Post by Mike Scott Rohan Post by email@example.com Post by Bert Coules
Wasn't it Toscanini who said that most traditions are some idiot's
half-remembered recollection of a bad performance?
The quote "tradition is yesterdays bad performance" has been ascribed to
many including Callas
And it's been used to justify an awful lot of idiotic "reinterpretations".
But I think Haenchen is broadly correct, in that we know Wagner hated the
slow performances he encountered even in his lifetime. The tendency to
Teutonic ponderousness has certainly always tended to creep in. But does that
make it necessarily wrong? One of the strengths of music is its flexibility
of interpretation, and the fact that very different performers can
nevertheless produce similarly vivid and moving readings. Tempi alone are
certainly no determination of this. A Goodall or Klemperer or Knappertsbusch
could produce brilliant results from glacial tempi, whereas the
whipping-along of a Boulez or Bohm can be much less involving, even
superficial. And Haenchen's own excellent scholarship unfortunately doesn't
make him any the more brilliant conductor; for me his recordings sag in the
middle. So I think we have to judge everything by its own merit and our own
tastes, and take that as a testimony to Wagner's true greatness, just as we
do with the innumerable ways of interpreting Shakespeare.
A conductor might be slow (Goodall) or fast (Boulez). Are both of them
wrong? No, of course not. What makes it a good performance or a
dissapointingf one, is tr\he feeling you have after leaving the
theatre. Or agter having listened to the recording of thar performance.
Was the conductor and his orchestra, all the singers involved, capable
of convincing me as a spectator of telling me a story! Nothing else
Met vriendelijke groet,
Herman van der Woude
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