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CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

Re: Repeats

From:

Ian Crisp <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 6 Mar 2000 21:28:46 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (123 lines)

Dave Lampson:

Sorry about the long quote from previous rounds of the argument, but this
time I can't trim it down.

>Ian Crisp wrote with respect to audience relativity:
>
>>>Therefore, while we know that differences exist, we can not reasonably
>>draw any conclusions as to what performance practice may or may not be
>>appropriate for any given situation.
>>
>>Absolutely. If I have suggested otherwise, I must have developed a case of
>>multiple personality and e-mailing during my sleep, or completely lost any
>>ability I may once have had to write what I mean, because I have no
>>recollection of so doing.
>
>You do so in the very next paragraph of your response:
>
>>>We can't hear music in exactly the same way that someone in 1750 heard
>>it, and they couldn't have possibly heard music in the same way we here
>>it.  Now what?  Do we take the repeat or not?
>>
>>The argument so far is the justification for asking that question.
>>Answering it is another matter altogether.
>
>In saying that by knowing this difference exists questioning a repeat is
>justified, you are drawing specific conclusions from something that
>basically you admit know nothing about.  That's fine, if that's that way
>you want to approach it, but it doesn't work for me.

As I see it, a "specific conclusion" would be deciding either "play the
repeat" or "don't play it".  That is what I meant by "what performance
practice may or may not be appropriate for any given situation".  That
decision must be based on various factors including the composer's intent
and his own practice (see Leslie Kinton's contribution) insofar as they are
knowable, and IMO also including various other factors as capably expounded
by Steve Schwartz elsewhere.  Therefore I have not, within the terms just
explained, drawn any specific conclusions.  I could not possibly do so
without specifying, at the very least, a particular piece.  And this whole
discussion has been in generalities, not specifics.

>As I stated before, invoking the audience relativity question has never,
>in my experience, been trotted out for any other reason than to discredit
>a specific interpretive choice.

I have no reason to dispute that.  But it is not relevant to my point,
which is not do with specific choices made by specific performers at
specific points in specific pieces.  Those must be justified on other
grounds.  My point is to do with the general principle of applying a
flexible approach to the indications of a composer's intent as left in
the score (and elsewhere in the historical record), when the composer is
no longer around to be consulted directly.

>It provides no insight.

Quite so.  That must come from elsewhere.  I have never set out to suggest
otherwise.

>Another red herring that's been brandished at will in the discussion.
>We're not talking about what's not in the score, we're talking about what's
>in it.  The score is not a complete set of instructions to reproduce the
>music - anyone who has ever sat down in front of a piece of music to play
>it knows this immediately.  But what about an explicit repeat? What you're
>really saying is that you believe the performer should interpret even
>explicit score indications, in which case everything: notes, key,
>instrumentation, tempos, time signatures, etc.  are all up for grabs.
>Sounds like a pop music approach for a cover tune.

This has all been covered before.  Omitting a repeat leaves all the music
intact (every note, chord, key relationship etc.  will still be heard),
but it changes the structural balance.  Opinions as to the importance of
this will vary.  As for notes, key etc.  - because something can be changed,
it doesn't follow that it should be changed.  And I hope I don't need to
explain that of course I am not advocating wholesale free-for-all messing
about with every aspect of a score and then presenting the final product as
still being whatever it was to begin with.

>>>All possibilities for the performer are open (they always have been,
>>>actually).
>>
>>Not according to the fundamentalist hard-line repeatists on this list.
>
>Like I said, that's between you and Jocelyn.

Isn't it what this whole thread and its predecessor have been about? The
exact and precise core of the whole discussion? Many more people involved
than just Jocelyn and me - both times I've kept right out of it for a long
time before getting suckered in, and the debate got along very well without
my help.  [But your involvement, by you own admission, has been driven by
what Jocelyn wrote, and that's something you'll have to work out with her.
-Dave]

>Friends that have your philosophy, HIP is probably better off without the
>support.

So shall I stop paying out to go to a good few HIP concerts every year? My
support is practical as well as theoretical.

>>Let me say it again: the HIP movement is wonderful. It should have an
>>input into questions of modern performance practice, but not dictatorial
>>powers over them.
>
>Ooh, I love dictatorial powers.  Where do I sign up.
>
>Seriously though, whatever your intention, your whole tone simply reeks
>of anti-HIP politics.  That you don't seem to see it is perhaps the most
>troubling aspect of the discussion.

The only way I can see that being true is if my jest about "dictatorial
powers" contains more than a grain of truth.  If the HIP movement is trying
to tell us that there are certain ways that historical pieces should *only*
be performed to the exclusion of other ways, then yes, I'm anti-HIP or
anti- that part of it.  And I think that many others would join me.  If, on
the other hand, the HIP movement is telling us "Look, we think this is how
it used to be done and we think it sounds good and we also think we can
persuade you that this is a good way to play it but it's not necessarily
the only valid way", then I'm right on their side.

I'm tempted to declare that as my final word, but I remember what happened
to Steve Schwartz when he did the same . . .

Ian Crisp
[log in to unmask]

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