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Topic: I HATE RECORDING!!!!  (Read 1917 times)

Offline anda

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I HATE RECORDING!!!!
on: March 26, 2005, 09:08:35 PM
there should be a rule - record live! get on stage, play, record from the back of the  stage, RECORD IT AS THE PUBLIC HEARS IT!

anyone feel the same?

Glissando

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #1 on: March 26, 2005, 09:21:09 PM
I vastly prefer an unedited, live recording to some perfect edited studio one. Edited recordings just sound so- stale.
 :-\

Offline xvimbi

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #2 on: March 26, 2005, 11:13:38 PM
Well, in principle I agree with what's been said. However, there are not many live recordings that performers and record companies would be happy with. We would have far fewer recordings, which might be a good thing. I think a good balance is how some live recordings are done: have several live performances, then splice them together, and potentially have a special session to get rid of blatant mistakes, coughs, etc.

Offline goose

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #3 on: March 27, 2005, 12:30:59 PM
I feel that recording is a fascinating subject perhaps deserving a less off-putting topic header than I HATE RECORDING!!!  :'( Maybe we could start a new thread. Anyway, this is a reply, so I guess etiquette dictates I post it here.

I think there are several ways to look at recording. The first is that it’s simply a way to expand the audience for a performance. Compare how many people have heard Horowitz on record with the number who saw him perform live? Some would say it’s a poor substitute, but the recording is certainly better than nothing.

Or we can see it as a way of capturing a composition better than any other medium to date. Almost the entire history of jazz would be impossible to imagine without recording. When people say that jazz performance is ‘composition in real time’ they’re saying it’s an ephemeral experience. Recording is the only way to capture that never-to-be-repeated version of a piece.

Recording technology also changed the course of jazz music itself. If aspiring players were only able to hear their heroes live in a small club – with no chance to listen again and again to their recordings – the music would have developed in different ways (and certainly not at the same pace).

In classical music, it’s arguable how much of a composition the score can capture. But we can generally understand Beethoven’s intentions for a sonata from the sheet music. What we can’t do is hear the infinite number of interpretations of that music by other artists; or by the composer himself. How tragic, then, that Beethoven and Mozart couldn’t hang around long enough for technology to record their improvisations (which, according to contemporary reports, were incredible).

Now, Anda, I know you’re talking about ‘live recordings’ of classical music. But the reason I rambled on above is to expand the discussion and allow for some context of recording as a whole. Because, basically, you’re really just stating a preference.

No doubt you’ve read much of what Glenn Gould said about recording and how concert pianists are essentially circus performers (OK, I’m paraphrasing a little. I think he said performing monkeys!). The performance is as much about the risk involved – see the tightrope walker perform without a net! – as the interpretation of the music.

Surely, he argued, the true artist wants his interpretation to match his intention. And that it’s therefore worth using editing techniques to achieve that vision. I see parallels in the other arts.

Editing in literature
Jack Kerouac believed he could only be true to his muse by typing as fast as he could on an endless ream of paper: A stream of consciousness which was very impressive in its way. But it was pretty unorthodox and it didn’t catch on. Name me another writer who doesn’t believe in editing his work.

Theatre vs. film
This is perhaps closest to the point you raised originally. On the theatre stage, an actor has an audience. He also has a text (his ‘score’), from which he’s not really allowed to deviate. The actor creates an interpretation, honed by the director. And yet, each performance is slightly different. The best theatre is truly an electric, moving, and real experience. But it’s funny how artificial it looks when you film a stage performance. The magic is lost. Could one maybe say the same thing about live recordings of concert recitals?

In his recordings, Glenn Gould seemed to take the approach of a film director. The director has a vision for taking the script (the ’score’) and making a work of art from it. If the actor fluffs his lines, he reshoots the scene. Or even just that line. He can edit scenes together which were shot months apart. An actress may be speaking her lines to a camera crew and a stand-in, without the actor opposite who’s also in the scene. It’s an illusion which we all buy into. Can we not give a musical performance the same credit as a work of art?

I find both approaches to music recording – the ‘theatre’ and ‘film’ metaphor – interesting and valid. You just have to recognize that they are different concepts which can yield different results. Sure, it’s exhilarating to hear virtually flawless live recordings. Any aspiring pianist hearing Barenboim’s Brahms concertos is going to be awestruck by the sheer physical performance. We are amazed by the player’s ability.

But if we really believe in the ‘concert artist’ (and not just ‘concert performer’), then there’s surely something to be gained from hearing their interpretation as perfect as they could muster, even if it was spliced to death. The result may just be a recording which represents the artist’s ideal commentary on that work…at least for that period in his or her life.

And, as Xvimbi said, there’d be a lot less music on record out there if recordings were restricted to live versions.

So maybe the question is rather whether people prefer to hear the ideal artistic interpretation, or the performance itself. I'm also interested to hear more opinions about recording as an art in itself.

Best,
Goose
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes. - Jack Handey

Offline nomis

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #4 on: March 27, 2005, 12:45:03 PM
I vastly prefer an unedited, live recording to some perfect edited studio one. Edited recordings just sound so- stale.
 :-\


If you're going to listen to an unedited performance many times, soon enough, the wrong notes and apparent spontaneity will become an annoyance everytime you listen, and you'll probably end up waiting for them. :)

Offline anda

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #5 on: March 27, 2005, 01:14:19 PM
I feel that recording is a fascinating subject perhaps deserving a less off-putting topic header than I HATE RECORDING!!!  :'(

ok, maybe i shouldn't have said that, and esp capitalize it :)

anyway, i was very very mad (and i still am, but i hope now i'll be coherent enough to explain myself):

1. i have nothing against recordings! i grew up listening to performers i never heard (and never will hear) live. i thank God for lps, cassettes, cds, etc. - i learned tons from listening.

