Author Topic: The death of classical music  (Read 20314 times)

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Heather Harrison

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #80 on: June 02, 2007, 03:21:21 PM »
Maybe Beethoven on electric guitars?

If this happens, I want to hear it.  It might be entertaining in a weird sort of way.

Heather

Steve

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #81 on: June 02, 2007, 03:26:15 PM »
If this happens, I want to hear it.  It might be entertaining in a weird sort of way.

Heather

Or, it might be an awful, ghastly experience. I'm banking on the latter.

mahlertitan

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #82 on: June 02, 2007, 05:06:51 PM »
Though even Sjakespeare is being dumbed down now. Many of the texts are being translated into more modern English. What next? Maybe Beethoven on electric guitars?

well, that's sometimes unavoidable, suppose you can only read japanese or chinese, you are gonna have to settle with a "dumbed down" translation.

gomro

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #83 on: June 02, 2007, 06:32:38 PM »
Though even Sjakespeare is being dumbed down now. Many of the texts are being translated into more modern English. What next? Maybe Beethoven on electric guitars?

Beethoven on electric guitars happened quite a few years ago, recorded by a bizarre-looking woman calling herself The Great Kat. I have, thankfully, never heard it. However, a quick Google search brings up
http://www.greatkat.com/
which will not only enlighten you in that particular pursuit, but will also blow your computer's speakers when shrieking feedback roars out upon loading the page. So caveat emptor, cave felisum and all that.  The Great Kat, as a quick perusal of her incoherent webpage reveals (speakers turned off), also thinks she is the "New Beethoven." Not that there was anything wrong with the old one.

I think this may be Exhibit A for the "Dumbing-Down of Classical Music"...

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #84 on: June 03, 2007, 01:35:26 AM »
well, that's sometimes unavoidable, suppose you can only read japanese or chinese, you are gonna have to settle with a "dumbed down" translation.

That's an entirely different argument. Shakespeare's English may not be English as it is spoken today, but it is still English. With a little input from the reader, it is not so impenetrable. And once you start meddling with it, what happens to the poetry? Even popular films, like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, kept to the original text, even if it did make swathing cuts. The film was still a huge, popular success. We do not have to change the words to make Shakespeare interesting, only the manner of its teaching. The same could be said of classical music.

Incidentally, my first experience of a Baz Luhrmann production was his Australian Opera production of La Boheme, set in the 1950s, with a young, believable cast. They didn't have the best voices in the world, and I'm not saying it's how I would always want to see the opera, but it too was a huge success with young audiences. And not a note of the music was changed.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Mark

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #85 on: June 03, 2007, 01:44:28 AM »
We do not have to change the words to make Shakespeare interesting, only the manner of its teaching. The same could be said of classical music.

Wholeheartedly seconded.

Heather Harrison

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #86 on: June 03, 2007, 04:37:04 AM »
Beethoven on electric guitars happened quite a few years ago, recorded by a bizarre-looking woman calling herself The Great Kat. I have, thankfully, never heard it. However, a quick Google search brings up
http://www.greatkat.com/
which will not only enlighten you in that particular pursuit, but will also blow your computer's speakers when shrieking feedback roars out upon loading the page. So caveat emptor, cave felisum and all that.  The Great Kat, as a quick perusal of her incoherent webpage reveals (speakers turned off), also thinks she is the "New Beethoven." Not that there was anything wrong with the old one.

I think this may be Exhibit A for the "Dumbing-Down of Classical Music"...

I was brave enough to check this out, and I found it entertaining in a weird sort of way, but it is also quite vile-sounding.  I don't imagine that I will really want to hear the sound clips again.  (I will, of course, send the URL to a few friends.)  I'm not surprised that something like this exists.

