Discussion:
French musical aesthetic?
(too old to reply)
aesthete8
2012-03-25 21:11:33 UTC
Permalink
Do you agree?:

- ...This is a pure celebration of the apex of French culture –
graceful yet powerful; complex yet elegant; understated yet deeply
emotional; committed yet relaxed; respectful of tradition yet
thoroughly modern; each instrument gleaming with individual pride yet
perfectly nestled in the ensemble; utterly natural yet exquisitely
polished; deeply cultured yet an invitation for all to enjoy and
partake of its wonder. It’s a stunning tribute to these and so many
other things.

http://www.classicalnotes.net/columns/paray.html
John Wiser
2012-03-25 22:03:01 UTC
Permalink
http://www.snip
Drivel.

JDW
td
2012-03-25 22:42:14 UTC
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Post by John Wiser
http://www.snip
Drivel.
Wrong.

Peter Gutmann writes some of the best disquisitions available on the
Internet which are not written by a certified "music critic".

TD
John Wiser
2012-03-25 23:32:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by td
http://www.snip
Drivel.
Wrong.
Peter Gutmann writes some of the best disquisitions available on the
Internet which are not written by a certified "music critic".
Your opinion, and welcome to it.

My opinion: drivel. Most certified "music critics"
offend similarly, in less graceful prose.

JDW
td
2012-03-26 00:36:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Wiser
Post by td
http://www.snip
Drivel.
Wrong.
Peter Gutmann writes some of the best disquisitions available on the
Internet which are not written by a certified "music critic".
Your opinion, and welcome to it.
My opinion: drivel.  Most certified "music critics"
offend similarly, in less graceful prose.
Grinch.

TD
John Wiser
2012-03-26 02:01:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by td
Post by John Wiser
http://www.snip
Post by John Wiser
Drivel.
Wrong.
Peter Gutmann writes some of the best disquisitions available on the
Internet which are not written by a certified "music critic".
Your opinion, and welcome to it.
My opinion: drivel. Most certified "music critics"
offend similarly, in less graceful prose.
Grinch.
Damn right.


JDW
td
2012-03-26 10:32:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Wiser
Post by td
Post by John Wiser
http://www.snip
Post by John Wiser
Drivel.
Wrong.
Peter Gutmann writes some of the best disquisitions available on the
Internet which are not written by a certified "music critic".
Your opinion, and welcome to it.
My opinion: drivel. Most certified "music critics"
offend similarly, in less graceful prose.
Grinch.
Damn right.
Bile is no argument.

TD
Bob Harper
2012-03-27 04:56:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by td
Post by John Wiser
Post by td
http://www.snip
Drivel.
Wrong.
Peter Gutmann writes some of the best disquisitions available on the
Internet which are not written by a certified "music critic".
Your opinion, and welcome to it.
My opinion: drivel. Most certified "music critics"
offend similarly, in less graceful prose.
Grinch.
TD
You're just now figuring that out?

Bob Harper
jrsnfld
2012-03-26 03:03:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by aesthete8
- ...This is a pure celebration of the apex of French culture –
graceful yet powerful; complex yet elegant; understated yet deeply
emotional; committed yet relaxed; respectful of tradition yet
thoroughly modern; each instrument gleaming with individual pride yet
perfectly nestled in the ensemble; utterly natural yet exquisitely
polished; deeply cultured yet an invitation for all to enjoy and
partake of its wonder. It’s a stunning tribute to these and so many
other things.
Yes...and no.

These are characteristics of the French tradition. They are
characteristics of other traditions as well.

Paray is hardly the epitome of "committed but relaxed". Relaxed?
Paray?? How about "fast", "faster", and "fastest"?

I'm also not convinced by "utterly natural but exquisitely polished."
Are these opposites?

And that last part..."deeply cultured yet an invitation for all to
enjoy..."--how is that unique to Paray, or to France. Sounds like the
norm for great music anywhere and a diss to the avant garde of France
as much as any country.

As for the stuff you don't quote, I also object to this premise that
this series of Mercury recordings was so unfathomable. It makes
perfect sense that Detroit was a good place for Paray. We're talking
about a city at its commercial peak, rolling in money, ready to
welcome good musicians looking for a good home and good pay post-War.

The fact that Paray could go somewhere that has a fine group of
players and get results that sound "French" to someone who hasn't got
a deep feel for what French orchestras sounded like is a testament to
how fragile national differences were, even when they were fairly
pronounced.

