following one star with about 30 sextillion

so, you think joshua bell was the main attraction this month?  think again.  this weekend, the oregon symphony teams up with the portland symphonic choir for nothing less than the mind-blowing creation of the entire friggin’ universe.  the good lord spent six solid days making the world, so it seems the least this rodent could do is spend the next six days posting on one of the most amazing pieces of classical music it has ever chanced upon: “the creation” by joseph haydn.  composed in the 1790’s, the work holds the distinction of being the first music to be published in two languages (german and english).  the upcoming p-town performances will be sung in german, and i asked the choir’s director *steven zopfi to shed some licht on this choice:

The decision to perform Haydn’s Creation in German was Carlos’ call as he is the conductor for the concert.  When I look at what language to perform a piece in, I not only look at the audience who will be listening but how the language fits the music.  Different languages have different stress and accent patterns, and sometimes when pieces get translated, the accents and stresses don’t match up with the music.  Or high notes sit on easy to sing vowels in one language where they might be problematic in another.  I also look at how good a translation is; often the craft of one language is better than another – internal rhymes, flow, periodicity, and so on.  Another is meaning.  Sometimes, when someone translates a piece into a singable prose, the meaning goes out the window… you lose the entire feel of the piece if you decide to perform it.  Finally, I look at the piece in terms of articulation. Different languages have a different feel and affect the delivery of a musical line – German has these terrific consonants that really give some rhythmic bite where Italian and French are much more liquidy and legato.  It’s a different listening experience as well… just as sometimes we want a good hamburger rather than a good steak, sometimes it is just fun to perform or hear a piece in one language or another.

fun?  did the good doctor just use the word “fun” in a discussion about performing classical music?!  ah, just when the beavs thinks it couldn’t love this guy any more ~ thank you, thank you, thank you steven for all the great info and for properly prepping the band’s premium pips!

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1 Response to “following one star with about 30 sextillion”


  1. 1 Portia January 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks for the answer to a crossword clue!


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