Monday, April 7, 2014

Musical Accuracy

Accuracy in music is relative.  People who define music as CDs would probably deem accurate any performance that sounded as much like a CD as possible.  For others, those who favor spontaneity, accuracy would be much harder to pin down.

And that is the point.  If music is defined as made with an infinitely variable acoustical mix to be perceived by the infinitely variable human brain, then accuracy is ephemeral, therefore even more to be treasured because, by definition, it cannot be repeated.

I can recall certain flavors experienced once that I will never again taste: the sauce on the quenelles de brochet in a particularly lovely neighborhood restaurant in the 1ere arrondissement, summer of 1959. 

Ludwig Wants Down Off That Pedestal

The thought occurred to me that the reason the three-Beethovens-in-a-row syndrome took hold in the first place is because of the placement of this man upon some mythic pedestal, not just heroic, but supreme, untouched--you get the picture.

The same people who put him up there are shocked at the thought that there is humor in his music, especially in his symphonies.  Beethoven, even at his most serious, was never completely removed from the spirit of irony that underlies so much musical humor.

I recently heard a performance of the Grosse Fuge string quartet.  It couldn't have been a good performance because it was sanctimonious in the extreme.  Sanctimonious and serious are very different things.