pianissimo wrote:Another aspect comes from learning about music, its structures and attributes, which will allow us to hear and appreciate what we would not do otherwise. This is where the importance of music education and music teachers comes in. My appreciation and acceptance of other genres came when I was led to hear things I would not have listened for before opening brand new vistas.
Your comment here is right on point. In fact, there is a good cautionary tale that proves that even professional musicians can make the wrong judgments about the meaning and performance of good music, which education can fix.
When the Shostakovich 5th Symphony, a monumental work, first appeared in 1937, it was subtitled "A Soviet Artist's Reply to Just Criticism." The work was played for many years all over the world as a stirring and fast-moving "tribute" to the Soviet system and people, in Russia, as well as elsewhere. Then, shortly before his death in 1975, Shostakovich indicated in an interview that his intent with the symphony had been to portray the sufferings and survival of the Russian people under Stalin prior to WWII. The 5th Symphony was anything but a tribute to the Soviet system.
With that knowledge, the whole interpretation of the work all over the world suddenly changed from a fast-moving, bright sounding one to a much more deliberate, heavy sounding one, more indicative of Shostakovich's true intent. Of course, Shostakovich was responsible for that misinterpretation, fearing for his own life under the Stalin purges of the 1930's, but orchestras all over the world were playing it "wrong." A modern performance, taking into account the Shostakovich interview, sounds completely different than one prior to 1975. Offhand, I can only remember one performance prior to the interview that reflected Shostakovich's true intent - one conducted by the late Mstislav Rostropovich in the West. One wonders if Rostropovich, a friend of Shostakovich's, had been "clued in" on the correct interpretation.
The Symphony No. 5 was good music before and is good music now, but its perception and performance was changed completely when Shostakovich straightened out the record, even though the score was the same throughout. This seems consistent what I said earlier about the fact that good music encourages different interpretations with very different emotional impact attached to different interpretations.
Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1189173500