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Re: [ARSCLIST] Dynamic-frequency Range

Steven C. Barr(x) wrote:

As far as the early recordings...well, fans of classical music
can often find current recordings of many, if not most, of the
pieces in the repertoire. The only reason they have to listen to
vintage recordings is to hear performers who have long since died
(Caruso, Rachmaninoff, usw.) and aren't accessible in any other

There is another factor, often of more importance than the particular performers: performance practice. To hear composers conducting and performing their own works provides insight into their intent, but they might be considered "performers". However, listening to early music before HIP (Historically Informed Performance) is a very different experience from listening to any modern performance.

There is a homogenization of classical music performance today which had no counterpart fifty or a hundred years ago. Landowska's harpsichord for Bach had little resemblance to the keyboard instruments Bach used, but it did introduce the world to something closer to his music than playing his works on a Steinway. By the same token, Glenn Gould's piano performances of Bach's music are revelatory in their way, but that is not accepted as the composer's way.

There was also the phenomenon of Toscanini in opera. He defined the "right" way to perform many operas, but that has become in many cases the only way. To hear alternative approaches, one turns to recordings before his standard became the uniquely accetable interpretation. In one case in my experience, having access to a 1915 recording of "La traviata" led to a production quite different in one area from any recorded in the past eighty years.


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