Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Famous Norrington Elgar

A few weeks ago, you could find lots of blogospheric discussion of Roger Norrington's promise/threat to play Elgar without vibrato on the last Proms concert.

You can catch this program directly on the BBC, via Internet radio, and I now have a notice from American Public Media about a broadcast on  Saturday, September 13, 2008, at 2 p.m. CT, 3 p.m. ET (presumably noon PT). It'll be on SymphonyCast; check your local listings, etc.


Empiricus said...

Thanks for the heads up. I'll be there!

And just a thought, but really!? Does it embarrass anyone that a piddly little topic like vibrato vs. no vibrato stirs up this kinda attention? I'm embarrassed. And a little ashamed.

Lisa Hirsch said...

It may look like a piddly little topic, but only if you take it in isolation from investigations over the last 50 years into period performance practice and various attempts to recreate older sounds and playing styles.

Empiricus said...

I guess that's what I mean: we (classical music culture) have had fifty years to react to resurgent period practices and their hybrids and it's still quite a sore subject for some. It's merely one way of realizing the music, for gosh sake. That's it. That's all there is to it. Just one competing idea among many. 'Nuff said. It's just music. Right?

I simply don't understand the hysteria surrounding this or how one can be so vehement against "different," even if it only happens once (e.g., Elgar without vibrato).

I also think that this is the kind of stodgy stuff that fuels classical music's "elitist" perception, a sort of logo-centric, metaphysical dogmatism looking-down upon difference of opinion.

Then again, I'm probably wrong, as usual. Thoughts?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Apologies for the delay in responding. I've been chewing on this and I'm not sure. Elgar without vibrato seems like Saariaho on violas da gamba, maybe not just another way of playing the music.