Author Topic: An overlooked aspect of HIP  (Read 1203 times)

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Offline ShineyMcShineShine

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An overlooked aspect of HIP
« on: February 14, 2020, 05:40:05 PM »
Seeing this illustration of a Schubertiade on Wikipedia reminded me of something I've suspected for some time: performances recorded in empty rooms (worse: empty churches) are not historically accurate. Look at that room: it's jam-packed with bodies; that would  certainly change the acoustics. Even a live performance in a modern hall wouldn't be near the same.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 05:42:02 PM by ShineyMcShineShine »

Offline david johnson

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 11:29:34 PM »
That setting strikes me as having an interesting aroma.

Offline Biffo

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2020, 02:26:02 AM »
How accurate is a drawing dating from 1868?  The artist was a friend of Schubert and attended his soirees but I suspect this is a rather romanticized view.

Offline Florestan

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2020, 08:12:51 AM »
The number of people is not unrealistic. What is clearly romanticized is this whole concept of "Schubertiade" as an intellectual gathering centered around Schubert. This is bogus. Come on, those were aristocratic-cum-high-bourgeois salons; poor Schubert, hopelessly proletarian that he was, provided the de rigueur musical entertainment in exchange for free dinner and wine. Most probably he was never the focal point of those gatherings.

That notwithstanding, the OP has a strong point imo.
“Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.” — Claude Debussy

Offline Biffo

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2020, 08:52:58 AM »
The number of people is not unrealistic. What is clearly romanticized is this whole concept of "Schubertiade" as an intellectual gathering centered around Schubert. This is bogus. Come on, those were aristocratic-cum-high-bourgeois salons; poor Schubert, hopelessly proletarian that he was, provided the de rigueur musical entertainment in exchange for free dinner and wine. Most probably he was never the focal point of those gatherings.

That notwithstanding, the OP has a strong point imo.

The illustration is of an aristocratic salon. I doubt that Schubert attended many such gatherings. I always thought that his 'Schubertiade' was a gathering of a few of his like-minded friends - artists, poets etc. I may be wrong of course.

I still think the salon looks ridiculously overcrowded.

Edit: This is from Wikipedia and more like what I was thinking about -

'During the early 1820s, Schubert was part of a close-knit circle of artists and students who had social gatherings together that became known as Schubertiads. Many of them took place in Ignaz von Sonnleithner's large apartment in the Gundelhof (Brandstätte 5, Vienna)'

« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 08:58:20 AM by Biffo »

Offline Florestan

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2020, 09:06:39 AM »
Edit: This is from Wikipedia and more like what I was thinking about -

'During the early 1820s, Schubert was part of a close-knit circle of artists and students who had social gatherings together that became known as Schubertiads. Many of them took place in Ignaz von Sonnleithner's large apartment in the Gundelhof (Brandstätte 5, Vienna)'

That's exactly what I take issue with. I think the whole concept of Schubertiads is an ex post facto fabrication. There is simply no way that a nobody as Schubert could have been the focal point of a gathering in the tightly class structured Vienna back then.
“Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.” — Claude Debussy

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2020, 09:09:57 AM »
That's exactly what I take issue with. I think the whole concept of Schubertiads is an ex post facto fabrication. There is simply no way that a nobody as Schubert could have been the focal point of a gathering in the tightly class structured Vienna back then.

I don't know who this author "Richard" is, but he sure knows a lot about Schubert. Here (agreeing with your basic point) is his extensive analysis of the "Schubertiade" phenomenon, as well as Schubert-related biographical problems in general:

http://figures-of-speech.com/2019/06/no-circles.htm
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline Biffo

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2020, 09:13:56 AM »
That's exactly what I take issue with. I think the whole concept of Schubertiads is an ex post facto fabrication. There is simply no way that a nobody as Schubert could have been the focal point of a gathering in the tightly class structured Vienna back then.

Certainly not the sort of gathering in the illustration.

Apart from 'Schubert: The Complete Song Texts'  by Richard Wigmore I don't have any books completely devoted to Schubert, just ideas or impressions picked up over the years.

Offline Florestan

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2020, 09:26:29 AM »
I don't know who this author "Richard" is, but he sure knows a lot about Schubert. Here (agreeing with your basic point) is his extensive analysis of the "Schubertiade" phenomenon, as well as Schubert-related biographical problems in general:

http://figures-of-speech.com/2019/06/no-circles.htm

Hah, so funny you should have posted that! I've stumbled upon his (very knowledgeable and obviously a labour of love) articles on Schubert sometimes ago --- and he did convince me that the whole Schubertiad concept is an ex post facto, pia fraus fabrication. I was going to post the selfsame link but you beat me to it.

 :D

“Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.” — Claude Debussy

Offline Biffo

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2020, 09:35:16 AM »
Returning to the OP, I am sure that record producers are aware that the music had an audience and was performed in rooms of various sizes.

How authentic do you want to get? I had always assumed that services in Protestant Leipzig would have been very serious affairs but according to John Eliot Gardiner in his book on Bach this was not the case. Fashionable ladies would arrive late, chatter through the service and leave early with more noise. Poor Bach had to compete with all this.

