Steven Smolian <[log in to unmask]> wrote: ***When a performer has a bad day in the concert hall and he recorded without being aware that it is a "recording session." A radio broadcast was made with the expectation that it would vanish at the end of the broadcast. The idea of recording from the audience, out of balance, etc., was clearly so illegal that many never considered it at all. Until the miniatrre tape recorder, that is.
***This obsession with making public every performance instance can be one reason for the "tightening up" of performances that might otherwise be more relaxed, intended for the hearing of the paying audience only. Are we becoming an intrusive "recorderrazzi"?
***This is clearly an ethical issue. Having said this, I confess to enjoying musical performance gossip as much as the next guy.
Ah, and thank heaven for the recorderrazzi. I remember sharing my "in house" New York Phil tapes with the orchestra...concerts they had never recorded on their own...things like Roy Harris conducting his own Eleventh Symphony. And how else could John Ardoin have written so well about the career of Callas had it not been for his wonderful collection of broadcast and in house recordings .
For me it is tragic that Rachmaninoff refused to allow his performances to be broadcast. What a tragic loss for history, for if he had, and if those broadcasts had survived, we could have heard him performing a Beethoven Concerto, or conducting many of his own works. And considering what was broadcast in the early years and has not survived..I find it difficult to imagine any serious classical musician not wanting to be able to hear things like the Boston Symphony broadcast when Ravel conducted, or when Prokofieff performed his 5th Concerto with Koussevitzky conducting.
As for such practices causing performers to tighten up...I tend to think that it is the commercial recording, and attempts to measure up to that artificial standard, that causes a musician to be less likely to take chances during a performance. I believe it is the "note perfect" recordings that leave us with a recorded legacy that does not reflect the real world of performance. I am reminded of an article Leinsdorf wrote where he expressed his desire to make his live performances available as he felt they had more life to them, warts and all.
True, Leinsdorf cannot speak for all musicians, nor will I attempt to speak to the ultimate answer of the ethical questions involved, but if you are looking for a conviction for someone making an in house recording, you probably wouldn't want me on the jury. On the other hand, if that defendant made a fortune selling that recording, that would be something different...for me...