Ed's talk: Aug 15, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Times article on Elgar and vibrato

I'd posted an article on July 11th which didn't seem to arouse much interest at the time but it mentioned Elgar as an example.

A few days ago the New York Times posted an article concerning the conductor Roger Norrington's desire ((?) to do the First Pomp and Circumstance March (Yes, the one with "Land of Hope and Glory") without vibrato with much consequent outrage but, by the time I saw it, I was too late to post a comment on that site.

However, I need only point to Elgar's 1932 electrical recording of the Violin Concerto with the 16 year old Yehudi Menuhin who not only uses plenty of vibrato on that recording but also an extensive use of "portamento" in which he slides from one note to another.

According to Menuhin, Elgar, at the first meeting only heard the first page, said he was sure the recording would be excellent and, as for him, he was off to the races!

So it seems to me, the musicological dwelling on how much vibrato should be used seems rather foolish nowadays and I think Mr. Norrington is only trying to be provocative.


Choosing Your Religion

I find this idea of a "God gene" preposterous! When I was in my teens, I found I wanted some protection against my early physical impulses which no one bothered to explain to me so I read the proscriptions of my faith against them. It was not until a little later that I found these had no basis in fact and I was putting myself through agony unnecessarily.

Later, when I was 17 and at the Tanglewood Music Center, I found myself walking through Lenox Massachusetts pondering the mystery of the end of life. I was not moved to, subsequently, contemplate the "afterlife" but to only contemplate nothingness and to try to think that, since we all came from there, we would simply return there. This was beyond me and I think it is beyond all of us and may well be one thing explaining the so-called "God Gene".

Basic Judaism never had much of a belief in the afterlife (being taken to "Abraham's Bosom" seemed rather vague to me as it still does.) and the idea of everything occurring in this life seemed manifestly more sensible. The rewards of heaven and the eternal punishments of hell I think are devices of most religions to keep people in line.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost