Author Topic: The death of classical music  (Read 20221 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #120 on: June 04, 2007, 08:36:39 AM »
Indeed, which is why for the serious scholar, they could never function as a substitute.

So are you saying that only the serious scholar should bother with the originals. In modern productions, should we just tell the story and throw out the poetry, in order to make it more comprehensible to a modern audience? Of course not, because it is completely unnecessary. When I attended the British premiere of Kenneth Branagh's film of Much Ado About Nothing, the audience were laughing out loud at the sparring between his Benedict and Emma Thompson's Beatrice, laughing at what they were saying, not at any added business. Evidently that audience had no difficulty understanding the text.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #121 on: June 04, 2007, 08:41:20 AM »
you know what'd be really cool?
to go back in time and see the ORIGINAL Shakespeare plays  :D
time to practice my English accent and also, i need to go out and buy old clothes from that era....

but my time machine is broken  :'(

Well you can get pretty close to it by going to Shakespeare's Globe in London. Not every production, but one or two at least will try to be as authentic as possible. Basic scenery, actors in Elizabethan dress and boys playing the female parts. You will have seen the theatre if you saw the film "Shakespeare in Love", as the play sequences were filmed there.
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Larry Rinkel

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #122 on: June 04, 2007, 08:46:56 AM »
Just as I refuse to accept that The Beatles, great pop group though they were, are on the same plane as Bach, beethoven et al.

But are they on the same plane as Elgar? And did the plane take off and arrive on time?

Offline JoshLilly

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #123 on: June 04, 2007, 09:04:13 AM »
I have attended in person only one performance of a Shakespearean play, and it was King Lear. They made many one-word changes to the text. One that stuck in my mind and I noticed immediately was the alteration of "medicine" to "poison". The line was something like "else I'd never again trust medicine", and they changed it to poison. Other changes like this. But how many people these days would have understood the use of the word "medicine" in that way? Without those small changes throughout, very few people in the audience could have followed it; thus, attendance of the repeated performances would most likely have dropped. We're not talking about England here, we're talking about the southern U.S. (North Carolina, to be exact).

I don't like the changes, but I understand why they were done. However, there's a special sub-layer of Hell just for Branagh for what he's doing with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte>:(

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #124 on: June 04, 2007, 09:14:36 AM »
I don't like the changes, but I understand why they were done. However, there's a special sub-layer of Hell just for Branagh for what he's doing with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte>:(

Well I know nothing about his Mozart, but I love his Shakespearean films. But then, a great stage or film director does not necessarily make a good opera one.
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Offline Grazioso

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #125 on: June 04, 2007, 09:29:15 AM »
i like this point.
Maybe if i had this teacher i (and the rest of the class) would find Shakespeare interesting, or at least easier to find interesting? Our English teacher last year was so ridiculously bored about everything and made us have to read it out loud. I remember the only person i ever payed attention to (same with the rest of the class) was my friend, who started rapping it. But when it was someone else, my mind started to wander.....

Watch some good films of the Bard's plays, of which there are many. (Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing has already been mentioned.) That can really open his work up to you. While you can certainly get a lot from reading them (silently or aloud), they are plays and therefore meant to be seen. Seeing multiple productions of the same play can aid understanding and highlight the many different interpretive stances directors and actors can take towards each text. Just reading it aloud once in class probably will only begin to scratch the surface.

So are you saying that only the serious scholar should bother with the originals. In modern productions, should we just tell the story and throw out the poetry, in order to make it more comprehensible to a modern audience? Of course not, because it is completely

I agree, in principle, for reasons I noted earlier. However, in certain circumstances, a poetic artist can retell the same story with different words to create an equally valid and moving artwork: witness Akira Kurosawa's classic film Ran, which retells the King Lear story with its own brand of visual poetry--linguistic, I can't say, since I don't know Japanese :)
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 09:33:31 AM by Grazioso »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #126 on: June 04, 2007, 09:45:32 AM »

I agree, in principle, for reasons I noted earlier. However, in certain circumstances, a poetic artist can retell the same story with different words to create an equally valid and moving artwork: witness Akira Kurosawa's classic film Ran, which retells the King Lear story with its own brand of visual poetry--linguistic, I can't say, since I don't know Japanese :)

Ran is indeed a great film, but it is an adaptation of Shakespeare, rather than a Japanese version of the play, just as, I suppose, Verdi's Otello is an adaptation. They don't replace the originals, but compliment them.
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Steve

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #127 on: June 04, 2007, 12:08:14 PM »
So are you saying that only the serious scholar should bother with the originals. In modern productions, should we just tell the story and throw out the poetry, in order to make it more comprehensible to a modern audience? Of course not, because it is completely unnecessary. When I attended the British premiere of Kenneth Branagh's film of Much Ado About Nothing, the audience were laughing out loud at the sparring between his Benedict and Emma Thompson's Beatrice, laughing at what they were saying, not at any added business. Evidently that audience had no difficulty understanding the text.

