Words and Music: one art redeemed by the other!

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

Tjh, I did not wish to prolong these perpetual exchanges, so that I did not respond to some points of your previous long post.

- Briefly, the "development" cannot come before the "exposition", since, by definition, it comes after the two themes have been exposed and, therefore, we know what the composer has to develop!..

- The Tragic Overture "can't be better" as long as we talk and deal with the composition by Brahms, who is the only one having authority on his own compositions. By all means, if another composer deems it feasible that he/she can make the "Tragic Overture" better, he/she can intervene in the original score. However, by making all the new "alleged" improvements, he/she rewrites/recomposes the original score and, then, we will have a new score signed by Brahms and the new one or, depending on the changes, only by the new one. So far, we have encountered mostly "interventions" only or mostly in the form of transcriptions and orchestrations (not recompositions). Some composers also composed their new works by paraphrasing some original material by other composers (see Liszt).

Having the above as "point of reference", the composer is the only one who has the authority on his/her work. Whoever wishes to contest the composer's authority, he/she has to be able to intervene (rewrite) his/her works.

- In this way, there is no need to refer to any universal "scale" of worth. The musical worth has been already evaluated, first by the composer himself (who decided how he/she wanted his/her work) and, then, by the scholars, musicians etc. (the Classical Music "establishment"). The individual's (listener, audience) "evaluation" varies, cannot be universal (in any case) and expresses the popularity of the work in question, not its musical/artistic value. So, the score can have its "absolute (musical) value", while its perception by the individual listener can be divergent/different vis a vis its musical value. Thus, "worth is independent of popularity".

Finally, don't forget or overlook: "Perception entails a definition of the perceived object"! (Thus, definitions lurk anywhere and all the time).

I'm afraid we digress from the original subject of the thread, but, anyhow, these issues have been proved to be (or become) of "eternal" interest among few of us.

Parla



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

Thanks again, Tjh, for the perpetuation of this thread with these never-ending Q & A format. So, let's see what we have today:

- A "rewrite" is not difficult to define. It has to do with any alteration/change/modification and so on of the original score. The performer's "authority" has to do with the "delivery" (as you called it), with the recreation, bringing to life the actual score. The performer is not supposed to intervene, in the form of rewriting the original score. He may feel up "gaps" in the dynamics, phrasing (legato, staccato), to observe the repeats or not etc.

- In my definition of "popularity" I do not exclude the scholars and musicians. As humans, they may have and express their personal opinions on what they prefer. However, what counts is their assessments as for the artistic value of the score in pure musical terms (here we have a very well developed fugue, a fully and well articulated development of the two themes with inventive modulations etc.).

- We do not have to "reconcile different worth evaluations among scholars". Since they are not themselves the composers of the actual work, they have to observe and identify. They cannot possibly see everything, in the same way, at the same time. So, what is important for us (the listeners) but also for them (the scholars all over the world and the musicians themselves) is where we have a clear convergence of views, incontestable findings, common denominators and so on. If none can come with a "worth evaluation" that Beethoven's Fifth is "trash" and, on the contrary, they all come to a point that it is at least a sort of "great Classical Symphony", we have "a point of reference", I trust...

In the same way, if all the specialist on Cello (Musicians, Professors, Scholars) come to a conclusion that Dvorak's Cello Concerto is the most accomplished, demanding and rewarding, we can claim we have another "reference standard".

Finally, the quote you refer to (about Beethoven's works) indicates that the producers, first of all, and, of course, the musicians themselves have to respect what has already become "popular" through the ages. When you have a) to fill a concert hall and b) to please this audience, you do not have enough room for much to do. Fortunately, in the recording studio, there are some daring producers and musicians to contribute to the revelation of new significant works and worthy composers as well to the promotion of the most difficult but most rewarding repertory.

Parla

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

Tjh, as you may notice by the almost vast production of "world premiere" recordings, there are plenty of works waiting to be disovered and, then, to be "evaluated" by the wider establishment. However, even if it is the most obscure, never performed work in the Classical Music realm, from the moment we have a composer who trusted it to be published, a performer who decided to play it and a producer who invested in it, we already have something to rely upon.

Just fancy how many works of the most basic composers you might never encounter either in a performance or in a recording. For example, have you ever listened to the Adagio in b minor, K.540 by Mozart? Possibly not. However, if you see in a program of a concert that this work is written by Mozart and is performed by a pianist let's say like Brendel, in Berlin Philharmonie, do you need more "reference" to consider that this work is of a certain "value", worth exploring its various aspects and listening to it with utmost care?

In other words, as long as we have a composer that we trust (or even simply know as a sort of established name), a performer of a certain stature and a production team of dedicated professionals and specialists, we have a good starting point to discover more and more works that await recognition or further exploration.

So, a "reference standard" is not required, if it has not been created by the establishment. We can always refer to the composer, the performer/s (particularly, if the work has been performed by more artists) and the producer/s, at least.

Parla

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

Interesting post, Tjh. It's always revealing to see how other listeners view a work of such almost unique character, such as Shostakovich's 14th Symphony.

Possibly, you may feel more "enriched", after listening to Caetani (on ARTS), Kitajenko (on Capriccio: superb recording), N. Jarvi (on DG) and Kremer (on ECM), to mention some not that old and not that Russian, like Kondrashin (this is the great Russian conductor for this composer) or Rozhdestvensky (both on Melodiya).

I agree for the "value implications" of the mystique of a non-native language, but I won't call them "musical". Anyway, it's a matter of perception/definition of music. So, let's say that we understand each other, but by using a different "vocabulary".

Wiggleworth's description of Movement 7 is his own perception, not the actual one of the musical piece itself. If this conductor's notes made you change your evaluation of this Movement, it does not mean that the score "becomes" better anyway.

Finally, yes, Shostakovich's 14th is one of his statements on death, depicting, among other ways, the various aspects of it, particularly the untimely and unjust death.

Now, after a first thorough examination of Shostakovich's 14th Symphony, it should be a proper idea for you, tjh, to visit, in the same meticulous way, his 13th String Quartet: another very strong (albeit more intimate) statement on death. A companion work, in the absolute music form of a String Quartet, to the 14th Symphony. A genuine death-ridden masterwork of this very tormented (in multiple ways) composer.

Parla

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

"Machines are fairly good at formulas"...but they don't know music! So, still we need composers to...feed them with some..."good formulas".

Parla

 

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

If it was for a John Adams Opera, the "music professor" could have said...anything to that effect. Of course, there is Philip Glass: the minimalist formula perfectionist!..

Parla

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

Some claim "minimalist tendencies" even in "Eroica"...but they are wrong. Aren't they?

Parla

 

 

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

If the "13 tapping of the bow of the viola" are in the score, they have musical value as part of it. If it is interpretation's "material" (extra-score material), it has general (extra-musical) value.

By the way, which recording was your reference material for the 13th String Quartet by Shostakovich, Tjh?

Parla

P.S.: I was fortunate enough to attend the whole series of the Shostakovich's Quartets, in Berlin, with the Jerusalem Quartet (along with the Piano Quintet with Stephen Hough) and I can assure you that they are a very fascinating experience to watch them as well (particularly the No.15).

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

Tjh, try the Manderling Quartet, if you can (on Audite). They are great, in many ways of their performances, superbly recorded and impeccably produced.

Parla

P.S.: Since I do not have the scores of the two works you referred to, I cannot comment on them.

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

Tjh, since the examples with the two scores you referred to are more complicated to really comment on, I respond to the more concrete of the  pizzicato D performed arco.

If the composer's score specifies that this note should be played as "pizzicato" and the performer decides to play it "arco", it is an intervention of the performer and a violation of the score, at least stricto sensu. Of course, this intervention changes at the timbre of this specific note only. The rest of the score, even regarding this note (in harmony, counterpoint, development, structure, etc.), is not affected as for its value.

Besides, if the word "Herz" or "Heart" is sung on a D note, musically does not affect the score. It affects only how this note can sound, in the same way as if this D is played on a Graf Fortepiano or a Fazioli Grand Piano. If a contemporary piano score was intended to a modern Piano and, somehow, a performer decides to play it on a Walter Fortepiano of 1795, it would be the same piece of music, but it might sound a bit like an English song, sung in Swahili!

Parla

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