (I presume the score will survive remaining intact), then, changes, at least to extra-musical aspects and features of the respective work(s), cannot be excluded and they have to be judged on an ad hoc or case by case basis.

The "limitations and special conditions" refer to the designated artists (the specialists) of the composer's works. This sentence referred also to the audiences in particular countries, special conditions in the production and some more. So it is more complicate than who attempts what.

Speaking of limitations and desperate attempts, there is a nice, apparently true, story about a specialist Heldentenor who had to attempt to sing Lohengrin despite his limitations. The case concerns Mr. Rene Kolo, who was chosen by Karajan to sing Lohengrin in Salzburg (about the same period that the respective recording was released on EMI). Kolo, apparently, did not manage to convince audiences and much more the critics. So, in the following Press Conference, he tried to defend his case by claiming that "the role of Lohengrin is one of the most difficult in the Wagnerian repertory and very few tenors in the world can sing it perfectly". The next day, one of the critics responded, in his article on the said Press Conference :"...and Mr. Kolo is not one of them"!

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

ok..thanks all for info

Grosir Kaos Anak

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Tjh, too many questions. Maybe, it is the time to give us your answers...

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Thanks a lot, Tjh. Now, we have a more thorough picture of your perception of Classical Music. From my side, I have responded to most of what you mentioned in your post. However, probably, during the weekend I might provide you with another response to some points of this long post.

My general view is that both you and I do not disagree on the value of the other aspects of a music work that requires more than the actual notes of the score (text, direction, lighting, costumes, staging, etc.). We both regognise the vital importance of them and, much more, of the text (in a vocal work of Music).

The problem starts when you attribute musical value on these extra-musical features, while I don't. However, even Chris and Camaron had to admit that, based on the definition that the Classical Music is the score (the actual notes therein), I cannot be wrong when I deny any musical value to the text, libretto etc. involved in a music work. Therefore, I guess it is a bit futile to try to convince each other, if we cannot establish a common definition of Classical Music.

Parla

RE: Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

Of course, Chris, it is not at all futile to simply discuss something, since it can only lead to some good (in the best possible case) exchanges. However, if you wish to reach a certain degree of convergence of views, if not agreement, you have to have a common understanding of certain defined things, aspects, facets of the object of your discussion. Even your articulated perceptions entail some sorts of "definitions". So, in the absence of a common definition (I'm not talking for "definitive", "simple" or complex ones; just a working definition), any exchange of views is going to be developed to a futile communication, at least as for its purpose.That's why definitions of Music (and Classical Music) exist anywhere and, of course, that means they are needed...The "questions are the interesting part", as long as we have commonly accepted answers, I believe.

Going to the specifics: The difference that is noticed in the recreation "at every performance", it has to do with the natural thing that exactly we have different performers, who, by all means, believe they are true to the score, but they use different means and they read the same score with different "voices". This does not prove that the score has lost or it does not have its absolute and original musical value. A play is a literature work of a specific nature, features and literary value. Its recreation through various performances can only reveal how well it can work in the theatre. It can enhance or diminish the "theatrical" result, not the literary value of the play.

Parla

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