Ah, where to begin:

"So are you saying that only the serious scholar should bother with the originals"

Were that statement to ever come from my mouth, I should have a most cavalier disregard for Shakespeare. This is not even remotely a defensible position. That most certainly is not what I meant.

To experience the unabridged Shakespeare texts is truly one of the most satisfying experience a person could have. I would wish that every person would someday be able to share in it.

But, realistically, we have to accept that the state of the world is far from what I might deem 'ideal'. Many will find the linguistic barriers too intimidating to put forth the needed effort. Should we then say to these people, that there is only value in Shakespeare when his works are read in the original form? While you certainly lose a sense of poetic lyricism, metaphorical strength, and to some extent, meaning, modern-translations remain essentially Shakespearean in nature. It is possible to appreciate the depth of Shakespearan characterization, and his uncanny eye for human nature. Shakespeare, more than any writer, captured the very essence of the human condition, and it would be a shame for any reader, regardless of skill or dedication, to miss even the skeleton of his works. For those who would be unwilling to devote the needed time and energy to deciphering the original texts, at the very least, they will not be spared from them entirely.

I've attended numerous productions of Shakespeare's plays. If any of them had relied on a modern translation, I would have vacated the theatre immediately.  :)
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 12:10:39 PM by Steve »

karlhenning

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #128 on: June 04, 2007, 12:12:03 PM »
I've attended numerous productions of Shakespeare's plays. If any of them had relied on a modern translation, I would have vacated the theatre immediately.  :)

Run do not walk . . . .

Steve

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #129 on: June 04, 2007, 03:07:30 PM »
Run do not walk . . . .

It can be difficult to shout in agony whilst running.  :)

Larry Rinkel

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #130 on: June 04, 2007, 04:30:49 PM »
I have attended in person only one performance of a Shakespearean play, and it was King Lear. They made many one-word changes to the text. One that stuck in my mind and I noticed immediately was the alteration of "medicine" to "poison". The line was something like "else I'd never again trust medicine", and they changed it to poison. Other changes like this. But how many people these days would have understood the use of the word "medicine" in that way? Without those small changes throughout, very few people in the audience could have followed it; thus, attendance of the repeated performances would most likely have dropped. We're not talking about England here, we're talking about the southern U.S. (North Carolina, to be exact).

I don't like the changes, but I understand why they were done.

This overlooks a few things, one being that there still are numerous people who know the Shakespearean texts intimately. Changes of this sort do not simply improve comprehension; even if this dubious point were granted, the changes destroy the poetry, cadence, and expression of the original version. For another point, audiences at performances where the language is not modernized can still follow most if not all of the action from context; in the example you cite, it's easy enough to grasp that Regan is taken deathly ill, and that Goneril was her murderer. This is inevitable: one cannot assume that the illiterate groundlings standing in the pit at Shakespeare's Globe Theater in 1600 followed all the nuances of his language either, and as the plays were generally not published, it's not as if an audience could prepare itself by reading the texts ahead of time as we might. But because Shakespeare was a consummate man of the theater, he structured his plots so that audiences could absorb them even if not every detail of the language was crystal clear.

Even so, a lot of Shakespeare's language is not nearly as complicated as is sometimes assumed. Phrases like Othello's "When I shall turn the business of my soul / To such exsufflicate and blown surmises, / Matching thy inference" or Macbeth's "No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine" are relatively uncommon.

But the change you speak of was a bad idea for yet another reason. Shakespeare of course had the words "poison" and "medicine" in his vocabulary, and they meant what they mean today. But Goneril's use of "medicine" is a direct response to Regan's use of the word "sick." By ironically using "medicine" as a euphemism, Goneril in fact shows herself to be more vicious and heartless than if she had used the literal word "poison."

Quote
Regan. Sick, O, sick!
Goneril. [aside] If not, I'll ne'er trust medicine.


It's generally a bad idea to second-guess a genius like Shakespeare. That's why he was a genius, and most of us are not.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 06:53:35 PM by Larry Rinkel »

karlhenning

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #131 on: June 04, 2007, 04:43:17 PM »
So who was the Frenchman whose translation of Hamlet rendered the prince's exclamation upon seeing his father's ghost -- Angels and ministers of grace defend us! -- as:

Quote
Tiens, qu'est-ce que c'est ça?

Larry Rinkel

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #132 on: June 04, 2007, 04:52:33 PM »
So who was the Frenchman whose translation of Hamlet rendered the prince's exclamation upon seeing his father's ghost -- Angels and ministers of grace defend us! -- as:


Don't know, but I'd hate to see what he did with "to be or not to be."

karlhenning

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #133 on: June 04, 2007, 04:53:19 PM »
"Like, whatever . . . ."

Offline 12tone.

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #134 on: June 04, 2007, 05:35:48 PM »
When I was out today getting my oil changed I came across a newspaper so I started to read it.  On the front page of a certain section therein layed a story about Jurgen Gothe, the host to the popular (and apparently more popular than I thought) program called 'Disc Drive' on our CBC Radio 2.  R2 being our classical station.

