A recent catfight on another Ludwig forum provided me with some food for thought. Since I'm still wary of that forum, I thought I'd present this to you guys.<P>Some ten, (twenty?), years ago, there was a renaissance in informed historical performance in classical music. Baroque violins, restored pianofortes, natural horns, etc. were all substituted for modern instruments. The result, to my ears, was one of pinched restraint and generally 'baroque' sound. Almost everything sounded antique to me. I gave these supposedly up-and-coming new techniques a try, but never really cottoned to them. I grew up with the sound of the modern orchestra in its 110-piece glory, and still find that it can't be beat. I never attended a live period performance, but I wonder if hearing it live would really make all that much of a difference.<P>Modern performance often seems geared for power and strength. Steinways are built like tanks and have long sustaining sound. The strings seem to have a sharper, crisper tone to them, the brass seem to positively shriek when played fff. Is all this a matter of 'improved' construction or imporved recording techniques? These days, it appears that the microphones are placed right in the middle of the orchestra or chamber group. I have a beautiful recording of Saint-Saens' 3rd symphony (Lorin Maazel on Sony) recorded with only three suspended mikes over the orchestra. The brass and bass sound so full and so rich, I almost couldn't believe it when I first listened to it-- and then I definitely couldn't believe that there didn't appear to be any other rcordings made in that fashion. <P>How much of a role do you believe interpretation should play in c.m.? Do you think it's all right to play early Beethoven on a regular piano, or to transcibe Bach for the orchestra? Is it acceptable to tweak with the score-- not note-wise, of course, but as far as dynamics or tempo are concerned-- if it may make a more thrilling or unique sound? Can a composer's original intents be maintained if all this is done? My answer to all of the above is a hearty yes. Interpretation is one of the best features to grace the world of c.m. It provides identifiable characteristics to our favorite artists and individualism to every new recording of the same old piece.<P>I have come across some resistance to this idea recently, but I would like to know what your take is on all of this.