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"...appear more habit than inspiration." And there you have it.

And that's what makes listening to an unfamiliar but fine performance so
wonderful, getting a glimpse of a new phrasing that you know is either
absolutely right, or at least very very good.

clark
​

On Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 7:42 AM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Please don’t assume you know the whole of Schuller's point of view from
> the excerpt I quoted. He is a composer, yes, but also a musicologist,
> teacher, and once an accomplished rank-and-file orchestral musician. He is
> as qualified as anyone to explore the subject, which he does in astonishing
> detail. To get the subtlety of his arguments, read the book. Actually, I
> read it up to the point where my limited technical understanding gave out,
> not too far beyond part one, where he lays out the thesis. But, as he gets
> into discussion of the scores, even a spectator can get a rich appreciation
> for the complexity of the interpretive task and the performance traditions
> that, upon scrutiny, appear more habit than inspiration.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Clark Johnsen
> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 4:33 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>
> ​This shouldn't be a fight, as it seems (to me anyway) that the printed
> score cannot be, nor has it ever been intended to be, the end point. There
> are so many ways to speak even a single English sentence such as this one.
> Think: An American accent, an Oxford accent, a Cockney one, a Scots one
> and so on. How can a composer put that stuff into any score?
>
> Mahler tried, Mahler tried!
>
> clark
>
> On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 4:20 PM, L. Hunter Kevil <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > Not to start  a fight, I never got very far into Schuller's rather
> > dogmatic book years ago, given my doubts about the 'precision' of a
> > score, no matter how detailed. He seems to have taken as gospel
> > Toscanini's quip about not needing a performance tradition for Beethoven
> since he had the score.
> >
> > I am now reading the book, Off the Record, by Neal Peres da Costa
> > (recommended.) He is very convincing that the piano scores of 19th
> > century composers do not give the full story on how to play their pieces.
> > Unannotated expressive devices such as playing one hand before the
> > other, arpeggiation, rubato, dotting, speeding u[p& slowing down, were
> > all assumed by many composers and their performers. Testimony from a
> > recording of Brahms playing his music and from his students shows that
> > Brahms played in a manner that would disqualify him from entering
> > Julliard today. Listen to the rather fascinating Arbiter CD, Behind
> > the Notes: Brahms performed by colleagues and pupils. There is also
> evidence of Brahms's 'Wagnerian'
> > tendencies as a conductor.
> >
> > Hunter Kevil
> >
> > On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 11:05 AM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> > > Here's some more from Gunther Schuller and his advocacy for the score:
> > >
> > > "The difficulty in this discussion lies in the fact that no human
> > > being, no artist, no conductor can ever be totally objective in
> > > artistic/interpretive matters, or - to put it another way - can ever
> > avoid
> > > being subjective to some extent. Clearly, the argument generally
> > > mounted
> > by
> > > the opponents of textual fidelity - to wit, that someone is too
> > 'objective'
> > > in his performance, too cold, too intellectual, too inexpressive,
> > > too reliant on the score - is itself false and specious, because
> > > even that alleged 'objectivity' is bound to incorporate a great or
> > > lesser degree of subjectivity....
> > >
> > > "We are, after all, what we are; and conductors are what they are.
> > > No conductor is purposely bad or purposely good. Every conductor is
> > > trying
> > to
> > > evolve out of his talents the highest and most personal expression.
> > > Unfortunately, this often fails because (a) there is among
> > > conductor's views of themselves a sizable gap between perception and
> > > reality, that
> > is ,
> > > between their perception of themselves and the reality as seen by
> > > others; and (b) conductors now increasingly try 'to be different' in
> > > order to
> > carve
> > > out for themselves some special career niche....
> > >
> > > "This alarming trend can best be seen and heard in recordings...in
> > > that conductors, battling it out in the fiercely competitive
> > > recording market, have now learned that they will stand out, will be
> > > reviewed and discussed more readily, and will thus attract more
> > > attention the more they can interpret a work differently from the
> > > several dozen recordings of it that are already in the market place.
