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Thread: Andrew Parrott interviewed about L'Orfeo 2013 recording

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    Senior Member Revenant's Avatar
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    Default Andrew Parrott interviewed about L'Orfeo 2013 recording

    A very interesting and illuminating interview in the 16 May 2013 issue of Grammophone.

    http://www.gramophone.co.uk/features...rott-interview

    Andrew Parrott, both a scholar and a conductor, discusses at length and in detail his reconstructive aesthetic in producing and conducting his version of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo with the Taverner Consort that was released on cd earlier this year.

    The entire interview is pure gold (although not everyone will agree with all of it, I suppose), but I found this final comment particularly eloquent:

    "So many reviews of modern performances of Baroque opera legitimately describe the thrilling or exciting accompaniments of the continuo team, but for me the best review of a continuo team is that you don’t notice them: they are playing stylishly, beautifully, very sensitively, but the listener is concentrating on the voice. Although various instruments are at our disposal, I think using them sparingly creates a greater effect and draws the listener in. I don’t see it as my job to spray-gun the audience with ideas, but actually to draw them into what the singer, or actor, is doing. It’s a fundamental aspect, but the modern world of opera doesn’t often do that, and tends to do the opposite."
    "No preluding! Piano pianissimo -- then all will be well." (Posted in the orchestra pit on August 13, 1876)

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Well, I think there is room for both approaches. I take his point, but then I think of the playfulness of the continuo in the Jacobs Mozart recordings which, for me, add to the sparkling nature of the operas.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member Revenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    Well, I think there is room for both approaches. I take his point, but then I think of the playfulness of the continuo in the Jacobs Mozart recordings which, for me, add to the sparkling nature of the operas.
    Parrott was referring to the early Baroque operas I think, particularly L'Orfeo which is the recent recording discussed in the interview. I see your point, however. I have the Savall, Jacobs, Haim, Hannoncourt and even earlier versions of L'Orfeo and I like most of them, including the ones that have made some interesting choices in continuo ornamentation and, in Jacobs case, improvisation. That said, I found Parrott's efforts to reconstruct what he (credibly) interprets as Monteverdi's intentions to be very compelling. (And some of them are clearly set out in the 1609 score, surprisingly.) Some key parts, including Possente spirto, appear to me more natural and compelling in this fashion. I don't see it as an either/or proposition, but just a cue to become acquainted with all these top of the line versions, revel in their diversity of approach, and know the reason why.
    "No preluding! Piano pianissimo -- then all will be well." (Posted in the orchestra pit on August 13, 1876)

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