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  1. #496
    Schigolch
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    To compile a good critical edition takes a lot of research and of musical knowledge. Tipically, the people engaging on such activities are scholars, fully trained musicians, and are *far* more "knowledgeable" than Mr. Keenlyside. Philip Gossett is a good example.

    Having said that, this is music, theater, and there is not such a thing as "the" correct version. While many considerations on the existing scores and the exam of myriads of documents are part of the effort to get ready a critical edition, including manuscripts if available, there is no problem in using alternative sources, either considered or not considered at the time of creating the critical edition, for a given performance.

    A good critical edition is a very valuable document, but is not the Bible.

  2. #497
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schigolch View Post
    To compile a good critical edition takes a lot of research and of musical knowledge. Typically, the people engaging on such activities are scholars, fully trained musicians, and are *far* more "knowledgeable" than Mr. Keenlyside. Philip Gossett is a good example.
    Are you saying that Keenlyside's interpretation of the original manuscript of Don Giovanni is incorrect?
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  3. #498
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    A critical edition, like any work of history, might change with the discovery of new manuscripts or the evolution of performing practice. It only means: "as much as this person can discover about the way we should perform this piece, going back to the original sources that are available to us right now, with whatever other knowledge he/she has of the composer and his/her period"

    A new critical edition might take into account Simon's discovery
    Natalie

  4. #499
    Schigolch
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    I have no clue, I haven't examined the issue.

    What I'm saying is that the musicologists that compile critical editions are scholars that are *far* more "knowledgeable" than Mr. Keenlyside. But that, of course, Mr. Keenlyside can have his own opinion, based on different, or indeed the same facts, and guide his performance based on that opinion.

  5. #500
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Philip Gossett has explained it clearly. He said that a critical edition takes into consideration ALL available documentation, and ALL versions. It considers the original autograph, and all subsequent modifications. A critical edition is not one definitive score. It annotates the score with all variations, explaining why these variations came to be, according to available data, if available.

    It's like a book with footnotes. It then will say something like this --- "this line seems to have been written like this in the original autograph. Tradition has pushed it to be sung this alternative way [explains what the alternative writing is]. The first time the new style has occurred was in.... "X" version published by... and seems to have been modified by the composer himself [or seems to be spurious and have been added by someone who was not the composer himself]" and so on and so forth.

    Then, according to Dr. Gossett, performers (and that includes conductors AND singers) should feel free to make their choices and play or sing the stretch as they see fit. However, the critical edition will hopefully inform them about the available choices and whether or not they were in the composers' wishes, or have been added in spurious or erroneous ways.

    And yes, sometimes a critical edition will propose corrections to an original autograph, when, according to Dr. Gossett, it appears clear that the composer himself made a mistake.

    And yes, of course, if a new document is unearthed, there may be a revision to a critical edition, to add the information found in the new source.

    So, Mr. Keenlyside must have considered the evidence and have decided to sing the stretch in a certain way, according to the original autograph, and maybe the critical edition had *proposed* a different solution, but it is up to the performer to adopt or not the proposed solutions. Whether Mr. Keenlyside is right or wrong in making this choice, it may not be easy to determine and not even a question of right or wrong, because this is not the goal of a critical edition - a critical edition doesn't pretend to be the Bible and/or indicate the only "correct" solution. The goal is to *inform* the choice. It is one of showing to performers when and how certain changes have been made to the original autograph, when the information is known (sometimes it is not) so that when people adopt one form or another, at least they know what they are doing.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  7. #501
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    By the way, there is nothing "arrogant" in a critical edition. This word shouldn't even apply to this kind of scholarly work. Laying down the historical evidence is not "arrogant" - it is just the result of sound research. These scholars don't fight for their solutions. They merely document the available sources for the world to see, and keep repeating that performers should make their own choices. There is nothing arrogant about it.

    So, if a researcher found some ancient text with a different version of say, the events in the Trojan war, and published it, and said "Homer said this and that about the Trojan War; archeologists found this and that, and this other newly found text by author X says this and that about the events" would you call this scholar "arrogant" because he published it?
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); December 30th, 2012 at 02:41 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  8. #502
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Oh no, I went there to see what Mr. Keenlyside was saying, and realized that it is a video interview, not a written one. I have no patience or time right now to watch the whole thing. What did he say? Can someone summarize for me the issue as it relates to Don Giovanni?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #503
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Don Giovanni was first premiered in Prague in October 1787, where it was very well received. The following year in May, it had its Viennese premiere and for it, Mozart wrote some new recitatives and new arias. This was a very typical example of composers writing and or inserting and or deleting previously composed pieces for a new performance. Critical editions would therefore have to survey all existing manuscripts and published editions, especially historic published editions, and lay out the facts today (often based on speculation nonetheless) that led the composer to decide on which version was performed when and why. Often the reason to choose a particular version for modern audiences today could be pragmatic ones, for example two versions of one aria, where it would then be the production's decision to choose which version. But the critical edition's role is to survey it all so that both performers and listeners are informed about the work's historical and musicological context, and understand which version or "hybrid" version is performed before them today.

