Steve Schwartz wrote:
>I love Rimsky's version of Boris, but I also love the two Mussorgsky
>versions. . . .Now that the original has swept Rimsky's version pretty
>much off into a corner, I find myself missing the Rimsky.
In the early 70s I was in the chorus (San Francisco Opera) for the 1872
version by Mussorgsky, a big thing at that time as it was the first time
one of his own versions was used in San Francisco. I remember loving the
rawer version and feeling it right. Ending it with the Revolution scene
in the forest was certainly an unusual touch. We had a real horse in
rehearsals, but it had severe stage fright and showed it. They ended up
using some wooden contraption representing the horse.
Gergiev released a 5-CD box set last January ('99) which contains both
Musosrgsky versions, for a very decent price. Seems a set of the '72
version + the Rimsky Korkakov one might do well too.
William Hong <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>this (HIP) style IS new
Do you remember the fellow who was writing music reviews for New Yorker in
the late 70s? or early 80s? Andrew Porter, I think?. I remember his saying
that the early music movement was "the new music" of our that time. Mainly
early music opera at that point. His focus was on how people of today
gravitated to this new sound. I always thought it was the softer sound and
how it was a nice antidote to the sounds of today. Reactionary new music
;-) There's a delicacy to it.
I've been listening to it more less in the style mainstream listeners
hear it today, but back in the late 70s to early 80s when I was enjoying
the early music workshops which I taped. This was very different from the
sewing machine style of early music we'd heard or even the very out of tune
stuf from a few years before. Unlike Ian Crisp, I see no going back. It's
already been in my own head for 20 ears and I went straight from 8 years of
symphony singing to this type of sound and the different way of playing
also, so it wasn't a matter of being used to a sound but finding one that
seemed right for the music (for me). After 20 years it is no longer 'new'
to me but gaining strength nevertheless... I don't see it as the 'only'
way since I love Bach on piano, but it would be hard for me to go back to
the idea of undifferentiated long line applied to much of earlier music.
On the 'repeats' point, I've played a lot of small-group material, and
when we do the repeats, whether or not we consciously vary anything on the
repeat (and it's usually more interesting to do that), the 2nd 'take' is
invariably better and we often joke that this is the real reason for some
repeats, rather than structure.
But I'd go along with the idea that if a composer omitted some of his own
repeats at times, we might have enough clues to decide that, in his music,
doing so might not necessarily do harm to the piece.
Andrys in Berkeley
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