> > > This has become more than a trend in recent years; it has become an
> > > obsession and a specific skill, eagerly supported by managers and,
> > > of course, most record companies. At that
> > point
> > > the composer's score becomes, alas, a total irrelevance, an annoying
> > > burden. In this perverse view of things, the music becomes fair game
> > > to
> > be
> > > exploited for whatever career gains it can provide. Beyond the
> > > immediate negative effects of specific personal mis-, under-, or
> > over-interpretations
> > > by these conductors, there is an unfortunate cumulative effect as well:
> > the
> > > varied distinctive qualities and characteristics of the great
> > > symphonic masterpieces are submerged in one generalized,
> > > (ironically)
> > depersonalized,
> > > generic, amorphous, androgynous performance style. Instead of the
> > > personality of the composer - and the true personal and special
> > > essence
> > of
> > > the work in question - we get the personality of the conductor."
> > >
> > > That was published in 1997. The record companies are not so
> > > influential now. These days it looks like the same marketing is
> > > deployed more broadly to 'save classical music.'
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> > > [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
> > > Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:41 AM
> > > To: [log in to unmask]
> > > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
> > >
> > > I'll say this about Boulez -- I love that he's so polarizing! Good
> > > for him! A big part of my disinterest in most orchestras and
> > > conductors today is that they either try to be everything to
> > > everyone, or they pander to
> > try
> > > and "get the kids interested," or they are stuck in the mud of
> > > over-caution. None of that is interesting. Boulez is different and
> > > controversial. I like some of his recordings, do not like others. I
> > > even like that he's played the Legend card in France to amass a big
> > > pile of state funding for classical music (who has the power to do
> that here?).
> > The
> > > very things that David Lewis mentioned -- the "ice cold"
> > > interpretations, the super-precision to certain scores, are liable
> > > to totally turn off American fans who, for instance, loved the
> Bernstein approach to music.
> > > There's nothing wrong with that! Alternative and even opposite
> > > approaches to music are great, and so is debate about it. What's not
> > > great is un-original thinking, over-caution and working so hard to be
> "inclusive"
> > > that one never plants their foot on decisive lines. Be bold or be
> bored!
> > >
> > > -- Tom Fine
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
> > > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > > Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:21 AM
> > > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
> > >
> > >
> > > > BTW, the DAC2 is a substantial improvement on the DAC1, various
> > versions
> > > of which I've owned since
> > > > it came out over ten years ago. Even the analog path is better.
> > > > Still,
> > I
> > > hear a difference with it
> > > > between Toslink and coax from the same Redbook source. Always
> > > > have. I
> > > know, I know.... The async
> > > > USB is also audibly better than with the standard driver, whatever
> > > > the
> > > data rate. It was such an
> > > > impressive upgrade that I splurged on their new amp. It replaces a
> > > Bryston, which is no toy. The
> > > > combo is highly revealing, yet not annoyingly so, as there often
> > > > is a
> > > tradeoff between
> > > > transparency and musicality. I find it correct for whichever hat
> > > > I'm
> > > wearing, mixer or
> > > > music-lover.
> > > >
> > > > Another aside, regarding Boulez. I don't dismiss the work of such
> > > > a
> > > sophisticated and accomplished
> > > > musician, who has gained the respect of some of the most demanding
> > > orchestras out there. It can be
> > > > instructive to hear his way with music. His old Debussy series was
> > > praised for its objectivity and
> > > > scrupulous attention to detail, and is still valuable for it.
> > > > Similarly
> > > his Mahler, yet it needn't
> > > > displace Barbirolli, et al. Just as with audio arts, there is no
> > > > one
> > > correct way, and we don't
> > > > always see the value in something until time gives us perspective.
