Think of life without recordings. How would it affect you?

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Lance
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Think of life without recordings. How would it affect you?

Post by Lance » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:47 pm

Terrible thought as I have been listening to material heavily, and how terrible it would be not to be surrounded by whatever music we like in life with recordings (still assuming we attend live concerts as well). People lived for a long time without recorded music - and to enjoy it, they had to make music for themselves. Some people think recorded music has ruined live music-making. I believe it has taught us to be good or better listeners, to condition the ears and mind to recognizing great music-making. Your thoughts?
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John F
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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by John F » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:42 am

No question, sound recordings have been the ruination of amateur music-making at home. Who can doubt it? Since I've never played an instrument or sung, I can't say what qualitative difference there may be between actively making music and passively listening to it, but undoubtedly it's significant. One result, I think, is that we've perhaps become more informed connoisseurs of musical performance, but less aware of what's going on in the music itself. For most of us here in CMG, and also among most of my friends in the outside world, that's how it seems to be - at least it's what we talk about almost exclusively. And some might say that's the opposite of what a real music lover's priorities should be.

Even so, without records in the home when I was growing up, most likely I would have been ignorant of classical music during my formative years, because at the time there were no other sources in my home town other than the occasional network radio broadcast of an orchestra concert or the Metropolitan Opera. And looking back, that would have been a terrible loss - a vast area of my experience and sensibility, of my life in effect, would be empty. Oh, no doubt other activities and enthusiasms would have filled that void, one way or another, but that would have made me a different person - whether for better or worse is impossible to tell, of course. For one thing, I wouldn't be here. :)
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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by maestrob » Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:19 pm

Wow! Lance, how can you propose such a nightmare??
What an idea!

I cannot imagine my life without recordings, especially now that I cannot attend live concerts because of the timing of my sleep disorder. Without recordings, I would not have had the courage to found my vocal competition: I leaned heavily on recordings as a cheap way to learn repertoire, and thus studied with the world's finest musicians over several generations. Recordings are part of my daily routine as I consistently hear new performances of familiar repertoire, as well as the occasional new piece.

Music is like air to me, and just as necessary to life. I would be a very different person without discs in my life, and certainly would not be here either.

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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by LSAmadeus » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:29 pm

I can't imagine life without recorded music. Apart from a small chamber ensemble performance years ago I have never been to a live classical orchestral performance and I do not have the option to do so, and so if there were no recorded music I would be far less inspired to want to listen to, learn about and make my own music.
'An artist must have the freedom to express himself' - Edward Weston
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Lance
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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by Lance » Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:37 pm

Getting some interesting feedback. Wish there was more. Come on folks, I'd love to read what you have to say!
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by Ricordanza » Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:40 am

Living without recorded music would be an enormous loss. On the other hand, if that were the case, I'm sure I would not have dropped out of playing the piano, but rather, would have kept up with that instrument and, perhaps, learned another, all in an effort to make my own music.
Last edited by Ricordanza on Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by parsifal » Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:50 am

I life without recordings! Think of people living out in the "diasphora" far from places where great music is produced. Also, recordings let us listen whenever we want to. If I want to listen only to a part of a work I do that. We are able to get the views of how great masters from the past played - say -Beethoven.

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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by Lance » Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:39 pm

Very good response, Kjell! Thank you. I agree, too.
parsifal wrote:I life without recordings! Think of people living out in the "diasphora" far from places where great music is produced. Also, recordings let us listen whenever we want to. If I want to listen only to a part of a work I do that. We are able to get the views of how great masters from the past played - say -Beethoven.

Kjell Nilsson
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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by THEHORN » Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:41 pm

Yes, life without recordings would be unimaginable for us today . I doubt musical life would have been in any way better if they had never been invented despite the way so many critics and fans idealize the world of classical music before recordings . True, amateur music making at home is a fine thing , but it would have been awful if such towering musicians as Casals, Toscanini, Heifetz, Furtwangler, Schnabel,
Callas, Caruso, Chaliapin , Horowitz, Menuhin and others had never left any recordings .
Later generations of aspiring young classical musicians at conservatories everywhere would have no role models . Before recordings, unless one lived in a city with an orchestra and an opera company and could afford , your chances of hearing classical music were pretty much non-existent .

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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by John F » Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:57 pm

The good old days weren't good because of the absence of recordings, of course. But that absence prevents us from really knowing how good they were, or weren't. We have to rely on descriptions and memoirs. Still, the recordings of musicians whose careers began in the 19th or early 20th century (Caruso!) show us that what people said about them was not exaggerated - many really were as good as their high reputations.
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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by IcedNote » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:00 am

Four things come to mind:

1) Work without background music would be unbearable.

2) All commuting (car, BART, etc.) would be unbearable.

3) My piano and guitar chops would both be at sustained peak levels.

4) I might actually feel like attending concerts after work. (For those who don't know, I work for a Baroque ensemble.)

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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by josé echenique » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:38 pm

Recordings do help in a number of ways: they preserve a great performance for posterity, they make music available where it might be impossible to hear live, and often a recording is cheaper than a theater ticket for those who can't afford them. I love my CDs.

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Re: Think of life without recordings. How would it affect yo

Post by John F » Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:46 pm

Paul Henry Lang, the musicologist and critic, observed that some recordings amount to the first publication of a musical work, whether old and rediscovered or new and still in manuscript. Indeed, Varese's "Poeme Electronique" exists only as a recording, as there's no way to print it and then perform it from a score.

Something like that is the case with recorded improvisations, such as Robert Levin's cadenzas for Mozart piano concertos. Rachmaninoff recorded Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2 for Edison and improvised a long, wild cadenza where Liszt's score has a fermata and the instruction cadenza ad lib.; someone has written this cadenza down and it has been published - and recorded by another pianist.



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