​Just a couple random thoughts.

Scherchen's Mahler Fifth with the ORTF​ is to my mind the most exciting
performance on disc, played like how I remember Bernstein doing it in
concert although not in his subsequent recording. Regrettably the ORTF
Scherzo is cut by several minutes -- some say five, others say more. The
story given is that it had to fit within a one-hour broadcast time frame.
Can anyone expand on that?

Next, that repeat in the first movement of Schubert's Ninth -- First time I
heard this I was so taken aback that I lifted the needle and played it
again. In an already lengthy work, few conductors observe this, although I
don't keep up with such things like I used to. Comment?


When I click the reply, Karl, it gives me your personal email instead of
the list.

Interesting thoughts about the availability of the score affecting
performing decisions.  There are probably lots of reasons that go into the
decisions whether or not to make cuts or do repeats, but that surely has to
be one of them.

In the old days, in the 19th Century, they would actually play short pieces
between movements of longer works, and concerts could last for hours.  I
have always assumed that exposition repeats were usually played in those
days.  And movements written in rondo form are frequently full of short
repeats, sometimes taken and sometimes not, and sometimes inconsistently in
one performance of the same piece.

I think our attention spans are definitely shorter, yet for some music, the
trend is unquestionably not to cut or shorten.  Can you imagine what people
would do to you if you prepared a "performing version" of the Mahler
symphonies with big cuts in them?  You wouldn't be able to buy life
insurance.  I personally would cut the Second Symphony if I could get away
with it.  When you perform it in the chorus, you get really tired of
getting up and down to scream the same music over and over.  It's great
music, but just too much of a good thing.  Hopefully the impression is
better out in the audience.   I like it on records, but I can't say that I
play it that often.  Just me.  I realize that to some people this music is
really sacred, and I can respect that.

Re the alternate ending of the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, is the
alternate the one devised by Szell?  Or is that just his own thing?  I have
never examined the score.

Repeating the exposition of a symphony movement that is in sonata-allegro
form raises interesting interpretive questions.  Should it be performed
similarly, or "re-interpreted"?  Slower, faster?  Softer, louder?  I have
heard many theories over the years.  Then there is Debussy's music, which
very often places phrases in exact, or nearly exact, successive pairs.
Back when I played Debussy's piano music, I found that disconcerting (no
pun intended), but we would never dream of applying cuts there.

John Haley

On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 4:13 PM, Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]>

> The new edition of the Copland Third is available for purchase from
> Boosey. After all of this talk about the work I will pick up my friend's
> copy of the score tomorrow. He tells me that, in the new edition, the cut
> ending follows the original. I have the Boosey edition of the Rachmaninoff
> 2nd. There is no notation as to the cuts. The Conductor's Guild has
> resources like an errata list and articles like:
>  The Question of Cuts in Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony
> |   |
> |   |  |   |   |   |   |   |
> | The Question of Cuts in Rachmaninoff’s Second SymphonyClinton Nieweg and
> Ron Whitaker put their heads together to come up with a comprehensive (and
> historical) guide to cuts in Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony. |
> |  |
> | View on | Preview by Yahoo |
> |  |
> |   |
> In the case of the Bartók Concerto for Orchestra, the original ending
> comes first, followed by what they call the "alternative ending."
> As to the reason behind repeats... Composers have chosen to do so for a
> variety of reasons. One finds them most often for the exposition section
> sonata form movements. In the days when people were informed listeners,
> exposition would be repeated to familiarize the audience with the main
> themes so they could follow their transformation in the development
> section. Repeats can also be found in many other places in an effort to
> balance out the form.
> When you say ask if the repeat in the Rachmaninoff 2nd is needed for a
> work so first thought is to write that these days I wonder
> what music is familiar to the majority of concert audiences. I have
> witnessed abominable performances of the standard literature getting
> standing ovations. With the repeat in the Rachmaninoff, it begins at
> measure 68 (Allegro moderator) and runs until measure 197. So, I would
> offer the notion that its function is not just to instill familiarity, but
> to also balance out the form.
> Popular music makes great use of repetition and, often times, repeats, all
> of this within the usual limit of around 5 minutes. Of course, there are
> other reasons for all of this repetition...Most popular music can be
> distilled down to a few measures of music.
> As for the overall length of the work...I think it is worth mentioning
> that in the past, classical music concerts could be much longer than they
> are today. These days, 90 minutes of music is often considered the limit.
> It is interesting to speculate the reasons for this. It could have to do
> with the attention spans of audiences, our life styles, the cost of
> rehearsal time/musicians, etc. Yet, we now see even the longer Mahler
> Symphonies being done with greater regularity. Some places will provide
> bathroom breaks (and the opportunity to sell wine, etc.) for the longer
> Mahler works. Many composers have written short works to serve as openers
> for the Beethoven 9th.
> Karl
>     On Wednesday, February 24, 2016 12:05 PM, Carl Pultz <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>  Thanks for that confirmation, Karl. My only recent version is Pletnev's
> with the Russian National Orch, and it may use the standard cuts, as it
> runs 16:32 1st mvmnt/50 min tt - assuming that there are by now 'standard'
> cuts. The coupling is The Rock, which at 13 min. could have fit with a
> longer version of the symphony.
> I assume Copland 3 is rental, but that Rach 2 is in orchestra's libraries.
> Do those editions include the full score, with cuts notated? If not, there
> may be extra expense in acquiring other scores and parts to play the full
> version. That's a factor that could perpetuate the use of cut or edited
> versions of various works. Or, in the case of Rachmaninoff, the conductor
> could simply prefer the edited version. It's not just recordings that
> a practical time limit. Depending on the program, the difference between
> 50+ minutes and 63 minutes (and how many more if the repeat is taken?) is
> significant for the layout of a concert. Do you drop the overture or plan
> short concerto?
> And, how necessary is a repeat in such a familiar work; what is its
> function? I imagine those are questions for which there are differing
> worthy answers.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karl Miller
> Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 10:00 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Rachmaninoff 2nd
> A conductor friend of mine (who has done the work without cuts) who is
> Previn fan, mentioned that the first Previn recording features cuts. The
> two subsequent recordings are "complete" but do not feature the repeat in
> the first movement.
> Karl
>     On Wednesday, February 24, 2016 7:45 AM, Carl Pultz <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>  I don't have Previn's second LSO version. The first movement of
> Ashkenazy/Concertgebouw is 17:58 - total time 56 min. The notes don't
> mention the subject of cuts at all. Previn's first recording with LSO
> is tt 50 min. His Telarc version 1st mvmnt 20:23 - tt 63 min. Don't have
> the CD, so can't consult the notes.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Eric Nagamine
> Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 12:45 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Rachmaninoff 2nd
> My copy seems to have disappeared, but according to the internet, EMI
> Previn times out in the first movement at 19:10. The Wikipaedia
> Rachmaninoff 2nd webpage only indicates that it is complete. Some how I
> seem to remember that it was missing the repeat. The Wikipedia page seems
> to indicate that the first complete recordings with the first movement
> repeat occur later. (Ashkenazy/Concertgebouw)
> --------------------------
> Eric Nagamine
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karl Miller
> Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 10:16 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Rachmaninoff 2nd
> Hope the subject change for the this is appropriate. I don't have the
> Previn recording. Does he observe the repeat in the first movement?
> do have it with the repeat. I have the Rozhdestvensky which clocks out at
> 66:13.
> Karl (probably splitting hairs)