Instead of telling you the whole story of what the article was about (and it was sad), I'd like to make the point of 'variety'. 

So Mr. Gothe's show not only plays classical, but also jazz.  And some pop.  Bluegrass.  Country.  Whatever he seems to find...or the producers.  However it works.  So is variety the best way to get people to listen to classical?  That's a main question here. 

From the article, R2 used to be just classical.  And from what I can remember from years and years ago, that's true.  I remember sitting in the car asking my parents to 'turn back to that classical station'.  Well, it's not a truely classical station anymore.  The writer of the article went so far as to make a big no-no IMHO -- that being giving his thoughts on the matter.  His thoughts?  Classical music being pretentious. 

Back to the point at hand, what should a radio station do?   Play classical all day and hope someone comes across something interesting?  Or is variety good? 

I can't feel good about this 'ipod generation' (a phrase the writer used as well, I think) where eclecticism has gone out of control.   

Offline PSmith08

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #135 on: June 04, 2007, 07:23:49 PM »
So who was the Frenchman whose translation of Hamlet rendered the prince's exclamation upon seeing his father's ghost -- Angels and ministers of grace defend us! -- as:


Jean-Paul Sartre? ( ;))

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #136 on: June 05, 2007, 01:04:26 AM »
Reading through many of the posts to my original, and quite aside from the entertaining, but off-topic, discussion of Shakespeare, it seems that we have also gone slightly off topic by discussing the popularity (or lack of it) of classical music.

My original post was more about perception. It seems to me that a few decades ago, classical music was perceived to be a good thing, whereas now it is considered unimportant, hence its side lining in the mainstream press. Not so very long ago, a music section of a paper would discuss mostly classical music, with maybe a nod towards pop. Nowadays the reverse is true, as in the recent Independent Music Magazine, where classical music didn't even receive a mention. Maybe we shouldn't be surprised, now that pop music is given a credence it never used to have, even back in the days of The Beatles. Their music is taken far more seriously now, for instance, than it was when they were still performing and recording. With pop music now elevated to the status of serious music, there is little room left for classical.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Mark

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #137 on: June 05, 2007, 02:21:57 AM »
Tsaraslondon, I think the answer to the question, 'Why doesn't the mainstream press place much (or indeed, any) importance on featuring articles about classical music?', is actually very simple to answer. There is a perception among money-hungry, circulation-obsessed media moguls that what people want is pop, rock, tittle-tattle and celeb gossip. In short, anything that passes for 'culture' but which doesn't actually deserve that title. If putting Arctic Monkeys on the cover of the 'arts' supplement - rather than, say, Albinoni - shifts more copies of the paper (and it will, no question), then rock beats Baroque hands down.

It's not that people don't consider classical music important, more that they think it TOO important (or perhaps, in the eyes of some, self-important); it's seen as occupying a high plane up to which most are unwilling to climb. Besides which, few people in our hectic modern world want their entertainment to be 'difficult' ... and that's what many folks think classical music is. And so we have the rise of Katherine Jenkins, Il Divo and Alfie Boe: palatable, sanitised, psuedo-classical for the masses who want to look no further; and who - for the most part - are discouraged from so doing by the money-hungry, circulation-obsessed media moguls ...
« Last Edit: June 05, 2007, 02:27:25 AM by Mark »

Offline Florestan

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #138 on: June 05, 2007, 02:30:49 AM »
Tsaraslondon, I think the answer to the question, 'Why doesn't the mainstream press place much (or indeed, any) importance on featuring articles about classical music?', is actually very simple to answer. There is a perception among money-hungry, circulation-obsessed media moguls that what people want is pop, rock, tittle-tattle and celeb gossip. In short, anything that passes for 'culture' but which doesn't actually deserve that title. If putting Arctic Monkeys on the cover of the 'arts' supplement - rather than, say, Albinoni - shifts more copies of the paper (and it will, no question), then rock beats Baroque hands down.

It's not that people don't consider classical music important, more that they think it TOO important (or perhaps, in the eyes of some, self-important); it's seen as occupying a high plane up to which most are unwilling to climb. Besides which, few people in our hectic modern world want their entertainment to be 'difficult' ... and that's what many folks think classical music is. And so we have the rise of Katherine Jenkins, Il Divo and Alfie Boe: palatable, sanitised, psuedo-classical for the masses who want to look no further; and who - for the most part - are discouraged from so doing by the money-hungry, circulation-obsessed media moguls ...

Hear, hear!
A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. --- Goethe

Mark

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #139 on: June 05, 2007, 02:49:21 AM »
We should bear in mind that this ignorance (using that word in its correct sense) of classic music by media types has nothing to do with some kind of conspiracy to 'dumb down' the world, but is simply evidence once more of one of mankind's baser instincts: greed ... and particularly, love of money. If classical music suddenly became 'cool' (i.e. a money spinner), the Vienna Philharmonic would be headlining at Glastonbury. ;D

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