Steve Schwartz wrote:
>Don Satz mentions my name:
>>Quite a few months ago, both Steve Schwartz and I reviewed on this board
>>a set of Bach's French Suites played by harpsichordist David Cates on
>>the Music & Arts label. I found the performances the best on the market;
>>Steve considered them overly romanticized. I didn't and still can't see
>>how Steve came to his conclusions; it was as if we had listened to
>>different performances. Which one of us has the true insight into Bach's
>>sound world - only Steve, only me, both of us, none of us? Questions
>>that can't really be answered except by Bach, and he's not talking.
>Actually, in the final analysis, I don't care about Bach's opinion. He's
>just one of many, and his opinion doesn't carry as much weight with me
>as my opinion does. Call me a solipsist. However, I don't even consider
>you or me necessarily right. We hear what we hear and make a case for
>our reactions. What else can we do? Cates, incidentally, is starting
>to grow on me -- as I speculated in my review that he might.
I am reminded of something one of my composition teachers said to me.
"When you finish your composition, the first one or two performances are
yours, the rest aren't." His statement suggested that once a piece is
launched, it has, in a sense, a life of its own.
I also like the notion of those who drafted the US constitution. The
writers understood it would need to be amended and interpreted. One
can argue that the Supreme Court has never reversed itself...however...
On a related thread...I have a vague recollection of a video of a
Szell rehearsal where he was telling the orchestra the inflection used
in a tune Brahms had quoted in a work. He stressed that the tune had a
specific significance and had been viewed in certain way. OK, so maybe
Szell did know what was meant, but what of the time when a conductor
might not know the significance of the tune. Certainly, I would doubt
most of the audience would be aware.
Bach could tell us what he may have meant, but I wonder if he would
either delight or be frustrated by an interpretation which differed
from his own conceptualization of his music. Then one can consider
Stravinsky...his interpretations of his own music changed signficantly
over the years...same with Copland. Maybe it was due in part to their
evolution as conductors, but, especially in the case of Stravinsky, the
changes are quite signficant.