The way it was "written"?

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The way it was "written"?

Postby Flowerboy » Thu Dec 07, 2000 11:52 pm

I was pondering a certain thought - that many pieces of contemporary music are not played (as in a solo part) the way the composer wanted them to be played. As an example, take Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto and his Rhapsody on a theme of paganini. I only regret taht i wasnt born earlier enough to listen to Rach himself to play these pieces - im so sure it would be sooo different in the way of style - a lot of contemporary musics are difficult to grasp the ideas going through the composers mind - new eras=new ideas=harder to translate into music - the only person able to translate his thought into performing it correctly is the composer himself, for only he knows what exactly is going on in his mind. In contrast, it is not difficult to grasp the ideas of Beethovens 5th symphony for example, or his 5th piano concerto, or even Dvorak's new world symphony. Am i making no sense or does someone out there understand me? sorry for the overly-long message - Flowerboy
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Re: The way it was "written"?

Postby sherouse » Fri Dec 08, 2000 12:37 am

Hey Flowerboy, <BR>You have an interesting point. Since you refer to Rachmaninoff, I'd like to add that he had the most unique and unforgettable style of piano technique heard yet by anyone..I would suggest listening to CD release of his recordings! yes, there are a few out there of him playing his 2nd&3rd concertos with eugene ormandy. In fact, a most fascinating comparison would be listening to that first and then hearing the much more recent recording of evgeny kissin and the moscow phil. It's worth a test!
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Re: The way it was "written"?

Postby serge urtizberea » Fri Dec 08, 2000 1:07 am

Interpretation will always be a difficult thing to do, but music of Beethoven's is no less difficult to interpret than rachmaninoff's. In fact, with R., there are recordings of him playing his own works, so they can act as study guides. I'd think it'd be easier with R. to find out how he wanted performance to go than with B.<BR>Beethoven's music is not any easier to grasp than more contemporary music, either. Just depends how deep you want to delve into it.
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Re: The way it was "written"?

Postby Flowerboy » Fri Dec 08, 2000 2:36 pm

Those are interesting thoughts, thanks for the replies. But the idea i was trying to (god whats the word...) to say, i guess, is the idea BEHIND the music...the idea behind Beethovens 5th isnt hard to grasp...there are many ways to interpret it, but the idea is still the same. maybe i cant make a comparison with Rach, because the musics were so different, as in the ideas, but try explaining what Rach was thinking about when he wrote his 2nd P.C.or maybe it was a purely musical idea, as Rimsky-K had in mind when explaining Sheherezade(he was not trying to explain the story, so he says, but rather musical pictures of the story of the 1001 nights). I think that a piece of music is written by anyone because of a certain inspiration that may be hard to interpret sometimes, rather than the idea of the certain someone who thought Brahms wrote only to impress Clara Shumann lolol. what im trying to say i think is that the idea behind the music is what the music is made of and how its to be interpreted and performed, which is all in the composers head. im rambling on and on about this, and im trying to display what im implying. bear with me.....
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Re: The way it was "written"?

Postby shostakovich » Fri Dec 08, 2000 8:29 pm

I have a recording of Beethoven's Turkish March from The Ruins of Athens arranged and played by Rachmaninov with additional notes. At the loudest portion (middle of the work) we hear, instead of Beethoven's BUMP dump dump dump, rather BUMP dump a dump a dump. Sacriliege? No. Improvement! When Rachmaninov did that (about 1930) he was, and felt like, a part of the same music history that included Beethoven. Very few composers today are a "part" of anything that happened in 1930 or before. Our electronic age practically forbids it. Performers, on the other hand, can live the music of the past, but are (rightly, I think) reluctant to adapt any of the older music (I suspect) because they do not consider themselves linked with that earlier music history. Today's adaptations, such as the Ode to Joy with guitar, are modern variations that will popularize in miniature the older music, without any claim to "improvement". They are right for today, and will lead the curious music lover to the source.<BR> I have several more stories involving Toscanini and Ravel, Gluck, Beethoven changes, but I'll spare you that for the moment, since the ruminating after each story, as above, will be a bit much.
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Re: The way it was "written"?

