Saturday, July 25, 2009

Try it a little slower

Thanks to Theo Boehm, a post at On An Overgrown Path which asks the question: Is classical music too fast?

We know that the standard orchestral A has been creeping sharper for a while. Everybody wants that little edge, and one way to get it is by going a little higher. It's a testimonial to how well those Strads and Guarneris were made that they don't collapse under the additional string tension from being tuned to modern pitch.

So it would follow as the night the day that musicians searching for edge by tuning sharper would also want to gain some more edge by playing faster. (Lizst? Paderewski? known for that.)

I do like a musician or singer who can take his or her time with a piece. I had the pleasure of opening for Paddy Reilly a few years back. He's a man who can take his time with a song. A few examples from Youtube: Rose of Allendale. The Town I Loved So Well. Carrickfergus. Flight of Earls. The Rare Old Times. Come Back, Paddy Reilly, to Ballyjamesduff. (That last song was written well before the singer was born. I didn't think to ask him if it felt funny to sing a song with one's own name in it.)

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