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Karajan Mahler 6 - exposition repeat = cut-and-paste?

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Spotted Horses:
I think in the 1970's it would have been unusual to perform a long orchestral movement in one take and it was common practice to use basic tape editing techniques splice on an exposition repeat. In the earlier days editing would have been done with a razor blade and adhesive tape. Perhaps by the 70's they had a more refined bag of technical tricks. I find this regrettable. We are hearing the same music twice and it seems an opportunity is missed to vary the interpretation the second time around.

aukhawk:
A composer - be it Josef Haydn or Philip Glass - may enclose a passage of music in "repeat" marks.  From a composer's point of view, this is done for reasons of economy, and I suppose to reduce page-turning for the performer.  From an interpretive point of view, the most literal meaning is simply "play the same again" and it would be difficult to argue against doing just that.

(As a retired sound engineer whose career spanned the last 2 decades of analogue and the first 2 decades of digital, I don't recall any advance on the razor blade and sticky tape.  Which worked very well, but there was no way to edit with an overlap - or crossfade - without dropping a generation, which was itself a big deal and to be avoided wherever possible.  Also things got difficult towards the end (of analogue) when multitrack tape machines used 1" or even 2" tape - that stuff was very difficult (and expensive) to edit physically.
Digital edits are not only non-destructive and so very easy even in unskilled hands, but routinely use overlaps to smooth the join - not possible with tape.)

relm1:

--- Quote from: aukhawk on June 21, 2021, 12:40:26 AM ---A composer - be it Josef Haydn or Philip Glass - may enclose a passage of music in "repeat" marks.  From a composer's point of view, this is done for reasons of economy, and I suppose to reduce page-turning for the performer.  From an interpretive point of view, the most literal meaning is simply "play the same again" and it would be difficult to argue against doing just that.

(As a retired sound engineer whose career spanned the last 2 decades of analogue and the first 2 decades of digital, I don't recall any advance on the razor blade and sticky tape.  Which worked very well, but there was no way to edit with an overlap - or crossfade - without dropping a generation, which was itself a big deal and to be avoided wherever possible.  Also things got difficult towards the end (of analogue) when multitrack tape machines used 1" or even 2" tape - that stuff was very difficult (and expensive) to edit physically.
Digital edits are not only non-destructive and so very easy even in unskilled hands, but routinely use overlaps to smooth the join - not possible with tape.)

--- End quote ---

You could do crossfades back then, those are in the beatles studio recordings from the 1960's and I'm sure it wasn't invented there.  You would have tape reels mix down and could crossfade with volume faders into a new source.  For the Beatles, having a separate tape reel running allowed for the orchestra to be recorded four times. It was then taped a fifth time, onto track four of the first reel, giving the equivalent of 200 session musicians that were then all mixed down into new source.  Also, editors would just need to find good spots for the splice if they needed to switch between takes.  With digital crossfades, you can experiment much easier and undo over and over to find a good and natural "breath" spot to do the cut and obviously with tape, it would be destructive so you wouldn't do that with the master but a copy and look for places like a natural end of a phrase or something where the transition to a new take would be least noticeable. 

As a reference, I'm using this from 1967, George Martin, who was a classical producer as well, worked with the Beatles on the late recording. A 40-piece orchestra was brought into EMI Studios on Feb. 10, 1967, to bring to life Lennon and McCartney's musical visions, which they mapped out as an improvisational avant-garde buildup. George Martin wrote a score based on those ideas, after insisting that the classically trained musicians wouldn't be able to play a piece like the one they envisioned, and the results were stitched together from four different recordingst, giving the orchestral swells the sense of heightened drama the song's composers wanted.  This was a common technique and was done in film and studio work for decades earlier as well. 

Roasted Swan:

--- Quote from: aukhawk on June 21, 2021, 12:40:26 AM --- From an interpretive point of view, the most literal meaning is simply "play the same again" and it would be difficult to argue against doing just that.

--- End quote ---

Really cannot agree with that.  If you are going to take the repeat then there is every reason to find subtle little differences in phrasing or dynamics.  OK there was (historically) a structural reason for an exposition repeat but to imply that musicians just trot out a carbon copy of anything ever is to fundamentally not appreciate the nuances involved in making music!

Brian:
Not to interrupt, but just want to say this thread has been fascinating and one of the most informative reads on GMG this year. Thanks, all. Okay, carry on!

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