Tristan und Isolde: Wilhelm Furtwängler - Who is the real Isolde ?

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RE: TrisIsolde ?

Jane, the techniques that Chris has listed are of a different order, in my view. Splicing is by definition a creative activity, even if it can be used for dull reasons like patching bad notes here and there.

Copying and pasting a repeated section is quite the opposite: it is the explicit renunciation of any creative activity for as long as that repeat lasts.

RE: TrisIsolde ? RE: TrisIsolde ?

Well, If it is true and ths it is  wide spread practice that everyone in the know whispers, about , but no one talks about in public, what is the point of  any review ?, what is the point of any recorded performance ( it becomes nothing more that than an artifical construct) . More to the point what is the point of a magazine like Gramophone ?.  ( whose existance revolves around reviews) All these critics , all these reviewers, all these people who spend  hundreds of hours around this medium, living a lie !.

Regards

 

Amfortas

RE: TrisIsolde ?

If you think that a "recording" is supposed to be a relatively faithful record of an actual performance (either from the studio or in a concert hall), then all this splicing etc can seem like a bit of a lie.

But I don't see it that way. If we think of the recording simply as a product, rather than a copy or reflection of a performance, then there isn't any problem. When we listen to a "recording", it is not obvious why the origins of the recording are even relevant. It is what it is. It's value inheres in its intrinsic qualities. How it came into being isn't important. Or shouldn't be.

As for pasting in repeats etc (Camaron), I tend to think that this is a wasted opportunity. But I don't think it is wrong and I don't agree with your somewhat dogmatic conception of creativity. I think it is more complicated than that. It is, after all, a choice to repeat a section - and that seems to me to bring the concept of creativity into play, and possibly even that of perfection. Even if the final choice seems a little unimaginative and the intended perfection stale.......

RE: Tristan und Isolde: Who is the real Isolde ?

Amfortas, while I share your concerns about how "faithful" and "reliable" a recording can be, one has to face it as a "Product". Eventually, what anyone of us has to judge in a recording is the final product: If it sounds as a performance and as a faithful recording of what the player(s) have performed in a studio, under the conditions prevailing therein.

In a recording, apart from the performer(s), a very vital role are given to the Producer and, to some extent, to the Sound Engineer. What we judge (even in a review) is the outcome of all people involved in the recording process.

Being somehow involved in this business (not professionally but out of interest and because of some good friends/musicians), I can assure you that an artist (soloist, conductor, singer etc.), who gives his authority to the release of an audio product, has espouses any "editing, necessary changes, extra takes" etc. that might have needed during the recording sessions. Their integrity cannot allow them to permit these kind of "changes" that can alienate their actual performance. Otherwise, there would be no need of mentioning any artist performing this and that work and more than one studio recording of the same work from the same performer, in different locations and at different times.

Having said that, I share your frustration for the Flagstad/Isolde case. This is a very different case of "manipulation" that cannot be justified by any ends that could have been served, such as Chris mentioned in his previous posts. To use a quote from our fellow-member Tjh: "if you have limitations, why did you attempt?". Of course, for a Wagnerian Star like Flagstadt in her culminating point of her career, even Legge or Furtwangler would not dare to ask this question...

Regards as ever,

Parla

RE: TrisIsolde ?

Amfortas,

I think you are right about the problems this creates for reviewing. I suspect that the way we review music might have to change in the future and focus a little less on the performers, and more on the final product......

 

Camaron,

I am broadly in agreement that pasting in a repeated section is probably lazy and likely to have something to do with saving money. But I don't think that is necessarily the case. An artist might decide, for perfectly good reasons, that a "perfect" repeat is preferable to an imperfect one. It depends, I suppose, on what purpose is at stake. In sonata form music - the opening movement of a Beethoven symphony, say - an exposition repeat should not differ, in any noticeable way, from the section that came before it. If you can hear the difference, then something has gone wrong. (In my opinion, that is.) So a pasted repeat would be perfectly acceptable here.........

 

RE: TrisIsolde ?

Not that I'm disagreeing Jane, but the question still remains: should a repeat in a recording be done at all? Some of Beethoven's symphonies are also some of the best known works of the repertoire, to an extend that Beethoven himself could not have imagined.

To use the same example as before: I personally avoid any recording of the Goldberg that does all the repeats. To me the effect of "sameness" comes already from the fact that I know the music very well. I guess the question here would be: when Bach himself played the music for his own pleasure (he must've done that) did he play the repeats? Open question obviously...

RE: TrisIsolde ?

There is another, hotly disputed thread on just this topic, Camaron......

I totally agree. I absolutely detest repeats in recordings. I think it is highly, highly unlikely that the great composers wanted us to listen to them in the age of recordings. When Brahms was on tour, for instance, he didn't even play them himself. When asked about this, he said that he did play them when the music was new to his audience, but now that they were familiar with it, there was really no need. 

If I am listening to a symphony or piano sonata, I often fast-forward to the start of the exposition repeat........

It is astounding, really, just how many performers feel they have to do them. Perhaps it is an easy way of milking the effort they put in. Learn eight minutes of music, then pass it off as sixteen in the concert hall.

RE: TrisIsolde ?

janeeliotgardiner wrote:

When Brahms was on tour, for instance, he didn't even play them himself. When asked about this, he said that he did play them when the music was new to his audience, but now that they were familiar with it, there was really no need. 

Didn't know that. All said then.

I too am amazed that the norm here is against good sense.

 

RE: TrisIsolde ?

Camaron wrote:

I personally avoid any recording of the Goldberg that does all the repeats..

Actually, I make an exception for the Goldbergs, as long as the repeats bring out something new.

In Hewitt's case, they really do. Even if you aren't a Hewitt fan - and I understand the reservations - her Goldberg's are wonderful. Probably her best recording. (Perhaps because they were recorded live; one take, I think). Anyway, the repeats are one of the great features of this recording, because she takes full advantage of the opportunity to bring out different voices and patterns. It is like getting two for the price of one.......

RE: TrisIsolde ?

I don't know that Gould, Camaron. I got into Gould through the later "autumnal" Goldbergs and found it very hard to take to the famous earlier one. But I will have a look for this 59 version.........it is bound to be floating around somewhere on the web.

While we are on the Goldbergs: the undisputed heavy-weight King of them all is surely the Murray Perahia. I can still remember the thrill of my first listen. Absolutely electrifying from start to finish.

 

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