Period Music Debate

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rowuk, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    That adds an interesting dimension Mike.

    Are we trying to achieve something for the audience or ourselves?

    Have to think on that.


    Regards,


    Trevor
     
  2. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

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    And even recordings can't be completly dependable for things like tempos. Listen to some of the Clarke recordings, as fasinating as they are as a document of how Clarke played, he is limited by the technology (3 minute sides) so in my opnion some of the tempos are fast to the point of unmusical, but i write that off as having to try to fit a 5 minute solo on a 3 minute side with as little cutting as possible.
     
  3. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Neither - the purpose of a "period" performance is to come as close as possible to the sounds (and look) that an audience would have experienced at that time. A historically correct presentation, intended for both the entertainment and the education of the audience. Playing old music in a different style or with different instrumentation is not a period performance. It may be new or even shocking to an audience, as the sounds of a keyed trumpet probably were when first featured in concert, but today, playing swing Mozart on a banjo isn't a "period" performance.
     
  4. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

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    It is certainly one of the aims of period performance, to entertain/educate, but surely we can only go so far with our modern audience. We, as musicians, understand the difference between the instruents and most of us would probably agree that there are definite tonal differences between modern and old instruments. This is fine, but are our audiences always blessed with the same musical knowledge?
    Could there be a certain degree of intellectual snobbery associated with the period instrument performance crowd?
    We play it "properly."

    However much we aim to present the music in an historically informed style, the audience will never be hearing it in the same way as the audiences from when it was written. Our audiences (even the most musically intellectually snobbish audiences that frequent many of the music festivals) have grown up with the sounds of contemporary culture - Mozart on gut strings is probably not going to have the same impact on them as Jimi Hendrix did. It is impossible to present the "authentic" aural experience to a contemporary audience because the sound map of the world they live in is very different to that which the composer wrote the music for.

    I am not saying that period performance is a waste of time, far from it - I am a huge fan of period instrument tonal colours. The point I am trying to make (not very well, I admit) is that we will only ever go so far.
     
  5. Hags888

    Hags888 Pianissimo User

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    I think trumpetmike is right on here. Modern audiences will never hear the music like a period audience did, and modern performers will never *quite* perform like period performers did. But where do you draw the line from a social/culture perspective? At what point do audiences "stop hearing music like they used to"? Sure, audiences don't hear music today the way they did in the 1600s, but do hear it the same as they did in 1950? 1980? 2005?

    However, it is still valuable and meaningful to perform on period instruments, both for the audience and the performers. How valuable or meaningful is it? That is entirely up to the performers and audience playing/listening...as it always has been with any music and how it always will be IMO.

    So, why do I fiddle around with cornetto and natural trumpet? For several reasons:

    1. The cornetto is an obsolete music that people rarely get to hear played, if ever. Same for the natural trumpet. Performing and listening to it satisfies curiousity and entertains.

    2. As lots of music from the renaissance and baroque period was written for these instruments, it just makes sense that somewhere, someone has learned to play these instruments and made recordings of the pieces.

    3. What justification is there for NOT performing/listening to period instruments? There seem to be many more justifications FOR it than against it.

    I support period instruments and performance practice, but I still acknowledge that yes, it's not an exact science and nobody is really "playing these pieces as the composer actually intended". To make that claim is taking the whole idea too far.
     
  6. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

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    Thats right audiences don't hear music the same because we have heard wagner, and stravinsky, and there is nothing that can be done to get us to forget where early music is going to.
     
  7. BrassOnLine

    BrassOnLine Piano User

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    Well, the ONLY instrument which has not been taken in its historical place, is the trumpet.
    So often we heard holed trumpets on historical ensembles. WHY ???
    It is possible to play in tune ("modern" tune) if you study just 20 min. per day -I assume you are a good piston trumpeter-.
    Holes are for lazy players.
    Best wishes
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Holes are not just for lazy players. A working professional simply needs more time than they often have to keep the holeless chops up. That does not make them lazy, rather economical. I think a performance with a holed instrument has most of the sonic benefits of the nat.
     
  9. BrassOnLine

    BrassOnLine Piano User

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    Strings play on different bows and strings,
    flutes, hobo, bassons... all they make a hard effort to play on instruments very different of their modern equivalencies.
    Why not the trumpets ???
    Their time is less worth ???
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    BOL,
    I am not sure that we are talking about the same thing. I do not see the major orchestral violin players switching to cat gut strings and short bows. The woodwind players also do not fight with the historic replicas either (except possibly flute players with wooden traverse flutes. The are certainly notable exceptions, but not many.
    I do not consider Niklas Eklund, Reinhold Friedrich or Dennis Ferry to be "lazy" compared to J.F. Madeuf. They just have a lot more on their plate than historic music.
    I guess we have to decide if the path is the goal or the final product. A natural trumpet or the holey version offer a similar experience for the listener - if played well. Both change the overall orchestral fabric and balance in a very unique and useful way. I definitely prefer in-tune performances and the early recordings of Mr. Madeuf were lacking in this respect. In the mean time we have a different level of expectation. We will not be able to retrain the standing symphony player, so second best (3 and 4 hole horns) is better than NOTHING. The next generation can offer the complete experience when it is their turn!
     

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