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CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

Re: Repeats

From:

Bernard Chasan <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 7 Mar 2000 19:42:01 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (34 lines)

Don Satz writes that

>I can't agree fully with the premise that people are drawn to the
>"new".  Humans also like routines and what's familiar to them.

Perhaps so, but it is also the case that music is more available today -
we can listen to as many performances of almost any work as often as we
care to.  This surely was not the case before recorded music was invented.
And I think that this is the condition which encourages listeners to listen
to their favorites in a different guise.  It was for this reason that I
acquired the Mackerras (sp?) version of the Brahms Symphonies in the
orchestration appropriate to the small Meiningen Court orchestra which
first played them.  On the other hand,I believe that there has got to be
some connection with reality - newness alone is not going to do it.  Brahms
symphonies arranged for pan pipes and mandolins would probably not sell
well.  But in thinking about hip and non-hip, as well as the question
of repeats, we need to remind ourselves that music is remarkably robust,
and will survive under a variety of conditions.  Editions change as new
research is done.  Arrangements are made for new instrumental combinations.
Sometimes these arrangements are over the top, the Stokowski Bach
arrangements of a different era.  Sometimes the work well, so that The
Art of the Fugue arranged for orchestra or for string quartet works
beautifully.  And even an hip enthusiast such as Don Satz is enthusiastic
about Bach keyboard works played by artists such as Hewitt and Schiff on
the modern piano.  Remember too that as Don points out, hip practices have
evolved, as research is done, and the new approaches assimilated.  Today's
hip performance may not be next year's.  The Barenreiter edition of
Beethoven symphonies used by Zinman was not the edition used in great
performances by Furtwangler and Toscanini.  I don't think that listeners
lie awake worrying that what they think of as hip isn't REALLY hip.  Relax
and enjoy.

Professor Bernard Chasan
Physics Department, Boston University

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