Rognvald wrote: ↑
Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:26 pm
One thing that has I think not been expressed, and which I think you are missing, is that of the evolution of style. Horowitz was a great exponent of a particular style, one that belonged to its time - Segovia was another fine example in his way. If players and audiences really wanted that style to persist, I would assume it would return. But by and large they don't and it hasn't.
For example, let's say that a particular harmonic voicing is extremely difficult to execute and is the only place in the music that creates insecurity in a performance. Will I hit it? Will I muff it? Do I feel angst when approaching it within three measures? Or, do I rewrite the voicing to one which is more facile and only 1 out of a million people would know the difference when it is played? Have I insulted the composer? Have I denigrated the music? Will I be sentenced to the pit of Beelzebub for eternity? No, I played it cleanly and the piece worked. Perhaps this comes from years of playing in large ensembles where the end always justified the means. But why should classical music be any different? . . .why should ANY music be different . . . which brings us nicely to your above remark. The problem with your statement, for me, is that you assume that evolution is for the better . . . not for the worse and this is where we disagree completely. ...
Two thoughts in brief; if you find a passage tricky and you re write and nobody notices, or if they notice they don't mind, that of course is not a problem. Not least on the assumption that if a player needs to re-write in order to cope, they are probably that great and wonderful thing, an amateur, and so not relevant to critique. Actually, no, there are actually occasions when professional players re-write (Williams in the Aranjuez comes to mind, as do certain things in ensembles I have done) but if there is good reason, then no problem and I will defend you readily in that circumstance. The problem to me is that rather many people change things either inadvertently, negligently, or lazily, none of which I would wish to defend subject to the above caveats. And many people blur or ignore the distinction you are making, to the loss of the value of what they do.
Re evolution of style, well I did not actually say (or at least intend to imply) that change of style was necessarily
an improvement, and would not support such an assertion. I used the word evolution because it is pretty much a gradual change that is incremental and on the small scale, imperceptible. I happen to think that the change of stylistic priorities which means less personal idiosyncrasy is imposed upon a score (either in changing it or wantonly distorting it or both or other such things) is an improvement. Personally, I would agree that too little interpretation, for want of a more complicated description, is a bad thing and yes it happens and probably always has; equally, too much (personalised) over
-interpretation has me switching off. One observation here is that people often keep the stylistic preferences they formed in their youth, which they often later forget were in part in rejection of their parents' generation's preferences. So again, its a personal, largely subjective question, which changes over time and is all forgotten when we are gone and no longer able to state our preferences, though at least for the last century or so, recordings have been able to provide a record for the future to see how these stylistic evolutions happen over time.