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The Weekend Vote

V.com weekend vote: Which 'A' do you prefer for Baroque music?

December 12, 2014 13:04

AHow do you like your "A"? Particularly, how do you like your "A" when it comes to Baroque music? Generally, we tune our modern violins to an "A" that is 440 hertz, but the pitch did not used to be so standardized. Those who adhere to "period performances" practices generally tune their violins to a lower pitch that is thought to be more in line with the pitch actually used in the Baroque era: an "A" that is 415 hertz -- much lower. In fact, if you want to just here the pitches, here is a 440 A and here is a 415 A.

More interesting to me, though, is how different these tuning systems sound, when one plays Baroque music. I've put together two examples of the same piece, one played in a standard "modern" way, using A=440, and another played in the "period performance" way, using A=415. Which do you like better? Please participate in the vote, and then share your comments and thoughts about tuning.

Our two examples are the first movement from the Bach Double (Concerto in D minor for Two Violins and Orchestra)

A=440 (modern): Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern play the Bach Double, I

A=415 (period performance) Rachel Podger and Bojan Cicic play the Bach Double, I

23 replies

V.com weekend vote: The last time I had to cough at a classical concert, I...

December 5, 2014 13:16

Chances are, if you've ever been to a live classical concert, you've experienced that excruciating moment when you are overcome with the need cough during the the most hushed, still moment in the music. What did you do?

kyung-wha chung

You may have heard what happened in London, at Kyung-Wha Chung's big come-back recital at Royal Festival Hall. After the first movement of Mozart’s G Major Sonata K379, apparently a good number of people had to cough.

"Exasperated by an avalanche of adult coughing between movements, Chung calmly upbraided some parents for bringing along a young child who dared to cough too," wrote Erica Jeal of The Guardian.

"'Maybe bring her back when she’s older.'" Time critic Anna Picard quoted Chung saying to the parents. Picard added, "With one shrivelling put-down, a tetchy atmosphere turned toxic."

This must have really touched a nerve, as it made headlines all over the place: the BBC, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, and Norman Lebrecht.

Well I wasn't there, but it sounds like an extremely tense situation: the soloist, 66, stressed by such a high-pressure concert, and a hall full of Londoners with colds, holding their breath and popping cough drops in their not-always-successful efforts to stifle their coughs.

What happened the last time you had to cough in the concert hall? And what are your thoughts on the situation that led to Chung's frustration?

25 replies

Previous entries: November 2014


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