MusingMuso Posted April 8, 2010 Share Posted April 8, 2010 I came across a fascinating historic recording of the Liszt “Ad Nos” recently, which flies in the face of accepted convention. I have heard it said that pianists may take liberties to a degree, but organists are taught to be very accurate. I have also heard music academics refer to the change which occurred in music between the 18th Century and the 19th Century, when composers took control of the finished product and dictated how pieces should be played, with very accurate tempi markings, dynamics and (in the case of organ music) specific registration details. But what if a performer adds and embellishes the score, and allows imagination free reign? What if the end result is rather better or more exciting artistically than what is actually written down? The parameters of good taste obviously set certain limits, (whatever they may be), but is this sort of artistic re-working ever valid? If so, to what extent and to what purpose? Is a perfomer right to draw attention to their own skill as an interpreter and a creative free-spirit? Here is the link to this spectacular interpretation:- The organist is Alfred Sittard Recordings dating 1928-38. The organ used for the recording, (now gone), was the 163 stop instrument Walcker organ of the Michaeliskirche in Hamburg. Understandably, the organ was heavily damaged during the Second World War and replaced in 1962 by Steinmeyer. Even though taken from old 78rpm records, the sound is unmistakably that of a fantastic organ. http://ihorc.blogspot.com/search/label/Alfred%20Sittard What has always fascinated me, is the link between the German virtuosic style of the early 20th century, and what happened in America, where the style seemed to find a willing and receptive school of similar thought; Virgil Fox being the best known of those who bent the notes to make very individual musical points. It is fascinating to hear also the Bach D-Minor Toccata, and then compare the drama to the sort of thing Fox did; the changes in dynamic and tempi quite extraordinary. MM Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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