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Interpretation of organ works - Jean Guillou's take on it

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  • Interpretation of organ works - Jean Guillou's take on it



    Jean Guillou, the famous French organist wrote in his book, <font color="darkred" face="arial" size="2"> 'L'Orgue: Souvenir et Avenir' (Paris 1978):</font></p><font color="darkred" face="arial" size="2">The interpretation of any work should not be based on any extant tradition, whether true or
    false. The individual personality may well effect such a transformation in the message that
    there can be no question of having faith in a transmission, even from master to pupil.</font>



    <font color="darkred" face="arial" size="2">Such is the destiny of a work: to become something else without its essence being altered.
    Without one knowing or suspecting it, it may have changed. It will live by its future
    interpretations, which will bring to the work successive significances sometimes quite opposed
    to each other...</font></p>



    <font color="darkred" face="arial" size="2">An interpretation will always be a putting to death of all those which have preceded it.</font></p>

    Do you agree with his statements?</p>

    Does this mean we can ignore historical context?</p>

    Does this mean we can interprete the music in anyway we see fit?</p>

    </p>

    I would be interested in your views.</p>

  • #2
    Re: Interpretation of organ works - Jean Guillou's take on it



    Lots of interesting topics lately.</p>

    </p>

    I agree with all his statements except the last one, unless he applies it only to the individual who is playing that interpretation. If I played something different from Virgil Fox, no one would say it 'killed' his performance!
    </p>

    However, I do not think that that means you can ignore historical context when studying pieces. I'm not saying you can't ignore some of it of course (meantone organs, anyone?), but at least have a good reason for it rather than just turning your nose up at it!</p>

    </p>

    And, we're musicians. We ALWAYS interpret music in any way we see fit.</p>

    </p>

    It's just a matter of the internal guidelines you have that determine what the heck is 'fit'. [8-|]
    </p>

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Interpretation of organ works - Jean Guillou's take on it



      Art is all about context. Otherwise everything becomes subservient to the performer, who becomes a universe of one.</P>


      Hmm... do you know any performers like that? [^o)]</P>


      A musician who eschews historical context does so at his/her own peril;the resultmay be unconvincing,inauthentic, irrelevant.</P>


      I'm open minded enough to listen to such a performer, but I think they would have tobe an absolute genius in order to convince me.</P>


      I would just as soon hear an improvisation rather than a bizarre "re-packaging" of a familiar work.</P>

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Interpretation of organ works - Jean Guillou's take on it



        I disagree with almost all of that, but I'm unsurprised that Mr. Guillou holds these views. I have a few of his CDs, and I find them uniformly repellent. His "interpretations" are not for me, no matter how exciting and flashy they may be. </p>

        The sonics of the CDs are excellent though. It's a shame to have such good sound engineering and recording wasted.
        </p>

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