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Author Topic: Vienna  (Read 685 times)
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« on: July 18, 2019, 12:36:02 am »

But should Moscow audiences be expected to have heard of Birtwistle? (I ask objectively, not sarcastically or critically)

I wish I hadn't heard of him Wink (That is a joke of course Smiley)

In response to Neil's post, first of all Sir James MacMillan has done very well in terms of cd releases of his music; most of his works can be obtained commercially. More importantly however, Neil is quite correct in referring to the impossibility of having a comprehensive knowledge of the entire repertoire. I know the names of a very considerable number of composers and have catalogued the orchestral music of hundreds of them. But my knowledge of opera, chamber music, instrumental music is almost non-existent. It has also become clear that there are indeed vast numbers of composers (particularly from Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia) of whom I have never heard. And my "knowledge" of the 20th century composers of orchestral music-which is my particular area of interest-is at best "shallow". I know the names of composers. I have listened to as much of their music as I have had time to do. But "comprehensive knowledge" is not something I could ever claim.

And how much more is this true for executants. They are required to have real, in-depth knowledge of the music they perform. It is impossible for them to know much, if anything, of the music of composers they do not perform. I was shocked when I learned that the conductor of two British symphonies recently released on cd had, previous to being contracted to make the recordings, never heard a single note of that composer's music. Shocked because I had the notion that he had some obligation to have listened to the off-air recordings of the composer's music available here or on You Tube. Was this fair? Of course not! There are only so many hours in a day and only so much of an individual's life which can be devoted to listening to music. If executants have to study the music they are playing-as they obviously do-then a wide knowledge of the repertoire is extremely difficult.

It is for this reason that I so admire those conductors who were continually broadening their repertoire to include the neglected and the obscure.
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