A little test

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: A little test

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:10 am

Nick Clow wrote:Good grief. Mark
Whilst I have been concerned about the possible distress or damage caused by this thread to Peter Fletcher, I am now more concerned at the damage to your standing. It is a car crash of a thread. No conciliation appears possible. One vote for its deletion.
Ha ha. I have no standing to worry about Nick - but I do thank you very sincerely for your concern.

I value free, open and honest discourse - therefore I would not like to see this or any thread in which the contributors have offered their true opinions deleted. Whilst it's true that a certain misapprehension became manifest thus drawing some critical comments from others, I stand by my assertion that I have at no point made any derogatory assessment of PF's general abilities as a performer.

I even tried to distract attention away from PF and on to my query:
Back on page 3 Mark wrote:I'm surprised that the prevalent topics are still Mr. Fletcher's tone, or the recording quality, or interpretation - none of which have any significance.

... and how could I be any more clear than this?
Still on page 3 Mark wrote:Please forget Peter Fletcher - it's us the listeners and our perception that I'm questioning.
But to little avail.

I did draw attention to a short passage of just a few measures displaying certain characteristics (which I would not allow to go unaddressed in a student) and asked firstly, do others perceive these characteristics and if so, is it acceptable to them? Perhaps naively I was expecting straightforward replies along the lines of:

"Yes, I hear it but it doesn't detract from the experience for me.", "Yes, I hear it and it really bothers me." or "This is great, I can't hear anything wrong."

and so on. If anyone still doesn't understand that then I throw the towel in.

As I commented before - I do at least have an answer of sorts which appears to be that a majority have no idea what I'm talking about.

Pat Dodson
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Re: A little test

Post by Pat Dodson » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:34 am

Hi Mark

The difficulty is that by the end of the thread's second page pretty much all response to your actual question had dried up. Much of the focus then turned to whether it was right to conduct such a discussion at all because in raising your interesting general point you used this specific PF example. Many, though not all, are uncomfortable with this because of the implied criticism of PF. Although you certainly didn't make any derogatory comments about PF's general abilities as a performer and did indeed attempt to deflect from the particular example to your more general question, you have acknowledged in your last post that you:
Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
....did draw attention to a short passage of just a few measures displaying certain characteristics (which I would not allow to go unaddressed in a student)....
That phrase in brackets does imply criticism of PF's performance of that passage. Unfortunately many here are now more focussed on that, and whether you should have raised your question through posting the video, than on your question itself.

My tutor felt that limited rubato and expression when playing Bach were only acceptable against a background of strict control of note values, tempo, pulse and rhythm and that parts should be well articulated and balanced. I remain uncomfortable when I hear a performance that deviates much from that but I acknowledge that's just my training and preference.

Like you I would not want to see the thread deleted and I hope we can move more to the substance of your question but if the debate continues to revolve only around whether the thread should exist then it will become very uncomfortable and unproductive and perhaps should be brought to a close (rather than deleted.) Fingers crossed.

michael_barre
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Re: A little test

Post by michael_barre » Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:37 pm

The first thing I noticed was his right hand technique is poor. In the scalar passages he moves his fingers too far from the strings and doesn't keep them curved. He would benefit from studying Christopher Berg's book, "Mastering Guitar Technique: Process & Essence."

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rojarosguitar
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Re: A little test

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:33 pm

michael_barre wrote:The first thing I noticed was his right hand technique is poor. In the scalar passages he moves his fingers too far from the strings and doesn't keep them curved. He would benefit from studying Christopher Berg's book, "Mastering Guitar Technique: Process & Essence."
Could you be so kind to post a link to a video showing us how you benefited from studying Christopher Berg's book?
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lucy
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Re: A little test

Post by lucy » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:10 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
michael_barre wrote:The first thing I noticed was his right hand technique is poor. In the scalar passages he moves his fingers too far from the strings and doesn't keep them curved. He would benefit from studying Christopher Berg's book, "Mastering Guitar Technique: Process & Essence."
Could you be so kind to post a link to a video showing us how you benefited from studying Christopher Berg's book?
Not sure what this has to do with the OP's questions! :chaud:

In answer to his questions, I have to say I just don't know whether playing Bach in this way is the norm, though I have sometimes heard Bach played more loosely recently. However, I for one, don't actually mind it. My only quibble, (apart from his tone quality), is that his rubato could have been more convincing. By that I mean, it could have made more musical sense. Just how I heard it!

Who says Bach should be played rigidly, even if that was more the norm 20 or 30 years ago? I'd put the change, if there is one, down to fashion.

Personally, I don't think rubato should be disallowed in Bach, but if you're going to do it, the phrases should still be clearly articulated, in line with the type of music it is - ie. Baroque music has clearly differentiated phrases (with quite strong cadences). It is often said it is architectural, so a performance should create a strong structure and not be woolly.
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Pat Dodson
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Re: A little test

Post by Pat Dodson » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:36 pm

lucy wrote:
.....Who says Bach should be played rigidly, even if that was more the norm 20 or 30 years ago? I'd put the change, if there is one, down to fashion.

Personally, I don't think rubato should be disallowed in Bach, but if you're going to do it, the phrases should still be clearly articulated, in line with the type of music it is - ie. Baroque music has clearly differentiated phrases (with quite strong cadences). It is often said it is architectural, so a performance should create a strong structure and not be woolly.

Great to see a post that replies to Mark's question. :D

I'm afraid my fashion in playing Bach is probably, like my dress sense, 30 years out of date. Hey ho. 8)

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GeoffB
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Re: A little test

Post by GeoffB » Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:50 pm

This thread is being returned after a cooling-off period and with the removal of a number of posts which were preventing it from getting back on track.

Some members are understandably uncomfortable with the criticism of a particular performer, but as he is a professional, playing on a commercially issued promotional video with comments enabled, the moderators are of the view that criticism is permissible, so long as it is politely expressed and with constructive intent as succinctly described here:
Mr Kite wrote:I think it is legitimate to criticise a professional performance, and that this is not a vindictive act but a way of exploring what is and should be valued in a performance. I also think it is legitimate to discuss changes in the culture surrounding guitar and whether there has been a shift away from an appreciation of musicality towards an appreciation of technique almost for its own sake.
Having said that, criticism of the performance itself is not the stated purpose of the topic.

Members are therefore asked to allow this thread to get back on topic as follows:

The topic is NOT about criticizing the performer's tone or technique, or the recording quality. It has been pointed out that this one recording does not reflect his performances elsewhere, and the aim is not to denigrate him at all.

It IS about whether members actually perceive a "looseness" in the interpretation, and if so whether they feel this has now become acceptable:
Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote: Is Bach performed in this manner the norm?
...
Does everyone hear it and if so do you find this kind of loose "interpretation" acceptable in a professional performance?
...
because I hear this kind of thing more and more - including professional players of good standing.
...
Please forget Peter Fletcher - it's us the listeners and our perception that I'm questioning.
...
I was expecting straightforward replies along the lines of:

"Yes, I hear it but it doesn't detract from the experience for me.", "Yes, I hear it and it really bothers me." or "This is great, I can't hear anything wrong."
Future posts which are off-topic may be removed. Thank you for your cooperation.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: A little test

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:18 pm

Thank you Geoff for bringing this back, with the assertions of your second paragraph and overall clarifications.
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