  10. #504
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    I still think it's arrogant of someone today to think they knew what Mozart meant to write.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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  12. #505
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    I still think it's arrogant of someone today to think they knew what Mozart meant to write.
    Yes, it would be arrogant to presume "this version of the score was what Mozart had in mind had it not been the case if [event ABC/reason XYZ] took place ...". I sure hope too that critical editions never aspire to that. The basic core idea is to check that an edition that is often used for performance today, and to ensure that the composer's intention though the centuries have been preserved. Performance tradition today in 2013, could indeed be far removed from its premiere - errors were made in published editions a hundred years after the composer's death, lost arias rediscovered, pieces transposed that had nothing to do with the composer and first audiences etc. These are usually the layers of historic dust that have collected over time and what modern critical editions need to dust off. Believe me, I am a big fan of historically informed performance practice. A critical edition could even be just returning to and using the composer's conducting score but not what a publishing house printed one hundred years later (to make money).

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  14. #506
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    Yes, it would be arrogant to presume "this version of the score was what Mozart had in mind had it not been the case if [event ABC/reason XYZ] took place ...". I sure hope too that critical editions never aspire to that. The basic core idea is to check that an edition that is often used for performance today, and to ensure that the composer's intention though the centuries have been preserved. Performance tradition today in 2013, could indeed be far removed from its premiere - errors were made in published editions a hundred years after the composer's death, lost arias rediscovered, pieces transposed that had nothing to do with the composer and first audiences etc. These are usually the layers of historic dust that have collected over time and what modern critical editions need to dust off. Believe me, I am a big fan of historically informed performance practice. A critical edition could even be just returning to and using the composer's conducting score but not what a publishing house printed one hundred years later (to make money).
    I can agree with & accept that. That's the best definition/explanation I've read.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  15. #507
    Schigolch
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    Sometimes there are also just simple mistakes in the autograph manuscript, too. Let's take the well known example of Manrico's aria in Trovatore, as explained by Mr. Gossett.

    The second stanza of the aria should be (it is written like that in the original libretto):

    Fra quegli estremi aneliti - With my last breath
    A te il pensier verra! - My thoughts will fly to you!
    E solo in ciel precederti - And only to precede you into Heaven
    La morte a me parra! - Death will seem to me!.

    However, Verdi wrote in the score "La morte a me parra!" twice. It was just an error, while copying the words of the libretto. It doesn't make any sense to repeat the line, anyway, look at the translation!.

    But during decades the wrong version, as in the manuscript, had been sung!. Just listen to any performance before the 1990s! (and quite a few of them after, too). The mistake was spotted and corrected in the 1993 critical edition.

  16. #508
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    My confusion has been caused by my total ignorance. Most discussions on this subject start with the premise that the reader knows what a Critical Edition is & then goes on to explain about the study and the research. I started from scratch.

    [A bit like explaining to an alien how to boil an egg. You - "First take your saucepan" Alien - "What's a saucepan?"]
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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  18. #509
    Staff Writer & Reviewer - Life-time Donor Veteran Member Jephtha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    So, Mr. Keenlyside must have considered the evidence and have decided to sing the stretch in a certain way, according to the original autograph, and maybe the critical edition had *proposed* a different solution, but it is up to the performer to adopt or not the proposed solutions. Whether Mr. Keenlyside is right or wrong in making this choice, it may not be easy to determine and not even a question of right or wrong, because this is not the goal of a critical edition - a critical edition doesn't pretend to be the Bible and/or indicate the only "correct" solution. The goal is to *inform* the choice. It is one of showing to performers when and how certain changes have been made to the original autograph, when the information is known (sometimes it is not) so that when people adopt one form or another, at least they know what they are doing.
    Almaviva is 100% correct about this. When I was a performer, we always waited impatiently for the next volumes of the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe (or -Bach) to be released so that we could discard our bad old Breitkopf and Hartel editions. We recognised that the latest scholarship had gone into the volumes and that we could trust the integrity of the editors, so that we could get as close as possible to what the composer had in mind, but we never attempted to follow them slavishly. As Almaviva writes, the goal was to be able to make as informed a choice as possible about our musical decisions. As I have said elsewhere, a computer is far more efficient than a human being if all that is wanted is a straight transcription of the notes on the page. The value in a human performer is just that: the humanity, and the ambiguity that comes with it. I would agree that it is arrogant to presume to know the mind of Mozart, if indeed that is what anyone is doing. But we can do our best to discover what we believe to be the composer's intentions, and then build our interpretation from there. Harnoncourt once said, 'There are hundreds of ways to play Bach correctly. The problem is, there are thousands of ways to play him incorrectly'.
    Last edited by Jephtha; December 31st, 2012 at 07:11 PM. Reason: To insert a quote from N. Harnoncourt

  19. #510
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I think someone's been raiding Liberace's closet . . .


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