Heather

Steve

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #87 on: June 03, 2007, 10:21:11 AM »
That's an entirely different argument. Shakespeare's English may not be English as it is spoken today, but it is still English. With a little input from the reader, it is not so impenetrable. And once you start meddling with it, what happens to the poetry? Even popular films, like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, kept to the original text, even if it did make swathing cuts. The film was still a huge, popular success. We do not have to change the words to make Shakespeare interesting, only the manner of its teaching. The same could be said of classical music.

Incidentally, my first experience of a Baz Luhrmann production was his Australian Opera production of La Boheme, set in the 1950s, with a young, believable cast. They didn't have the best voices in the world, and I'm not saying it's how I would always want to see the opera, but it too was a huge success with young audiences. And not a note of the music was changed.

I'm not sure I follow your response. The purpose of 'Modern English Tranlations' is not for the serious scholar, or perhaps, even the high-school English course. It enables casual readers, or younger ones (6-8 grade), to engage Shakespeare, and other thinkers of the past. It would never replace a reference (one of the Shakespeare folios), in serious study.

As to your assertion that Eliabeathan english is not entirely different from modern English, you're mistaken. The Shakespeare texts which are accepted as reference today look very little like the original texts. They have undergone a great deal of editing to preserve the poetic quality. Trust me, if you read an original Shakespeare folio, you would not be able to read it, even with 'a great deal' of effort.

Offline techniquest

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #88 on: June 03, 2007, 10:59:27 AM »
Quote
Though even Shakespeare is being dumbed down now. Many of the texts are being translated into more modern English. What next? Maybe Beethoven on electric guitars?

Beethoven on electric guitars does not necessarily mean that it is dumbed down however; it is merely transcribed to a different instrument or ensemble. In the same way that large works are transcribed for piano, or vice versa - is Ravels' orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition a dumbed down version? No - dumbed up possibly since it is going from the lesser forces to the greater  :P On the other hand, if the new version of a piece contains only the recognisable theme with an accompaniment of drums / drum machine or an 'up-tempo' backing group of some kind, then it's dumbed down (imho).
Thirty or so years ago, Japanese keyboard wiz Isao Tomita transcribed famous classical pieces for banks of synthesizers and the result was wonderful (until he went digital, then it lost it's soul). There's no way that the transcription of the music from traditional to Tomita's new instrumental forms dumbed down the result.

Offline Florestan

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #89 on: June 03, 2007, 11:03:57 AM »
http://www.greatkat.com/

I've taken a look at that lady.

Not bad, if you like it weird and loud, but still no contester for Bronislaw Huberman, Emil Gilels or Karajan...  ;D
Music expresses that which cannot be said and upon which it is impossible to remain silent.” --- Victor Hugo

Steve

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #90 on: June 03, 2007, 11:04:15 AM »
Beethoven on electric guitars does not necessarily mean that it is dumbed down however; it is merely transcribed to a different instrument or ensemble. In the same way that large works are transcribed for piano, or vice versa - is Ravels' orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition a dumbed down version? No - dumbed up possibly since it is going from the lesser forces to the greater  :P On the other hand, if the new version of a piece contains only the recognisable theme with an accompaniment of drums / drum machine or an 'up-tempo' backing group of some kind, then it's dumbed down (imho).
Thirty or so years ago, Japanese keyboard wiz Isao Tomita transcribed famous classical pieces for banks of synthesizers and the result was wonderful (until he went digital, then it lost it's soul). There's no way that the transcription of the music from traditional to Tomita's new instrumental forms dumbed down the result.

I'd agree with your claim that arranging a piece for another instrument does not consitute a devaluation or (dumbing it down). However, it isn't likely to retain the same caliber or quality as the original. Most pieces that are scored on a certain instrument, are best performed on that instrument. While their are some notable exceptions, its a fairly valid statement. If you are talking about a orchestra piece including a part for electric guitar, I might be able to see the possibility. But, I don't see the potential for an electrical guitar, like the violin or piano, to be a virtuoso instrument.

Offline techniquest

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #91 on: June 03, 2007, 11:09:24 AM »
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But, I don't see the potential for an electrical guitar, like the violin or piano, to be a virtuoso instrument.

Listen to the Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar & Orchestra by Yngwie Johann Malmsteen to hear just how virtuoso the instrument can be!

Steve

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #92 on: June 03, 2007, 11:27:25 AM »
Listen to the Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar & Orchestra by Yngwie Johann Malmsteen to hear just how virtuoso the instrument can be!

That's one piece.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #93 on: June 03, 2007, 12:45:50 PM »
I'm not sure I follow your response. The purpose of 'Modern English Tranlations' is not for the serious scholar, or perhaps, even the high-school English course. It enables casual readers, or younger ones (6-8 grade), to engage Shakespeare, and other thinkers of the past. It would never replace a reference (one of the Shakespeare folios), in serious study.

As to your assertion that Eliabeathan english is not entirely different from modern English, you're mistaken. The Shakespeare texts which are accepted as reference today look very little like the original texts. They have undergone a great deal of editing to preserve the poetic quality. Trust me, if you read an original Shakespeare folio, you would not be able to read it, even with 'a great deal' of effort.

And I'm afraid I don't understand your argument. Admittedly the English language might look rather different now from how it did in Elizabethan times, but, as you say, scholars work to preserve the original poetry, whereas what seems to be happening now is that translators are working to eliminate it, so that young people will find it easier to understand.
Are you suggesting that translating Shakespeare's English into modern parlance, is no different from translating Chinese or Japanese into English? Or any other language for that matter? In other words, as long as the plot survives, it doesn't actually matter what the characters say. So Romeo wouldn't say "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?", but something along the lines of "Quiet! A light's gone on in that window."
I have no objection, to young children being just given the stories as an introduction to Shakespeare, though some of them might be deemed a bit gorey, but surely by secondary school, we should be seeking to help students understand the original.

Sorry to everyone else if we have got off topic a little, but I do believe that attitudes to music and literature are connected.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2007, 12:50:31 PM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Greg

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #94 on: June 03, 2007, 12:53:18 PM »
That sometimes is a very bad idea because most living composers have a sad modern-bias which means they come very close to writing in an atonal style.  While not totally atonal they sure come close with their jagged sounds.  A crash here and some silence here and 5 minutes later it ends and it really is silly sounding. 

I've sat through at least a couple of concerts by out local Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (the Canadian Vancouver) who have performed world / Canadian premieres and who, at our last concert anyway, invited the composer on stage to talk about his work.  It sounded pretty close to art talk (finding ways to justify a rather lame, typical 'gotta-be-modern' sound). 

So if we want our kids to listen to and enjoy contemporary classical music we have to let them hear the best.  Does the best mean "new and cutting edge" where rules are thrown out the window and we have to listen to atonalism or complete noise just because it's new?  Of course not.  I'm sure people can still write new good music without having to subscribe to the philosophical tradions of Xenakis, Cage or whoever else. 

I'll also point out that Xenakis, Cage, et al did not write in the same vein as someone like Shostakovich or Prokofiev.  They went down another street, an 'artier' street to include electronics.  That, folks does not belong in the contemorary canon, but another street if anyone cares to go.

Our kids should listen to good, well done music to have them enjoy classical.
I mean anything written by any new composer. Actually, there seems to be more composers nowadays that are totally tonal than atonal, or maybe just as much. But..... that doesn't mean people won't enjoy Xenakis or Cage (but i would beg that they leave off 4'33" and just about 90% of his music off the program, lol). They should be exposed to anything new, atonal and tonal, which will give them a wide variety unlike any other music and at the same time it'll be by people who are actually alive, many who are younger (in their 30s or so, which is important).

gomro

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #95 on: June 03, 2007, 05:29:49 PM »
Beethoven on electric guitars does not necessarily mean that it is dumbed down however; it is merely transcribed to a different instrument or ensemble. In the same way that large works are transcribed for piano, or vice versa - is Ravels' orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition a dumbed down version? No - dumbed up possibly since it is going from the lesser forces to the greater  :P On the other hand, if the new version of a piece contains only the recognisable theme with an accompaniment of drums / drum machine or an 'up-tempo' backing group of some kind, then it's dumbed down (imho).
Thirty or so years ago, Japanese keyboard wiz Isao Tomita transcribed famous classical pieces for banks of synthesizers and the result was wonderful (until he went digital, then it lost it's soul). There's no way that the transcription of the music from traditional to Tomita's new instrumental forms dumbed down the result.

