Sunday, November 25, 2007


My interest in music, my Urmotif, was in making it, in taking rows of dots and turning them into expression. My quest didn't start young enough to be as effective as necessary in the highly competitive world of classical music, but this is still my personal bias. I had no inclinations to musicology, and my brain does not easily accumulate trivia.

This interest widened into vocal technique and acting. I learned about music history because I was required to. I read Constantin Stanislavsky and William Vennard for fun.

I also studied choral conducting and tried to apply this to chorus. This is the conductor's main job, but you'd be amazed by how many don't realize this. I scored a lot of points in my final by pointing out that in the repeating two note figure in a Bach cantata the first note should always be emphasized.

My interest in the Italian singer comes from this bias. [If I put her name here, it will go out as a Google Alert.] No one makes more of a piece of music, apparently any piece of music, than she. I know from my own work that I could do this in certain repertoire but not others. She knows this about herself, too. I was especially interested in her expressive treatment of coloratura, something I would never have imagined on my own.

It is hard to write about this subject. Making music is very specific. I'm sure that Charles Rosen uses all the analytic information he writes about to create his own performances. These are the bits that make up interpretation. I remember finding the tension in the four note rising figure of the second song in the Kindertotenlieder, and how this discovery made for the most successful interpretation in the cycle.

Each performer must find each piece himself. Though Pavarotti listened to other Italian tenors. He was very particular about who he listened to. As a child, the Italian woman played among the stones at the Baths of Caracalla while the rehearsals were going on. Nothing done later in life can make up for this.

Twenty-five years away from the business have meant a certain amount of dropping away of information. The things I truly loved remain.

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