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CLASSICAL  April 2007

CLASSICAL April 2007

Subject:

Re: Too Much to Handel

From:

Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 17 Apr 2007 08:35:55 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (60 lines)

Don Satz replies to Roger Hecht:

>Roger Hecht writes:
>
>>Now, I'll dig my hole.  One reason I am not as drawn to the operas is
>>that as the years go on, I am increasingly put off by HIP performances.
>
>That's the opposite of my preferences.  After decades of totally
>unidiomatic performances of Baroque works, I was elated with the arrival
>of historically informed interpretations replete with period instruments.
>I then acquired every Handel oratorio and opera I could get my hands on;
>loved every minute of it and still do.

I don't like HIP because it's authentic.  I like it because some of it
is done by great musicians.  I agree with Roger to the extent that HIP
is now so established, that other approaches are crowded out.  I'd love
to hear a subset of, say, the Cleveland Orchestra or the Czech Phil do
the Brandenburgs or Handel's op. 6.  I miss Raymond Leppard's superb
Handel and Bach, a-historical though it may be, because Leppard's a
great musician with an affinity for the music.  I loved Landowska
Goldbergs because she's got an imagination far beyond the ordinary.

>I'm surprised Roger said the above.  I don't see how the "HIPers" could
>possibly push anyone out of the way; record companies make recording
>decisions, not the performers.

Record companies, as we know, don't necessarily make decisions on the
basis of art.  Indeed, they more likely make decisions based on what
they sense as the expectations of their potential customers.  The
"hard-core" classical music lover expects right now -- and I would
say for spurious reasons -- HIP in Baroque music.

>It seems totally reasonable to me that
>after so many decades of inappropriate performance styles, that there
>would be a "rush" of period instrument recordings.  Now we have quite a
>few modern orchestras taking an historically informed approach in addition
>to the period instrument bands.  Also, I wonder how many of these Handel
>operas would have seen the light of day on record if it wasn't for the
>interest in HIP performances.

Well, I doubt Handel operas, excepting Giulio Cesare, are all that
popular, or at least significantly more popular than they were during
the Sills-Rudel era.  And I doubt that HIP as such had much to do with
their increased popularity.  I will agree that they are recorded because
certain HIP-sters with record-company clout wanted to record them.

>Seems to me that the HIP approach has greatly enhanced the interest of
>classical music enthusiasts in the baroque period.  That's all to the
>good.

I'm neither for nor against HIP.  I simply want the music to knock my
socks off.  That can be done many ways, with or without string vibrato.

Steve Schwartz

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