Post by M. Ryan
I can see why people would disapprove of a legacy of fine work tainted
by that performer's off days. (And as a repertoire-based buyer, I'ld
never buy it anyway!) But to elevate this into an ethical principle of
'the performer is the only real judge of his own work' (or something
like that) would be a mistake.
I think you miss my point. I do not elevate the concept to an "ethical
principal" in general--only with respect to artists whose wishes are clearly
known or can be deduced with reasonably accuracy from their behavior during
their lifetimes. I would not apply the same standard, for example, to Neeme
Jarvi, or Martha Argerich, or any number of artists whose willingness to release
many recordings, multiple recordings of the same works, or recordings clearly
not representitive of their best work demonstrates that they are not entitled to
the same degree of consideration. I am speaking here of consideration for the
rights of the artist--a moral consideration--to which I feel Kleiber is entitled
because it was precisely his refusal to flood the market with recordings and his
high musical standards that account for his reputation in the first place. Any
violation of his clear intent in this regard will inevitably damage his
reputation. This strikes me as given.
Post by M. Ryan
Artists are not necessarily their own best judges -- part of our
existing culture is founded on people on ignoring the wishes of the
This is also true, but again, it is you who are generalizing the matter when I
am speaking of a specific case. We have no evidence for this being the case with
Kleiber. I have, in fact, heard virtually every pirate issues of his
performances (and some private stuff besides) and I would say that he WAS indeed
the best judge of his own work. And even if he were not, that does not address
my point, which is whether or not anyone else has the moral right to second
guess him in this respect. Indeed, I find your comment extremely ingenuous as it
applies to this particular case, since, once again, it is precisely the scarcity
of his interpretations that has created their value.
Post by M. Ryan
Over time, the greedy consumerism of the moment will be forgotten, and
the true art will win out. (We don't see it in the past, because
we've already forgotten it!)
This may also be true, but this is also not the point. I am all for "letting the
market decide" when all of the products coming to market start on a level
playing field: that is, those labels that took the time, trouble, and expense to
manufacture a product to the artist's exacting specification are not undercut by
a flood of illegal pirate issues or postumously "authorized" but similarly
haphazzard posthumous "historical" editions. Or let me put it to you
this way: all pirated recordings or posthumous editions should be required to
have a label stating the following:
"This content of disc was stolen, and produced without the artist's permission
or consent, and therefore may not in any way represent work which he deemed
worthy of preservation and presentation to the public."
If they do that, then we have a level playing field, do we not, because people
then know what they are buying.
You see, many members of this group operate from the incorrect assumption that
the rest of the world knows what you do--that these are pirates and that you buy
them at your own risk because you have an interest in this particular conductor
no matter what the thing actually sounds like or how bad it turns out to be. But
as I have said so many times, your views are atypical, and your monetary
contribution to the survival of classical music on disc irrelevant in the grand
scheme of things.
Most people are not so interested in Kleiber that they will buy anything, no
matter how crappy, as long as his name is attached to it. Normal people want
single copies of specific works, not multiple copies of the same thing by the
same guy (or dozens of different artists) and they feel comfortable choosing
Kleiber because of the quality image that attaches to his name. These people
constitute the vast majority of classical music purchasers. They have a right to
know that they are buying a product sanctioned by the artist in question when
this forms part of the reason for making the purchase in the first place.
So what may be delightful for a few of you is a terrible disservice to the
public at large, the public that truly sustains the classical music recording
industry. If the industry were ever stupid enough to cater to the demands made
of it in this NG, it would be as bankrupt as those demands are, for the most
part, ridiculous. I say this not to insult: these are facts. Others here have
deplored such sentiments as the sinister musings of industry "insiders." Well,
folks, there are some things we insiders know, and you may disgregard our
efforts to explain the real world to you and share that knowledge all you like,
but that doesn't change the facts.
Or let me put it to you this way: that Tom Deacon and I are in agreement on this
issue ought to give at least some of you pause.