Saturday, September 1, 2012

Time and Tech

It was common knowledge back in the day when recordings were first produced--not that I was around to witness their birth--that tempi were often determined by the amount of time available per side of those clunky disks.

Such industrial tempi have affected us as listeners in ways we have yet to fathom.  The industry continues to manipulate time in the interests of production, so it is up to us artists and audience to notice how our inner musical metronomes are being manipulated.

In this CD era I notice that the dead space between tracks between movements of a sonata or symphony has now become standard concert practice, despite the fact that Beethoven and Brahms, for example, went to great pains to enliven those "silences" by carefully notated metric as well as tonal transitions, even subtly indicating the degree of resolution in "final" chords. 

What will it take for us to put life back into this essential musical element?