Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Improvisation on a classical theme

I've thought and tried to express this before but Stuart puts it in a much nicer way. We know that Mozart "made stuff up" all the time, improvising and inventing, trying new ways to play a tune every time he touched an instrument. Yet today there are traditional interpretations that "freeze" a particular performance as "perfect" and must be copied as accurately as possible. How sad Wolfgang would have been.

Impersonation instead of interpretation, WSJ 11/11

By STUART ISACOFF  Nov. 10, 2014 6:40 p.m. ET

Recordings have made possible the wide dissemination of marvelous musical works performed by the greatest players in history. Today, we can hear Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations (either one) or Oscar Peterson’s improvisations any time we like—and we can do this at home, or in our cars, or while jogging in a park. In what other age has so much rich musical heritage been so available? Still, this bounty comes at a price. In some ways recordings have had a negative impact on the art of piano-playing.