Thursday, January 24, 2008

Musical Traditionalism?

I'm sure she didn't intend to answer my question, but she inadvertently gave me more materially to work off of. My friend Blip is to see Alfred Brendel perform live soon! (Now I'm not familiar with Alfred Brendel, but he's a concert pianist, that's all I know!) Anyways, here's a quote from him that is a counter to the performer being the interpreter.

"If I belong to a tradition it is a tradition that makes the masterpiece twll the performer what he should do and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the composer what he ought to have composed."
-Alfred Brendel

So obviously I'm wrong about all pianists holding to the theory of Musical Relativism...

But the question remains, how should music be performed?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Musical Relativism?

Halfway through the required Hermeneutics Lecture Series by Dr. Walt Russell (I only fell asleep twice so far!...slightly better than last year...) I got an idea for a question.

In his lecture, Dr. Russell points out the relativistic/existencial view that has taken hold of our culture and society in the late 20th Century. This view causes us to view the individual (i.e. Me) as the sole point of reference. In extremeist form, radical relativism pretty much says that everything is only interpreted by the individual. As applied to Hermeneutics, our culture sort of brainwashes us into thinking that our interpretation of scripture is what matters. The emphasise becomes what I think of God and not what God thinks of me.

Another background info is the series of posts upon Beauty that Dr. Reynolds has been posting. The first article of the series is here:

Basically, he in article IV he argues for the existence of beauty based on experiences that illicit unanimous, universal responses from any normal person.

Okay, so I was playing Bach and then it hit me. Is Music relative? At least in my experience, I have found Music, especially Rachmaninoff's, to be extremely Beautiful. So if things Beautiful are objectively beautiful, then what about interpretation of music?

In my limited musical experience, I've discovered that alot of weight is placed on personal interpretation of a piece of music. Yet, I find this hard to reconcile with Dr. Russell's argument in favor of putting the most emphasis on Authorial intent. Meaning that what the author is trying to convey is actually the most important thing (which I agree with).

If I were to apply the same train of reasoning to a piece of music, then the intention of the composer should be the most important thing. (???)

Yet so much emphasis is placed on personal interpretation of music. Now a point to note hear would be that interpretation is different from playing it well. Anyone can play the notes, but to express it well, takes it another step and is (so I am told) what defines a musician. The personal expression of music.

This whole question has also been fueled by a series of lectures I'm listening to on Classical Music. In ancient Greece, the concept of music was that it was a sonic manifestation of the order of the universe and that it was a way in which the individual could express himself. Their concept of music was humanistic (sorry my terms are so jumbled!). In the Medieval times, this view of music changed to one in which music was a supplement to the Church. Views of Music went through some more changes and then cycled back to now where we generally hold to the Grecian view of music. (I think).

So what I'm trying to ask is this: Is the emphasis placed on personal intepretation of Music a result of cultural influences or is it a result of the inherent Beauty of a Composer's music melding with the intentions of a performer? Is the emphasis we place on personal interpretation a good thing?

AHHHHHH!!!! =]

Friday, January 18, 2008


...Are incredibly wonderful creatures.

They are a fascinating sub-species of humanity. Morphing from what is usually referred to as a stranger they steadily progress in development into acquaintance and finally into one of the greater pinnacles of relationships, the Friend.

Aside from my silly attempt at describing a friend like a bio textbook would, they really are wonderful things. One second you just know their name and before you know it they are friends. (If you're lucky).

I'm lucky. =]

It's an absolutely beautiful thing to be able to know people whom you feel at home with, who brighten your day and make you smile. They are such beautiful things that to do anything for them is a Joy.

Anyways, to all my friends, just wanted to say how much you mean to me and what wonder and joy you have given me. =]

God Bless.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lesson with Peter Yazbeck

Mr. Yazbeck is cool. Strike that, he's absolutely amazing. =]

Mr. Yazbeck used to be a professional pianist.

Mr. Yazbeck loves Rachmaninoff.

Mr. Yazbeck knows a ton about playing Bach, Chopin, Listz, etc.

Mr. Yazbeck played Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto for his last public recital. (I KNOW!!!!!!!)

Mr. Yazbeck taught me how to play my Bach piece.

Mr. Yazbeck costs alot to study with.

I like Mr. Yazbeck. =]

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Post Christmas Vacation

After looking over the list, I find I've accomplished most so here's an update.

1) Snowboarding. Fun. Very. Almost broke me neck flying off a jump, but, still, was fun. =] (I shall try to post the video when I get it from my friend).

2) Nativity scenes in the Gospel. There are actually only two Nativity Scenes, I read both, but I like Luke better. *shrugs* Strangely though, I seem to have lagged behind, because I was reflecting on the Beauty of Christmas and Immanuel during New Years Eve! And then I reflected on New Years some three days after the fact...I wonder if I'll do the same for my birthday...?

3) Brothers Karamazov. Didn't get anywhere in it. =\ Sorry. On the upside, I went to a bookstore while my family was at Laguna Beach and I bought Jane Eyre and Tuesdays with Morrie. I'm a good 3/4s through Jane Eyre and I finished Tuesdays with Morrie.

4) Tocqueville is a genius. =] I thouroughly enjoyed reading him. Twas very fun. (Actually, I haven't finished yet, so I'd better get to it)

5) Term papers. Are going well. =] Will soon be finished!

6) Godspell is coming up!

7) Listened to much Rachmaninoff. Was (as always) Beautiful. I'm beginning to come to the tentative conclusion that Rachmaninoff was a Composer who sort of composed in bursts of brilliance. Some of his works are almost Divine, while others make you wonder if they were really created by the same person. *shrugs* Any thoughts?

8) Annabelle has languished, but no worries, I shall make it up to her tomorrow with at least 6 hours of playing (So I hope!)

9) Me birthday is coming on the 8th. =]

10) Learning is fun! (Random truth of the day)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

*Insert Timmy Cratchet's famous line from "A Christmas Carol" here* =]