A New Year Quickie - Emphasis on structure robs music of forward pulse...Again!

I am becoming more and more convinced that some critics just don't read their reviews before they publish them. Seriously, I'm pretty sure what follows doesn't actually mean anything.

Although, when you take into consideration current day practices of music criticism...

NY String Orchestra @ Carnegie Hall
Eugene Chan, Queens Examiner, Dec. 31, 2010

Current day performance practice of Beethoven symphonies...

Okay, let me stop here and add that Eugene never once tell us which symphony the orchestra is playing.
I guess I should be glad that he mentioned it was by Beethoven, because really, do you need to know anything else?

However, I'm more interested in learning about current day performance practices of Beethoven symphonies...

figure current day performance practices: Beethoven as performed by my iPhone.

It's all yours, Eugene.

Current day performance practice of Beethoven symphonies often emphasize fleet of tempo and attack.

A couple of things, and I hate to be picky, but your subject and verb really should agree. Also, I think you mean fleetness (a noun), since it's sort of difficult to emphasize an adjective in this context -- or you have a superfluous "of" before tempo. And, I'm not quite sure what a fleet attack in music is.

figure fleet: A clever play on words?

But never mind, we're learning something here.

Laredo's [the conductor] interpretation was slower and emphasized string playing that was plush in texture.

Plush? The string playing was "a fabric, as of silk, cotton, or wool, whose pile is more than 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) high"? Plus, isn't "in texture" sort of redundant?

Of course, we kid. Okay, his interpretation of the unnamed symphony was slower than you're used to, and featured a richer string sound. Sure, why not.

An audience member could often hear Beethoven's orchestration,...

...and the rest of the time?

...which sometimes was illuminating--...

Illuminating is good. So what was illuminated by the sometimes heard orchestration (in this version that was slower and had sumptuous strings)?

...for example about a minute into the fourth movement the interplay between first violins, violas and second violins.

Good call. That is totally an awesome moment. And please, don't waste your time explaining further, because we all know exactly where you're talking about in this unnamed Beethoven symphony.

At other times the emphasis on structure robbed the music of its forward pulse.

Precisely. If only Beethoven had... . What's that again?

[Rereads sentence] Okay?

figure confused?: Just try and figure out my logic.

"The emphasis on structure" -- I know what structure is, although I'm not quite sure how a performance emphasizes it. Extra loud accents when themes begin and end?

"...robbed the music of its forward pulse." -- So you're saying that music slowed down? Or is this a metaphorical pulse, as in the music lost your attention.

Fuck me, this isn't clear at all.

Maybe your conclusion will help clarify things.

However, after an entire concert of chamber-like balances...

Uh-huh. Symphonic music is always so inappropriately balanced?

...and volume restraint,...

Yes, the orchestra was too quiet, until...

...Laredo removed the reins off the orchestra at the very end.

I'm a big fan of the orchestra is a horse metaphor. Really, it's just such a contemporary, accurate comparison.

figure horse: See, a horse isn't a metaphor, it's a piece of art by Maurizio Cattelan.

The symphony closed with crackling horns and sizzling strings as the music hurtled to its close.

Well, that certainly cleared everything up.

After a slow performance that made that one section with the violins and violas audible, but robbed the forward pulse through emphasis on structure, the conductor flung the music to its close on a metaphorical horse.

Praise to the principal flute Adrienne Kantor for her graceful adornment in the slow movement of the Brahms Double and the rapid fluttering passage work in the finale of the Beethoven.

Yes, praise be to Adrienne.


Empiricus said...

Did you get the memo? No?

Well, it outlined management's plan for the future. It described...

Shit. I don't know. It gave the web address to an online cliche dictionary.?...!..


Sator Arepo said...

Good to see you, Gus; nice post. The dead horse thing is fantastic.

E, what the fuck are you talking about? Always riddles with that guy.

And I don't think I've *ever* seen a review that neglects to name the Beethoven symphony played.

also, true story: verification word = "facters"