Sunday, June 18, 2017

Absolute Music - That Miracle Language Without Need for Words...

I thought that it  would be of value and interest to my senses, if I were to listen to a substantial number of recordings of the Mazurka by Chopin, opus 63, number 3.
For me, this gem in c# minor ranks among a small number of the best that Chopin had written in this form. And, along with my having performed it and having used it in my teaching over many years, I decided to enhance my sense of perspective by invoking a saturating mode through a century of various recordings of this masterpiece; something I had planned on doing but never got around to  pursuing.
What came out of this  hour or so of performances that started with post-Lisztian  pianists through giants of our time resulted in a  brilliantly illuminated reminder of how the word 'semiotics' can apply to music - how Interpretation and  Opinion are truly bedfellows.
As an example, the wild difference of opinion as to how to create the message of this music, say, between Rachmaninoff and Rubinstein; or,  Cortot and  Horowitz will invariably form a wide admixture of argumentation.
That wonderful form of consternation coming out of a reality that some totally unknown pianist would deeply move me, directly after hearing one of the historically acclaimed titans creating a stance that did not do a thing for me -  quite an experience  in my endless pursuit of some form of reason.
I remember recording, back-to-back, a series of about seven or eight different  performances of  the  two cadenzas written by Rachmaninoff for his first concerto;  my reason for doing so being my need to witness the resulting reactions on the part of the pianists  to the manner in which they had dealt with the material leading up to the cadenza, which usually can serve as a  a kind of certification of how to package and 'tie with a bow' the meaning of that first movement. It was a collection of staggeringly different 'opinions' of how to construct the movement leading to that cadenza.
So - which of what we hear is  'right'? Or should that question be wrestled with at all?
For those of us involved in this art form - it seems that argumentation is an automatic need, and serves as one of the core values in the  pursuit of answers which must accompany the tactic of 'what to do with those notes'...
What say you?

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