To be serious, I am sure non-live recordings are usually made in conditions that exclude as much extraneous noise as possible.

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2020, 09:38:44 AM »
Hah, so funny you should have posted that! I've stumbled upon his (very knowledgeable and obviously a labour of love) articles on Schubert sometimes ago --- and he did convince me that the whole Schubertiad concept is an ex post facto, pia fraus fabrication. I was going to post the selfsame link but you beat me to it.

 :D

LOL, should we call this "circular posting"? I only posted it because your wording reminded me of it.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline Florestan

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2020, 09:44:32 AM »
LOL, should we call this "circular posting"? I only posted it because your wording reminded me of it.

 8)
“Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.” — Claude Debussy

Offline Biffo

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2020, 09:45:05 AM »
Here is another romanticized painting of an event that probably never took place -

https://www.meisterdrucke.uk/fine-art-prints/Josef-Danhauser/75886/Liszt-at-the-Piano,-1840-.html

Offline Florestan

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2020, 09:48:50 AM »
How authentic do you want to get? I had always assumed that services in Protestant Leipzig would have been very serious affairs but according to John Eliot Gardiner in his book on Bach this was not the case. Fashionable ladies would arrive late, chatter through the service and leave early with more noise. Poor Bach had to compete with all this.

Of course.

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. - L. P. Hartley


“Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.” — Claude Debussy

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2020, 10:57:26 AM »

How authentic do you want to get? I had always assumed that services in Protestant Leipzig would have been very serious affairs but according to John Eliot Gardiner in his book on Bach this was not the case. Fashionable ladies would arrive late, chatter through the service and leave early with more noise. Poor Bach had to compete with all this.

Yeah, if we wanted to get really HIP, concerts would have to include things like:

- applause not just between movements, but even while the music is playing
- numerous encores of the bits people really liked
- occasional improvisations
- breaking up a symphony by playing other music between its individual movements
- talking in the audience
- concert goes on for 4-6 hours, with listeners wandering in and out
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline Florestan

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2020, 11:14:48 AM »
Yeah, if we wanted to get really HIP, concerts would have to include things like:

- applause not just between movements, but even while the music is playing
- numerous encores of the bits people really liked
- occasional improvisations
- breaking up a symphony by playing other music between its individual movements
- talking in the audience
- concert goes on for 4-6 hours, with listeners wandering in and out

Absolutely. Drinking acoholic beverages, too.

Wel, I wouldn't mind any of the above at all. Actually, it would be a most welcome distraction from the "stiff and still" etiquette reigning supreme today.
“Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.” — Claude Debussy

Offline JBS

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2020, 07:57:57 PM »
Here is another romanticized painting of an event that probably never took place -

https://www.meisterdrucke.uk/fine-art-prints/Josef-Danhauser/75886/Liszt-at-the-Piano,-1840-.html

The painting is more artificial than first glance suggests.  Besides suggesting that Liszt was playing exclusively to an audience of literary and musical greats, and not to the usual round of socialites and such, it depicts Rossini and Paganini both focusing their attention on the bust of Beethoven, totally disregarding Liszt.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Offline JBS

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2020, 08:02:14 PM »
The number of people is not unrealistic. What is clearly romanticized is this whole concept of "Schubertiade" as an intellectual gathering centered around Schubert. This is bogus. Come on, those were aristocratic-cum-high-bourgeois salons; poor Schubert, hopelessly proletarian that he was, provided the de rigueur musical entertainment in exchange for free dinner and wine. Most probably he was never the focal point of those gatherings.

That notwithstanding, the OP has a strong point imo.

But the Schwind picture shows him doing precisely that. The actual visual focus is actually the singer sitting next to Schubert (I remember he was a real singer associated with Schubert, but I forget his name).  Schubert is merely the accompianist.  What's probably least realistic is the depiction of everyone paying attention to the music.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Offline Florestan

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2020, 12:50:02 AM »
But the Schwind picture shows him doing precisely that. The actual visual focus is actually the singer sitting next to Schubert (I remember he was a real singer associated with Schubert, but I forget his name).

Johann Vogl.
“Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.” — Claude Debussy

Offline ShineyMcShineShine

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Re: An overlooked aspect of HIP
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2020, 09:18:48 PM »
Returning to the OP, I am sure that record producers are aware that the music had an audience and was performed in rooms of various sizes.

How authentic do you want to get? I had always assumed that services in Protestant Leipzig would have been very serious affairs but according to John Eliot Gardiner in his book on Bach this was not the case. Fashionable ladies would arrive late, chatter through the service and leave early with more noise. Poor Bach had to compete with all this.

To be serious, I am sure non-live recordings are usually made in conditions that exclude as much extraneous noise as possible.

I mainly object to recordings made in great reverberant chambers. Wolf Erichson in the Vivarte series was one for recording chamber music in churches for some reason.  Perhaps in lieu of a live audience, crash test dummies could be used to fill the seats. :D