> > > >
> > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> > > [log in to unmask]] On Behalf
> > > > Of Tom Fine
> > > > Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 8:49 AM
> > > > To: [log in to unmask]
> > > > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
> > > >
> > > > Hi John:
> > > >
> > > > I think what you're hearing with 96k is the 24-bit word length. I
> > > > am
> > not
> > > convinced that the
> > > > super-high sampling rates capture anything audible above what 44.1
> > > > or
> > > 48k capture, but I do think
> > > > that the Nyquist filtering and other factors make the audible top
> > > > end
> > > sound better. However, many
> > > > DACs up-sample 44.1k before filtering and converting anyway. For
> > > instance, the Benchmark design,
> > > > of which there are many variants, up-samples everything to three
> > hundred
> > > and something kiloHertz,
> > > > re-clocking so as to strip out jitter, then converts to analog.
> > > >
> > > > Here's a "white paper" about Benchmark's DAC1 approach:
> > > >
> > >
> > http://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/white-papers/13127453-asynchronous-ups
> > ampling-to-110-khz
> > > >
> > > > For the DAC2 series, the describe the "improved" system this way:
> > > > -------------------------------------------
> > > > UltraLock2™ Jitter Attenuation System
> > > >
> > > > UltraLock2™ is an improved version of the UltraLock™ system used
> > > > in the
> > > DAC1 and ADC1 product
> > > > families. DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is 3.5 dB,
> > > > sample
> > rate
> > > is 211 kHz, and
> > > > jitter-induced distortion and noise is at least 140 dB below the
> > > > level
> > > of the music - well below
> > > > the threshold of hearing. Benchmark's UltraLock2™ system
> > > > eliminates all
> > > audible jitter artifacts.
> > > > ---------------------------------------------
> > > >
> > > > Up-sampling and over-sampling DAC designs have been around for a
> > > > long
> > > time, but I do think modern
> > > > designs are more sophisticated in how they strip out jitter from
> > > > the
> > > source. The consumer high-end
> > > > designers first got the jitter-rejection religion, especially when
> > > > they
> > > started recognizing
> > > > consumer demand for USB interfaces (USB is notorious for jitter
> > > > due to
> > > inconsistent clocking built
> > > > into typical computer CPUs). Companies like Benchmark and Mytek
> > > > and
> > > Lynx, which have feet in both
> > > > consumer and pro audio, have put out well-reviewed and
> > > > good-sounding,
> > to
> > > my ears, jitter-rejecting
> > > > products in recent times. The other focus where I think some
> > > > strides
> > > have been made recently is
> > > > the analog stage after conversion, there are some super-quiet and
> > > near-transparent designs out
> > > > there now. A modern digital system should operate so quietly that
> > > > it
> > > essentially has no audible
> > > > noise floor in even a quiet real-world room.
> > > >
> > > > A simple test would be to convert some well-known analog material
> > > > at
> > > 96/16 and 48/16 and see if
> > > > you hear a difference. Then 96/24 and 48/24, and then compare the
> > > 24-bits to the 16-bits. I think
> > > > that's where you'll hear the differences.
> > > >
> > > > To my ears, 24-bit makes a difference, especially with "air and
> space"
> > > in something like an
> > > > orchestral recording. Just transferring in 24-bit makes a
> > > > difference,
> > if
> > > you've got a good
> > > > dither-down conversion system to get to a CD master.
> > > >
> > > > -- Tom Fine
> > > >
> > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
> > > > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > > > Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 2:44 AM
> > > > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >> CORRECTION.  When I said "catching a whole octave above 48 kHz in
> > > >> frequency," I meant "catching a whole octave in frequency above
> > > >> what
> > is
> > > >> captured by a 48 kHz sampling rate."  Sorry about that.
> > > >>
> > > >> Best,
> > > >> John
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >> On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 2:38 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> > > >>
> > > >>> Thanks for posting the NY Times Boulez article, Tom, which could
> > > >>> have
> > > been
> > > >>> entitled "A bunch of famous musicians sitting around kissing up
> > > >>> to
> > > Pierre
> > > >>> Boulez."  They remark how "influential" (i.e, famous) he is.
> > > >>> That he
> > > is.