I'd be inclined to disagree, especially when I consider Tomita's corny addition of a spaceship countdown to his version of The Planets, or the truly ridiculous job he did on Honegger's Pacific 231, with the locomotive noises. Or clipping together a bunch of bits from classical chestnuts, giving the clips bizarre sci-fi titles ( The Harp Being Played by the Ancient People and the Venus and Her Space Children Singing the Song of the Future , for instance, this being a bit of Prokofiev's violin concerto) and calling the resulting melange The Bermuda Triangle.  On the other hand, I really liked his gift of bringing strange tone colours out of his equipment; no Tomita album sounded like any other synthesist.  He once talked of doing a disc of completely original Klangfarbenmelodie composition instead of more classical transcriptions; I really regret this never materialized.

Steve

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #96 on: June 03, 2007, 05:32:17 PM »
And I'm afraid I don't understand your argument. Admittedly the English language might look rather different now from how it did in Elizabethan times, but, as you say, scholars work to preserve the original poetry, whereas what seems to be happening now is that translators are working to eliminate it, so that young people will find it easier to understand.
Are you suggesting that translating Shakespeare's English into modern parlance, is no different from translating Chinese or Japanese into English? Or any other language for that matter? In other words, as long as the plot survives, it doesn't actually matter what the characters say. So Romeo wouldn't say "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?", but something along the lines of "Quiet! A light's gone on in that window."
I have no objection, to young children being just given the stories as an introduction to Shakespeare, though some of them might be deemed a bit gorey, but surely by secondary school, we should be seeking to help students understand the original.

Sorry to everyone else if we have got off topic a little, but I do believe that attitudes to music and literature are connected.

You would see little difference because you probably haven't seen the original folios. Few people actually have. The scholarily texts have been edited tremendously.

Observe:

Act II, Scene II is one of the most famous scenes in all of Shakespearean drama. I'm sure you'll recognize this passage from the Arden Edition:

What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor Arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O be some other name
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Now that's the version we are all familar with. Let's take a look at the original:

What's Montaue? It is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme, nor face, O be some other name
Belonging to a man
What? in a name which we call a Rose
By any other work would smell as sweet

Quite different, eh?

Try this one: What's Montague? It is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme, nor face, nor any other part,
What's in a name? That which we call a Rose,
By any other name would smell as weet

There is in fact no early text that reads as our modern text does- and this is the most famous speech of the play. The original 'poetry' to use your term, has been altered greatly. Modern English translations can help bring down linguistic barriers to Shakespeare. Read some original passages of Shakespeare's folios and you will find that he often takes words from Scots, French, Old French, and German, without warning. It's not easy to read. That is why we have edited texts which are based on the original folios. What's important about Shakespeare's texts, is, and will always be meaing. He confronted the nature of man more completely than any other writer in the Western World. Preserving ancient language, at the expense of clarity doesn't make much sense. I say if someone needs a Modern Edition, let them have one. I read the Arden Texts, the original folios, and modern translations.

Editing Shakespreaean texts is nothing new.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2007, 05:47:41 PM by Steve »

Offline techniquest

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #97 on: June 03, 2007, 10:46:36 PM »
Quote
I'd be inclined to disagree, especially when I consider Tomita's corny addition of a spaceship countdown to his version of The Planets.......