Postby serge urtizberea » Sat Dec 09, 2000 2:39 am

Shos, I enjoy reading your posts as much as you seem to enjoy mine. I think you think new kinds of interpretation are a good thing, and I hope that's so because I'd wholeheartedly agree. Interpretation is what keeps music alive.<P>As for Flowerboy's posts, they seem to reflect the idea Rach. tried to write music that would catch up to his ideas. I don't know about that. I listen to his work and get no more sense of enlightenment or purity in thought then I do from Beethoven. I don't believe that R. wrote what's known as "absolute music": music with no background or point in mind. That kind of 'avant-garde' music is so inherently silly and vapid that it is far beyond the merit of R. Also, to think that he had too MANY ideas running around in his head... well, that would likely lead to confused and chaotic music, I'm sure. <BR>Dare I say, F., that your favorite composer would be R.? If I'm right, that's great and I totally respect that. My favorite is clearly Beethoven, and I should be forgiven if I hold him too high in esteem. Cursed bias! More trouble than it's worth! Image
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Re: The way it was "written"?

Postby Flowerboy » Sun Dec 10, 2000 1:44 am

Thanks for the other replies. Nay, Nay, Rach isnt my favorite, Beethoven (God) is. but i still like rach. its just that their music and ideas were so different...... I still cant form a picture of interpretation when i listen to Rhapsody or P.C. #2. I can with Beethovens 9th: the whole world working for the good of everyone in a world together in brotherhood and triumph; a triumph over the evil invading the world by the devil; I believe its a religious statement made by Him to give his last statement to the world: That, despite his charecter, he cared.
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Re: The way it was "written"?

Postby Flowerboy » Sun Dec 10, 2000 1:49 am

To go along with my statement made above, i get the same picture when listening to Mahler's 1st symphony - only with a different style, a twist of moderanism. Ever listen to Mahler? He is personally one of my favorites. I have his 4th symphony also, which is in total contrast with the 1st. Ive heard just a tad of his 2nd symph. Ive got to get it on CD. Its entitled "The Ressurection Symphony".<BR>Flowerboy.
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Re: The way it was "written"?

Postby shostakovich » Sun Dec 10, 2000 8:05 pm

Hi Serge and Flowerboy. It's Shos again. I checked my dictionary for the following definitions. Avant Garde means ground breaking (I'm not sure if it's required that the avant garde artist have followers). So Beethoven was avant garde and Rachmaninov not. Absolute music is tougher to understand. If you remove words and the visual component (from staged "musical" productions), what you have left is music. If the music has no story line, it is absolute music. That's a mighty restrictive definition, and not one that most people will like, but I have read in many text books essentially that. Opera, for example, is not music. It has music as only one (very important) component. Absolute music has no external influence. The logic (when it has any) is guided only by which notes and chords should follow which, how loudly, how quickly, and using which instruments. So Beethoven's 9th is absolute music in movements 1, 2, 3, but not 4. A vocal movement at that time was "shocking" "unthinkable", "insane", and avant garde. Two (at least) of his contemporaries, Weber and Spohr, went on record as saying it was the product of a deranged mind. Crazy or not, it anticipated much future music. It's opening reminds me of the Rite of Spring in forming from chaos. The second movement has no equal till the scherzi of Bruckner's last 2 symphonies (if then). The ethereal third movement isn't matched till Liszt and Wagner (Lohengrin, act 1 prelude for example). The Ode to Joy, which he felt needed words, were precedent for Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet (called a "dramatic symphony"), and Mendelssohn's "Lobgesang", what he called his 2nd sym. Among Beethoven's other symphonies, all are absolute music, except for the Pastorale. Of course B. couldn't have cared less. Music was music. Absolute, shmabsolute!!<BR>As for Rachmaninov, his musical logic is not as clear as Beethoven's, but most of his music is absolute, including the gorgeous Rhapsody and Concerto #2. So, Flowerboy, if you have trouble picturing anything, that's the way it's supposed to be. However, people who enjoy picturing while listening (I do) are free to imagine any visions that aid enjoyment. It doesn't make absolute music into "program music" (non absolute). Only the composer's intention can do that. Sibelius, for instance, rigorously avoided any non-musical influence in his symphonies, he claimed. Yet I can't help seeing winter scenes in his first, ocean in the second, hell in the fourth, mountains in the fifth, sunrise over fjords in the sixth, emptiness in the seventh. No visuals for #3, though. Sorry. <BR>Finally, I'd like to touch on Mahler. He had a helluva time writing a symphony without words. His first "absolute" symphony is #5, if that. #1 was originally not intended as a symphony, and stories are implied by Mahler. #2, 3, 4, and the all vocal #8 use verbal messages to enhance the music. If you look at his other music, the ORCHESTRATIONS are primarily of OTHER PEOPLE"S MUSIC. The rest are vocal WITH ORCHESTRA. It seems he was confused on whether or not he was a symphonist. There is an interesting, but not totally clarifying, movie on his life, entitled Mahler. The title might be the clearest thing about it.<BR>Long-winded Shos
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