DavidW, I salute you, Sir. This is exactly the sort of place to put these thoughts as they arise from our listening; not set in stone, but of more than passing interest. Furthermore, I enjoyed reading your post and I don't believe I've ever significantly considered the extent to which composers may have conducted their work differently. I find myself wondering how Elgar was in this respect, and can't answer it myself by listening because I don't own any alternative recorded performances. Just the one, of each. And I can't recall, in all my reading, whether anyone has recorded their impressions of differing approaches he might have adopted. I may have to read all my Elgar books again.
On a completely different tack, may I use this excellent new thread to record my own musings this lunchtime? This, copied over from the listening thread where it will, as you say, soon disappear without trace. Here goes:
I listened to this while eating lunch. This is the bargain I bought from Hyperion, which caused Lethe to issue timely warnings about the dangers of collecting light English music that no one else wants. When I was about 17 I'd have loved this - like finding an hour's worth of extra music from the Wasps
suite that I didn't know about. I'd have dreamed dreams of cricket on the village green, white cumuli scudding over the downs, the watercolour landscape vision of England.
And sure it's still pleasant enough, but these days a little of it goes a long way, and I couldn't really give it my attention for long without drifting off somewhere - though to do it justice, it did keep pulling me back from time to time when a new piece started, and a new tune popped up. So why, I ask myself, would I want to listen to a Vaughan Williams derivative, instead of Vaughan Williams himself? Well, the dark side (which admittedly must be faced) doesn't have to be faced all
the time. Sometimes I want Trumpton and Camberwick Green just to cut myself a bit of slack. But there's a bigger question here, to do with the changes that take place in us as we grow older, and the unrealistic tug that pulls backwards towards the less cynical times of our youth. And it's not just Gibbs with his watered-down Vaughan-Williamsism that's in question for me right now, but the whole of sprawling expressionistic formless 'romanticism' that seems a bit tiresome, and I find myself wondering, soaked in Handel as I am these days: 'If it can't be said in a 5 minute da capo aria (or 10 minutes if you must), is it really worth saying at all?'
I know this is a terrible thing to say, and yes I am the chap who used to listen to The Ring
complete on four successive nights and still thought it too short, but that was a long time ago. I can't decide whether I know better now, whether I know worse now, or whether I just know differently. Or whether I'll wake up tomorrow and find it was all a dream.