Jocelyn Wang, in her 200 part attack on non-repeat offenders writes:
>The fact that the disregard of those repeats is far more common than
>their observation leads to a routine destruction of a great work of art.
>One might think that conductors would get a clue that doing so is not
>justified on the grounds that some famous baton-wielding predecessor did it
>before them, or, indeed, on any grounds at all, and amounts to duplicating
>an oft-failed experiment, rather than recreating the successful one.
I get a mental picture of Ms. Wang, standind in the wings, following
the score, and activating a trap door less Culver performers skip a repeat.
I have no strong opinions on repeats except that purism is so often
counterproductive and great performers cannot be expected to serve as
literal recreators of a score which is never the whole story and is
presented in an edition which may not be the final word. But surely Ms.
Wang is correct in pointing out that performers should not have carte
blanche to alter the music. Mahler, for example, fiddled with the
Beethoven symphonies, and many conductors have reorchestrated Schumann.
LaGrange, in his biography of Mahler, notes that Mahler did not think that
Bruckner's symphonies could not survive as written, and essentially played
altered excerpts. This all comes under the aegis of the latest movement in
musicological research- hysterically altered performances (HAP).
Professor Bernard Chasan
Physics Department, Boston University