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View Diary: Thursday Classical Music OPUS 56: Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (finale) (54 comments)

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  •  I always wonder if (2+ / 0-)
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    MT Spaces, Dumbo

     a musician or orchestra takes on a challenging work - if they ever feel like - "man, we really nailed it"  or if the whole exercise is just kind of humbling.

      there seems so much room, for lack of a better word, for interpertation and variation in execution.  One of my areas of fascination with Beethoven's music (among many) is that so much of it he never heard.  Obviously skilled musicians have a good idea of what it seems he intended - but do we ever know for sure?

    •  Boxer7, absolutely! (2+ / 0-)
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      Boxer7, Dumbo

      It is always humbling while underway, but after great performances, there is always elation. Sometimes discussions are had over beverages afterward, or just a fist bump or two backstage.

      Interpretation is what makes this music so timeless. Every conductor and every orchestra will highlight a unique perspective of a great work. It never crossed my mind to think of Beethoven's function as a deaf composer.
      With all music a musician can hear and visualize how something sounds just from reading the score.

      I doubt if that hampered Beethoven much at all in envisioning what he wrote down.

      The musician's lifetime job is to define the characteristics of a composer's concepts from all of his/her work. To apply that knowledge to to each particular performance.

      One thing I find really telling....listen to any of the famous recordings of the '40's ...50's of Beethoven, Mahler, Brahms or whomever, and discover how much different orchestras and conductors approached their work stylistically as compared to today.There is much more space and abbreviation in concepts just from that period.

      Compare a Mahler symphony of today with perhaps Bernstein's Mahler. Or Brahms 4th of Toscanini with Philly today.

      there is such a difference in concept. I sometimes think we have gone way overboard in long, boring phrasing with today's orchestras.
      Definition is lost.
      Somewhere there is a happy medium and many of the great European orchestras seem better at maintaining that.  

      •  the angle that fascinates me (1+ / 0-)
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        Dumbo

         about the deafness (and with Beethoven there is I think an element as well because of his genius) - is not that the mental task is daunting- he can see the music in his mind - it is that deafness is very isolating.

          In many ways - Beethoven had to turn inwards to reach outwards  - I always think, maybe without foundation - that one hears in his music the sound of finding union in music that led Beethoven to something extraordinary.

          As you might have gleaned I find the C Minor - well I dont really have the vocabulary- spectacular, amazing, profound and enjoy all the differenct interpertations - but I always wonder if there is one that is "right"  - it seems one of those pieces of art that requires the input of the listener.

        •  guess I'm not quite as mystified as you, (2+ / 0-)
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          Boxer7, Dumbo

          since history reveals so many incredibly deep composers suffered from some sort of isolation. Whether it is due to deafness or personality issues, or even with some of the great Russian composers...the incredible political and social issues that didn't silence them.

          That to me is the essence of great music. So much of music affects me emotionally because of the depth and layers of complexity.
          Regarding performance of this music....one can try to emulate historically how it might have been performed at the time. It requires quite a few adjustments, such as period instruments, recognition of particular style of the time, and perhaps...musicians that are not quite as skilled and polished as current standard.

          I think worrying that one isn't hearing the definitive reading of a given work really misses the point in a sense.  

          The work in my view must be listened to much in a way that one would listen to a speaker reciting Shakespeare for example. It is the presentation and the thought that is most important.
          The listener's job is to enjoy...and if something appears to feel or sound phony, perhaps then the chore is for the listener to explore why through further understanding and growth with the subject matter.

          The work stands....on the printed page with numerous notations and suggestions to interpret. Either you feel it is being honored as written or you don't. Your view as the listener is what is important.
          So my suggestion is to simply enjoy and with further familiarity you will be better able to critique an individual performance.

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