William Hong responding to Roger Hecht:
>>My only issue here is choice. I would never decree that you should
>>listen to recordings you don't like. The problem is that present practices
>>force me to hear performances I don't particularly like. Okay, that's
>>an exaggeration. I listen to and enjoy HIP recordings all the time.
>>But there are so many moments when listening to a Handel opera I yearn
>>to be free of that string sound, if just for an aria or two. ...
>For me, the issue with operas and other accompanied Baroque vocal music
>in general is that the string (or instrumental) "sound" has to be tied
>into the vocal "sound". Then you might also have to deal with whether
>lots (or at least a more mid-20th century conception) of string vibrato
>is going to be compatible with a vocal sound approaching Handel or his
>contemporaries with something different from the traditional full
>throttled "can belto" wobble.
I think I mentioned this. And I've noticed quite a contrast in some of
these recordings between the singing and instrumental playing. (And of
course there is the question of which, if either, is "right". We have
a lot of written evidence, but in the end no record of what 20th Century
musicians sounded like.
>In any case, I don't disagree with Roger's points--only that I wish to
>reemphasize in the context of opera/oratorio etc. the vocal treatment
>should be aware of the instrumental one and vice versa.
One reason I may have been so impressed by Norrington's Berlioz Requiem
is that he did adapt the singing to the playing of is modern orchestra.
The result was almost medieval and somewhat English in tone. (Oddly
enough, it reminded me in some places of the Scherchen recording.) Right
or not, it was marvelous to listen to. Of course, Berlioz was one of
those composers pushing the curve on instrumental style and playing, so
one would expect him to lean forward rather than backward, but I still
can't argue with Norrington's results in this case.
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