AHRC Online Conference

Classical Music Hyper Production and Practice As Research

Reflecting on collaborative practice

Firstly, many thanks to Simon for inviting me to participate in this online conference, and thanks also to all the other participants for their stimulating blogs and comments. Last year, Simon and I have collaborated in recording a couple of examples from the classical piano repertoire (Mendelssohn's Song without words Op. 30 No. 6, titled 'Venetia...
Continue reading
17 Comments

The structure of outputs

In the next day or so we should be able to put the 'live' panel discussions from last weekend's conference up and I hope that will stimulate some further discussion but I was struck very powerfully by one moment in the discussion. I suggested that the art work itself should not (necessarily) be the practice as research output. I made the point with...
Continue reading
23 Comments

ambience on recordings

Ambience has been a powerful interpretive tool in recorded presentations of musical texts. Many of Arturo Toscanini's recordings, even those done at about the same time RCA made excellent early stereo tapes in Chicago and Boston, still puzzle listeners with their dryness. We know that Toscanini emphasized textural clarity above all else, and after ...
Continue reading
8 Comments

Stokowski's technologically-rendered ideas of musical text

For cases of recording techniques affecting the notion of musical "text" most substantively,​ we need to look to Leopold Stokowski. Courtesy of developing recording technologies, Stokowski's textual beliefs went far beyond traditional post-Kantian textual-critical attitudes. According to Stokowski's sense of history and music-making, we can draw ev...
Continue reading
16 Comments

The Structure of the Industry (Some Hopefully Not-Too-Pessimistic Thoughts)

​The question in the header for this panel asks about how the sound of classical record production affects commercial prospects. I wonder, though, if it might also be fruitful to think about the opposite approach—how the organization of the recording industry affects production. This occurs to me in general because of how frequently, in interviews ...
Continue reading
14 Comments

Reverberation

A useful thought exercise, because it gets at the issue of layers of representation and meaning in recordings of acoustically generated music, is to consider what reverberation is. Is it the representation or signature of a room within which the performance occurs, necessary for authenticity and comfort? Or is it time(/frequency) and space smearing...
Continue reading
4 Comments

Learning to perform in the studio

I believe that all Classical music students should be better prepared for the recording studio. There is a fundamental misunderstanding in Classical music that musicians can simply take the performance of the concert hall and replicate it in the recording studio to produce a successful outcome.  Performing for a recording is completely di...
Continue reading
12 Comments

The Aesthetics of Recording Classical Music

​Thanks all for your very interesting observations so far. I will comment to individual threads, but could I start the ball rolling here with the questions we will be discussing in the panel session on production on Saturday? I would really like to get the conversation started and see what the people who can't attend in person think about all this....
Continue reading
17 Comments

a few reflections on recording, modernity and modernism

In seeking contributions, Simon asked that contributors should reflect on 'the sound-worlds used in recorded classical music and how these relate to ideas of modernity, authenticity, commerciality, pedagogy and the musical 'text' both in the traditional repertoire and in the composition and performance of new music'.Thinking about this in the light...
Continue reading
10 Comments

Audiences

This is a post intended for the discussion unfolding in Musicology that overlaps issues in Performance and Production. With respect to recording, I think it's important to factor in the audience, not just the ways in which concepts of audio fidelity are constructed on the side of musicians, producers and audio engineers. My point is, however artifi...
Continue reading
14 Comments

More about 'CMHP'

Very interesting Andrew. I think the point that we were trying to make - and in some ways trying to move away from - was the idea that recorded classical music still hasn't moved very far from the aesthetic of the 'best seat in the house'. That said, I found your paper very interesting in that regard because it makes a point very strongly that I've...
Continue reading
19 Comments

Reflections on 'About CMHP'

First of all, I'd like to express my delight at being invited to take part in this conference. I very much appreciate what is for me a rare opportunity to discuss the nature of recording practices and how they might be developed. I've been pondering the ideas presented on the 'About the Project' page on this site, which outlines CMHP's aims an...
Continue reading
12 Comments

Illusion or Reality in Classical Recording

Recording engineers discover quickly in their studio work that what a microphone 'hears' is quite different from what is captured by our own hearing system. As a result we often must use more than two microphones to realize a classical performance in an audio recording -- even when our goal is to recreate a realistic soundscape of the original perf...
Continue reading
7 Comments

Alfred Brendel

Martha de Francisco just posted a link on Facebook to this interview with Alfred Brendel where he talks a little about recording to promote a new box set of his Phillips recordings. One of the interesting things he says is the benefit of digital recording being that the edits are done during the session and are therefore part of the performance pro...
Continue reading
55 Comments

Starting off

First, allow me to thank Simon for inviting me to participate in these virtual discussions. I'm glad that he presented this particular issue as a cultural question. It is indeed that. But it goes beyond the question of how classical musicians feel about recording. I frequently tell my students that classical music and jazz are two genres in which t...
Continue reading
11 Comments

Some initial thoughts on... PAR outputs

I was speaking to Dr. Experience Bryon today from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and talked about the idea of practitioners feeling they have to prostitute their art in order to present it as research: that presenting the art should, perhaps, be good enough. She was much more nuanced and expert in her analysis but was suggesting that ...
Continue reading
11 Comments

Some initial thoughts... on the commercial prospects

​The commercial world of classical recording is star driven and the interpretations that these stars bring to the classical repertoire are the features that differentiate the commercial releases. Given the parlous state of the classical recording industry at the moment, perhaps it's time to introduce the notion of differentiating products by produc...
Continue reading
9 Comments

Some initial thoughts... on composition

​In the composing worlds of electronic, electro-acoustic and popular music, the composer is controlling the final sound precisely. On the other hand though, that implies that concert presentations of these types of piece should attempt to emulate that fixed, recorded sound. Composers working with a score can't have the same level of control of the ...
Continue reading
9 Comments

Some initial thoughts... on performance

Classical performers often characterize recording as a less enjoyable or rewarding activity than live performance. Indeed, it is often talked about as something that is done to them rather than something they do. Popular musicians, on the other hand, often take a more proactive and positive approach; seeing recording as an opportunity for creative...
Continue reading
18 Comments