Monday, September 15, 2008
Making music in his own voice
It's interesting to look at the reader stats to find which posts hit the hot buttons. John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen always do the numbers, but Pablo Casals (above) was a real surprise. Here is just one of a number of interesting responses to my recent post on the great Catalan cellist. It comes from Erich Edberg's fine blog:
'Casals made music in his own voice, in his own style, and did so with the greatest of love and respect for the composers and music he loved. The 20th-century modernist movement, of which Stravinsky was such an important part, was obsessed with the fantasy that musical works, including pieces written before 1900, could somehow stand on their own, were in essence fixed and permanent, and that the personality and voice of performers should, in effect, be obliterated or at least avoided. This caused much frustration, since a piece is inevitably reborn and to some degree or another transformed with each performance. When you write a piece for other people to play, you write a piece for other people to play. They are going to play it like themselves.'
After publishing my post about Casals' sacred choral music I found that I had a recording of his exquisite O vos omnes in my collection. It is on a Berlin Classics CD titled Romantic Choral Music with the Dresdner Kreuzchor directed by Gothart Stier. The disc also contains two works by one of the Kreuzchor's most celebrated cantors, Rudolf Mauersberger. Read more about Mauersberger's moving Dresden Requiem here.
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