--Jeff
aesthete8
2012-03-26 04:37:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by jrsnfld
Paray is hardly the epitome of "committed but relaxed". Relaxed?
Paray?? How about "fast", "faster", and "fastest"?
That was my impression, too.

Just as I find Stokowski's tempi to be on the slow side, I found
Paray's tempi to be pretty fast--as if to emphasize the flow (il
filo?) of the music.

Concerning Debussy's "Nuages", Paray's clouds seem to almost race by
in thin lengthy cotton-candy-gauzy strips.
Terry
2012-03-26 05:59:58 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 26 Mar 2012 08:11:33 +1100, aesthete8 wrote
(in article
- ...This is a pure celebration of the apex of French culture –
graceful yet powerful; complex yet elegant; understated yet deeply
emotional; committed yet relaxed; respectful of tradition yet
thoroughly modern; each instrument gleaming with individual pride yet
perfectly nestled in the ensemble; utterly natural yet exquisitely
polished; deeply cultured yet an invitation for all to enjoy and
partake of its wonder. It’s a stunning tribute to these and so many
other things.
http://www.classicalnotes.net/columns/paray.html
I've always admired Paray, and enjoyed reading this article because it
reminded me of some recordings I'd forgotten about; and alerted me to some
I'd overlooked.

I'm old enough to recall, however, that at the time these recordings were
made, native French orchestras had a distinctiveness in their sonority that
has now disappeared. I don't think the Detroit Symphony Orchestra ever
possessed that sonority (most evident in the horns and the winds), so ... no,
I don't agree with the assertion that the DSO was particularly "French" at
that time. These days, it's sort of irrelevant.

Unrelated to any of this, I recall that at the time Dutoit and the
Montrealers started releasing nice recordings of Ravel and Debussy, there
were many comments about the Frenchness of their sound. At the risk of
quoting inaccurately, I believe the Gramophone reviewer said something like:
"... the world's finest French orchestra, no matter what they might think in
Paris."
--
Cheers!

Terry
herman
2012-03-26 06:56:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Terry
Unrelated to any of this, I recall that at the time Dutoit and the
Montrealers started releasing nice recordings of Ravel and Debussy, there
were many comments about the Frenchness of their sound. At the risk of
"... the world's finest French orchestra, no matter what they might think in
Paris."
And, of course, the Boston SO is "the world's finest French orchestra"
too.
td
2012-03-26 10:34:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by herman
Post by Terry
Unrelated to any of this, I recall that at the time Dutoit and the
Montrealers started releasing nice recordings of Ravel and Debussy, there
were many comments about the Frenchness of their sound. At the risk of
"... the world's finest French orchestra, no matter what they might think in
Paris."
And, of course, the Boston SO is "the world's finest French orchestra"
too.
Was, not is.

TD
MiNe 109
2012-03-26 10:55:58 UTC
Permalink
In article
- ...This is a pure celebration of the apex of French culture ­
graceful yet powerful; complex yet elegant; understated yet deeply
emotional; committed yet relaxed; respectful of tradition yet
thoroughly modern; each instrument gleaming with individual pride yet
perfectly nestled in the ensemble; utterly natural yet exquisitely
polished; deeply cultured yet an invitation for all to enjoy and
partake of its wonder. It¹s a stunning tribute to these and so many
other things.
http://www.classicalnotes.net/columns/paray.html
He's got one hand in his pocket and the other one is giving a high five.

Stephen
g***@gmail.com
2016-01-19 08:27:32 UTC
Permalink
- ...This is a pure celebration of the apex of French culture -
graceful yet powerful; complex yet elegant; understated yet deeply
emotional; committed yet relaxed; respectful of tradition yet
thoroughly modern; each instrument gleaming with individual pride yet
perfectly nestled in the ensemble; utterly natural yet exquisitely
polished; deeply cultured yet an invitation for all to enjoy and
partake of its wonder. It's a stunning tribute to these and so many
other things.
http://www.classicalnotes.net/columns/paray.html
According to the following article:

- ...Munch was a peerless interpreter of Berlioz, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Honegger and Dutilleux - but whose wildness on the podium went against the equilibrium that characterizes French music-making.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-02-15/entertainment/ct-ent-0215-classical-munch-20120215_1_alsatian-conductor-french-music-dutilleux
MickeyBoy
2016-01-19 18:39:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-02-15/entertainment/ct-ent-0215-classical-munch-20120215_1_alsatian-conductor-french-music-dutilleux
Thanks, ggggg, for bringing Holoman's new book to our attention. He is a scholar worthy of our full attention. I will look forward to reading his book. The debate about what the French aesthetic is and is not has been swirling about in my pea brain for decades. Wrt Munch, we should remember that he was Alsatian with an umlaut above the U. The Alsatian dialect is largely Germanic and he played under Furtwangler in Leipzig, IIRC. So his personal aesthetic was surely mixed or hybrid (I wouldn't say contradictory.) I'll just advance the suggestion that the French aesthetic, to the extent there was one, seeks to give every musical gesture its full value, no less, no more. It is not about the 'bon milieu' but giving each utterance the appropriate musical expression. It is not about lowering the mountains and raising the valleys, but about not betraying the music or running it through a uniform stylistic machine. Passionate music should be expressed with the right amount of passion; reflective or light music similarly.
Herman
2016-01-19 18:48:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by MickeyBoy
Passionate music should be expressed with the right amount of passion; reflective or light music similarly.
No one but a Frenchman would think of this?

Or maybe this is just sophomoric hairsplitting?
g***@gmail.com
2017-03-25 23:19:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by aesthete8
- ...This is a pure celebration of the apex of French culture –
graceful yet powerful; complex yet elegant; understated yet deeply
emotional; committed yet relaxed; respectful of tradition yet
thoroughly modern; each instrument gleaming with individual pride yet
perfectly nestled in the ensemble; utterly natural yet exquisitely
polished; deeply cultured yet an invitation for all to enjoy and
partake of its wonder. It’s a stunning tribute to these and so many
other things.
http://www.classicalnotes.net/columns/paray.html
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.music.classical.recordings/O6TukRZa_pY
g***@gmail.com
2017-03-28 09:41:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by aesthete8
- ...This is a pure celebration of the apex of French culture –
graceful yet powerful; complex yet elegant; understated yet deeply
emotional; committed yet relaxed; respectful of tradition yet
thoroughly modern; each instrument gleaming with individual pride yet
perfectly nestled in the ensemble; utterly natural yet exquisitely
polished; deeply cultured yet an invitation for all to enjoy and
partake of its wonder. It’s a stunning tribute to these and so many
other things.
http://www.classicalnotes.net/columns/paray.html
According to the following:

- ...Sound French to the core - relaxed, laid-back and rather conventional, with few distinguishing characteristics, at first somewhat disappointing in its lack of flair and definition (especially in a bland and listless pirates' dance), but perhaps compensating with integrity appropriate to its role as accompaniment to a ballet.

http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics4/daphnis.html
gggg gggg
2021-02-28 16:40:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by aesthete8
- ...This is a pure celebration of the apex of French culture –
graceful yet powerful; complex yet elegant; understated yet deeply
emotional; committed yet relaxed; respectful of tradition yet
thoroughly modern; each instrument gleaming with individual pride yet
perfectly nestled in the ensemble; utterly natural yet exquisitely
polished; deeply cultured yet an invitation for all to enjoy and
partake of its wonder. It’s a stunning tribute to these and so many
other things.
http://www.classicalnotes.net/columns/paray.html
(Recent Youtube upload):

What Makes Debussy Sound French?
gggg gggg
2021-10-13 17:54:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by aesthete8
- ...This is a pure celebration of the apex of French culture –
graceful yet powerful; complex yet elegant; understated yet deeply
emotional; committed yet relaxed; respectful of tradition yet
thoroughly modern; each instrument gleaming with individual pride yet
perfectly nestled in the ensemble; utterly natural yet exquisitely
polished; deeply cultured yet an invitation for all to enjoy and
partake of its wonder. It’s a stunning tribute to these and so many
other things.
http://www.classicalnotes.net/columns/paray.html
The "Historic Recordings" chapter from the book "French Pianism...":

https://books.google.com/books?id=taB23mJdp_0C&pg=PA52&lpg=PA52&dq=%22an+important+part+of+the+history+of+French+pianism%22%22&source=bl&ots=LQu0senTtO&sig=ACfU3U16qPqy_8VdR9BZe2KOp_k6Khi3Ww&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwix3cmZ-sfzAhUEITQIHSUXA6IQ6AF6BAgCEAM#v=onepage&q=%22an%20important%20part%20of%20the%20history%20of%20French%20pianism%22%22&f=false
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