Good points! I was thinking more of earlier albums like Pictures at an Exhibition, Firebird, the Ravel album, and Snowflakes are Dancing (Debussy album). However corny the countdown may have been on the Planets (and the truly awful transition from Jupiter to Saturn; and the almost total lack of Uranus), I think he did a superb job, with some lovely touches e.g the music box intro / outro and a beautiful Venus and exquisitely light, dancing Mercury.
I don't agree that Pacific 231 was awful, I think the synthetic reproduction of loco sounds was justified as this was essentially what Honeggar attenpted in part orchestrally with this piece - if Tomita had used real loco sounds that would have been a different matter, and I think that the interpretation of the 'feel' of Honeggars work was spot on.
The 'Bermuda Triangle' and 'Kosmos' albums were a mish-mash with awful track names and I wonder if this was a marketing ploy to sell more. He went back to stadard albums with Grand Canyon Suite, but this was digital and suddenly Tomita sounded 'ordinary'.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #98 on: June 04, 2007, 01:35:26 AM »
You would see little difference because you probably haven't seen the original folios. Few people actually have. The scholarily texts have been edited tremendously.

Observe:

Act II, Scene II is one of the most famous scenes in all of Shakespearean drama. I'm sure you'll recognize this passage from the Arden Edition:

What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor Arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O be some other name
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Now that's the version we are all familar with. Let's take a look at the original:

What's Montaue? It is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme, nor face, O be some other name
Belonging to a man
What? in a name which we call a Rose
By any other work would smell as sweet

Quite different, eh?

Try this one: What's Montague? It is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme, nor face, nor any other part,
What's in a name? That which we call a Rose,
By any other name would smell as weet

There is in fact no early text that reads as our modern text does- and this is the most famous speech of the play. The original 'poetry' to use your term, has been altered greatly. Modern English translations can help bring down linguistic barriers to Shakespeare. Read some original passages of Shakespeare's folios and you will find that he often takes words from Scots, French, Old French, and German, without warning. It's not easy to read. That is why we have edited texts which are based on the original folios. What's important about Shakespeare's texts, is, and will always be meaing. He confronted the nature of man more completely than any other writer in the Western World. Preserving ancient language, at the expense of clarity doesn't make much sense. I say if someone needs a Modern Edition, let them have one. I read the Arden Texts, the original folios, and modern translations.

Editing Shakespreaean texts is nothing new.

Ok, I get your point, but you completely miss mine. My original mention of Shakespeare was using him as an example of a great writer, just as I used Bach as an example of a great composer. Are we then to render Shakespeare in the language of J. K. Rowling? Would it be the same? No, of course it wouldn't. Whatever Shakespeare edition one chooses, there is a clear distinction between prose and verse. Are we then to ignore these? If the most important thing is the meaning, then let's just scrub the poetry altogether. And of course, the examples you quote, though different in small ways, all preserve the poetry.
Nor, incidentally, am I saying that J. K. Rowling is a bad writer, but just that she is not on the same plane as Shakespeare, as many parts of the modern press would have us believe. 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.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Novi

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #99 on: June 04, 2007, 02:27:46 AM »
Incidentally, my first experience of a Baz Luhrmann production was his Australian Opera production of La Boheme, set in the 1950s, with a young, believable cast. They didn't have the best voices in the world, and I'm not saying it's how I would always want to see the opera, but it too was a huge success with young audiences. And not a note of the music was changed.

Yes it was! That was the first opera I ever went to, having at that stage never heard an entire opera from start to finish even on disk. We went for the singularly unconscionable reason that my sister found David Hobson a bit of a dish. I don't remember the specifics except for a neon set, but I really enjoyed it though. That was over 10 years ago, and I'm still around and have moved from Puccini to bigger and better and longer things :). Tristan anyone? (I'm joking about the 'better,' by the way ;)). Oh wow, thanks for bringing that up.

Nor, incidentally, am I saying that J. K. Rowling is a bad writer

I am though ;D.
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den der heimlich lauschet.

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