2. i have nothing against editing. i don't necessarily need to hear coughs or other noises from the audience (one esp comes to my mind right now: during a recorded recital, someone not too far from the microphone tumbled against a chair. imagine the sound). when i say "record live" i mean it as opposed to "record in a studio" - a live recording can be edited just as well.

so, what's my problem then? studio recordings:

- no audience - that means no feed-back. some of us need to feel a present audience, paying attention, and feeling something. and, speaking just for myself, i rely on this to go on with my performance. this feed-back helps me adjust, feeds me energy and keeps me going on.

- "quiet, recording!" aka "don't mess up, or will have to start again". and again, and again. and after a few hours, you get tired, and then you mess up more, and then you have to start all over again. and then you focus on hit-all-the-right-notes and no-mistakes-allowed, and then where's the music?

now, imagine all this happening in a chamber music group. chances of start-again-no-mistake-now increase exponentially, everybody becomes irritated.

honestly, i'd rather record ten recitals than one simple cd.

Offline goose

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #6 on: March 27, 2005, 02:59:39 PM
Oh...OK. I'm sorry you got 'very, very mad'. With my response? Or just with studio recording? Didn't mean to offend. I wasn't actually sure that you meant yourself as performer or listener. But that's clear now and I see what you mean now.

I still think it would be interesting to expand the discussion, though.

Anyway, I rather like the idea of ten versions of the same recital recorded over ten nights. That would be fascinating to document, warts and all, eh? Would be nice if someone did that and sold it for the same price as a regular studio CD. But I can't see a regular label, or artist, going for it  :-\

Best,
Goose
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes. - Jack Handey

Offline whynot

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #7 on: March 27, 2005, 09:42:11 PM
Anda, I know what you mean.  If you're used to performing a lot, a studio with no one to play to feels very contrived and nerve-wracking.  In recording, the closer I get to the end of a movement or piece, the more stiffly I play, trying to over-control myself and prevent any possible errors.  Then I do make mistakes because I'm all rigid, or if I don't, it's still not my best playing.  Like you, I'm not against the practice of studio recording, I just hate to do it myself.  I love the idea that great music played by great performers gets shared with so many people in this way.  Although I've observed that such fastidious editing has led non-performing listeners to believe that good players don't make mistakes.  Would I do away with studio recordings if I could?  Heck no, I just like to complain.  And of course I can't blame the performers for wanting to show themselves at their best, and the engineers can be real artists, too, as someone suggested, so they want the best possible finished product.  But I'd be happy never to do it again.       

Offline anda

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #8 on: March 28, 2005, 09:52:38 AM
Oh...OK. I'm sorry you got 'very, very mad'. With my response? Or just with studio recording? Didn't mean to offend.

and you didn't offend me at all. as for me being mad, i was sooo furious with the recording... trust me, there was no room for anything else getting me mad :)

Offline anda

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #9 on: March 28, 2005, 09:54:58 AM
In recording, the closer I get to the end of a movement or piece, the more stiffly I play, trying to over-control myself and prevent any possible errors.  Then I do make mistakes because I'm all rigid, or if I don't, it's still not my best playing. 

exactly!

Quote
Would I do away with studio recordings if I could?  Heck no, I just like to complain. 

i would. just with studio recording, of course i wouldn't like to never record anything else again. :)

Offline anda

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #10 on: March 28, 2005, 09:57:44 AM
and - just to prove myself right: i am very very happy today - i just got the unedited recording of the recital (same program), and i can honestly say it's way better  than the edited studio recording (of course, there are mistakes there weren't in the studio recordng, but overall, i'm quite proud of this).

thanks all of you for your responses,

best luck

Offline puma

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Re: I HATE RECORDING!!!!
Reply #11 on: March 29, 2005, 01:12:08 AM
   Nowadays with technology the way it is, you can edit and mix and match, record different parts at different times, and have a "perfect" ending product.  A couple of times I was frustrated with hitting wrong notes,  my classical music teacher pointed out that the studio recordings are perfect, note-for-note, because of that reason.  It's the overall effect he was concerned about.  So I try to keep this in perspective when I play.  I still get  frustrated with notes, and when I record at home to make a demo for someone I get frustrated because I don't have the expertise to mix and match and make it sound perfect - I have to play like that all the way through.  It's not uncommon to do ten takes.  In fact, ten takes is small.  Did you know that when the Doors were working on one of their albums, their producer, Paul Rothchild, required a total of 126 TAKES from them (for about a ten song record)?  Perfectionists will probably still do a whole bunch of takes over and over until they get it sounding perfect.  Because when that song is released, the teeny-boppers will be listening to that song ad infinitum.  So it's GOT to be perfect.  But even with classical, people will notice mistakes.  There's got to be a happy medium somehow, but sometimes perfection is required.  And that's not an easy thing. 
    I used to prefer the "perfect" studio versions of songs.  I always thought live versions were incorrect and sloppy.  I listen to a lot of pop and rock, so when I hear the live versions I just think how imperfect they are compared to the studio version.  That was until I went to an actual concert and got the chance to see someone perform live.  Now I realize and understand the hard work behind live performances - it's just that on video or tape, they rarely seem to make an impact.  Now, I have friends who feel just the opposite - They LOVE the live recordings to death and can't stand the studio versions.  It's a matter of musical taste and personal preference in the end.
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