Saturday, December 14, 2013

More on the Messiah

I could not get the music out of my head; it filled my sleeping mind as if bringing clarity into an otherwise worldly existence.

What Wachner and his colleagues produced was music, far more than the notes on the page.  Fully confident of their ability to produce those notes, singers and instrumentalists could connect with the underlying lines.  The music, the real music, soared.

Coloratura was not coloratura; it became fire, rage, ecstasy, simple joy.

How unlike the predictable beats I heard last week.

Dickens created a pretentious snob (in Nicholas Nickleby) who amused himself by changing the punctuation in Shakespeare.  That is precisely what last week's pedestrian players did.  Not that the punctuation in Baroque music is explicit: it is implied in the drama of the lines, made explicit only in texts or, in the absence of actual text, inflections of the line that every player would have known by familiarity with texts in other contexts rather than by any standard music notation device.

Most modern instrumentalists lack experience with texts and are obsessed only with instrumental technique.