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CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

Re: Repeats

From:

Ulvi Yurtsever <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 2 Mar 2000 20:55:08 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (51 lines)

Dave Lampson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>For these reasons (and several others I'll leave to the reader) I think
>the statement that we can't hear music as they once did is simply
>meaningless when trying to come to grips with specific performance
>choices.

I am slightly puzzled here: I agree with the argument you outline, however,
to the extent that "we can't hear music the same way as listeners of the
past" is an argument (call it A) against the idea that "performances of old
music should sound as close as possible to what they originally sounded
like" (call this idea B), your argument provides further support to the
opposition to B, even if that support is different from what A provides.
In other words, by arguing that A is meaningless, you are at the same time
arguing that B is meaningless or at least unattainable.

For the record, I never bought any of the intellectual arguments on either
side of the HIP debate as long as they were about discrediting the opposite
performance practice.  For me the only thing that justifies any performance
is the musical insights the performance provides, whether those insights
are brought out using HIP "tools" or using modern-instruments and concepts
has always been a side issue for me.  Which brings me to:

>I also feel that many of the arguments against HIP (and in the way this
>idea has been misconstrued by some, it is an anti-HIP argument, make no
>mistake), and even some of the discussions we've read here against taking
>repeats are, fundamentally, anti-intellectual in nature (something of
>a profound irony for a certain elitist editor of a well-known review
>publication who loves to ride that anti-HIP horse).

I am just as sick of these "anti-HIP" arguments as you are, however:

>Sort of a "we can't ever be really, really sure what any composer intended
>in their heart, so what the heck, if it feels good just do it!" attitude.
>Once you buy into this, all counter-arguments are instantly negated.  How
>simple and convenient.  How completely deceptive and misguided.

I just don't see how this broad criticism of the "if it sounds good, do it"
philosophy (one which I subscribe to, by the way) follows from (or is even
connected to) a refutation of the "anti-HIP" viewpoint.  Do you really want
to live in a world with less choice (in records and performance practices)
than what we have now? Do you really prefer a world where you cannot find
a recording or performance which omits repeats, for example, to one where
both kinds of performance are available? It appears that a broad segment of
the art-music community has bought into the "if it sounds good, it is good"
viewpoint, judging from the extraordinary variety of interpretation that
exists in record and performance, especially of the deeply-loved works of
the past.  Do you really see this as a disagreeable state of affairs?

Ulvi
[log in to unmask]

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