AHRC Online Conference

Classical Music Hyper Production and Practice As Research

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. Saturday's panellists can of course contribute here, but please don't feel you need to spill all the beans now - you can save some jewels for Saturday.

What are the current aesthetics and working practices of recording classical music? In which directions might they develop from here?

  • Current Aesthetics: What are the current aesthetics of classical recording, what is the 'sound', what are the beliefs behind it, what sells and what doesn't, where does this aesthetic come from? What are the positive aspects of it? Who creates the expectations of what a recording should be? And what is the state of the industry at the moment?
  • Current Working Practices: What are the current working practices and collaborative models between producers, performers, and sound engineers? What are the benefits of these current practices? Do these practices contribute to the aesthetic or sound? Can you think of any other or better alternatives?
  • Sounds/Approaches/Technological Possibilities: Are there any sounds or approaches from the past that you think have not been taken advantage of enough? Are there any current technological possibilities that are being underused or ignored?
  • Other Ideas or Aesthetics?: Are there any other ideas or aesthetics that you have thought you would like to try?:
    • more 'live' or 'realistic' recordings, which are less perfection-centric?
    • more interventionist recordings (more microphones, surround-sound, hyper-real positioning, re-composition for recording, changes in perspective of balance and sonic picture, different sounds, more pop-based aesthetics)
    • If so, what would the performers want, what would the companies say, what would the critics say, and the buying public? Who are the taste-makers? Would it sell? What are the barriers? What might be worth trying?
  • Please also raise any other issues that you feel are relevant to this topic.

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  • I'm glad to participate in such an interesting discussion, I should admit that you pose very important questions in this area. I'd like to reply to one of your questions about "what might be worth trying?". I think performers want as more as 'live' or 'realistic' recordings, which are less perfection-centric as possible, many friends of mine agree with this idea, you can check out some proposed possibilities for changing the aesthetics and processes of recording classical music here in order to a better understanding of my point of view.

    from London, UK
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