> > > >>> Does that make him a great conductor? Nope.  I loved the Gunther
> > > Schiller
> > > >>> quote.  Obviously, Boulez has occasionally succeeded with a
> > > >>> piece of music.  Like they say, even a stopped clock is right
> twice a day.
> > And
> > > many
> > > >>> great orchestras could occasionally deliver a great performance
> > > >>> even
> > > while
> > > >>> ignoring a monkey on the podium.
> > > >>>
> > > >>> If DGG digital recordings had max resolution of 48 kHz, as you
> > > >>> know
> > > that
> > > >>> is not an appreciable difference from 44.1 kHz.  The difference
> > > >>> in frequencies (pitches) those sampling rates will capture is
> > > >>> the
> > > difference
> > > >>> between 22,500 and 24,000 Hz.  Way up there, that is a
> > > >>> difference of
> > > only a
> > > >>> note or two (think extended piano keyboard).  I have never been
> > > >>> able
> > to
> > > >>> hear the slightest difference between a recording at 44.1 kHz
> > > >>> and one
> > > at 48
> > > >>> kHz.  Recording at 96 kHz is a whole 'nother thing, catching a
> > > >>> whole
> > > octave
> > > >>> above 48 kHz in frequency, but also seemingly able to capture
> > > >>> more
> > > detail
> > > >>> based on double the number of samples.  Or maybe I should say
> > > >>> capture
> > > the
> > > >>> detail with greater accuracy.
> > > >>>
> > > >>> Since we routinely make hi-def dubs (at least 96/24) from analog
> > master
> > > >>> tapes these days that can sound really great, I have to wonder
> > > >>> if,
> > all
> > > else
> > > >>> being equal, those results will outshine an original digital
> > recording
> > > made
> > > >>> at only 48 kHz.
> > > >>>
> > > >>> I am another one who has never felt that your average DGG
> > > >>> orchestral recording captured a lot of the sheer excitement of
> > > >>> the sound of a
> > > great
> > > >>> symphony orchestra.
> > > >>>
> > > >>> Best,
> > > >>> John
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>> On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 8:21 PM, Tom Fine <
> > [log in to unmask]>
> > > >>> wrote:
> > > >>>
> > > >>>> Hi Mark:
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>> So from what you're saying, I gather that the maximum
> > > >>>> resolution of
> > > that
> > > >>>> Boulez/CSO master would be 48/24?
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>> -- Tom Fine
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark Donahue" <
> > > [log in to unmask]
> > > >>>> >
> > > >>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > > >>>> Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2015 6:13 PM
> > > >>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>>  On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 10:31 AM, Tom Fine <
> > > [log in to unmask]>
> > > >>>>> wrote:
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>>>  I can't recall if it was Yamaha or Studer digital consoles,
> > > >>>>> but I
> > > think
> > > >>>>>> you are correct in your descriptions of "4D". being a true
> > > >>>>>> DDD
> > > system in
> > > >>>>>> that the last time anything was analog was when the mic
> > > >>>>>> plugged
> > > into the
> > > >>>>>> console and the mic preamp went to a ADC.
> > > >>>>>>
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>>> Tom,
> > > >>>>> The DG 4D system was comprised of a stagebox containing custom
> > > remote mic
> > > >>>>> preamps and Yamaha converters that connected digitally at 24
> > > >>>>> bits/44.1/48k to an RTW bit splitter that allowed them to
> > > >>>>> record 24 bit 16 track
> > > on a
> > > >>>>> Sony3324. The signal was also distributed to the input of a
> > > >>>>> pair of Yamaha
> > > >>>>> DMC-1000 digital consoles.  The normal orchestral kit that I
> > > >>>>> would
> > > see
> > > >>>>> here
> > > >>>>> in the states was a pair or three stage boxes with a pair of
> > > machines for
> > > >>>>> 32 track recording. It was basically modular and could be
> > > >>>>> scaled
> > for
> > > the
> > > >>>>> job.
> > > >>>>> All the best,
> > > >>>>> -mark
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
>