PDA

View Full Version : Symphony 9 in English!


euphony131
01-17-2001, 03:53 AM
Ok, at the risk of sounding like a heretic, I wanted to put this out there -- Would it really be so blaphemous and terrible to put on a Nineth concert with the Ode to Joy in ENGLISH? I'm sure it's feasible given the familiarity of this work with so many musicians. Has no one attempted it?

Or what about this even -- have a backdrop screen show each word of the Nineth as its sung (whether in German with Translation or straight English). You can think of it as a kind of Grand "Karaoke" screen with the words being easy to follow by the audience.

All this certainly goes against convention (just one more "lunatic" idea for the "Beethoven World Tour"), but the fact is most people do not even know a single phrase from B's arrangement of Schiller's "Ode to Joy." Would it really be so bad to try something that would bring his music closer to lay-people -- pique their interest and understanding? After all, how many concert-goers really bother to bother with a densely-written program? Not to mention the fact that many programs these days are terribly written -- at least that's the case here in San Diego. I think we all know how distracting it is to have to figure out a program while listening to music at the same time. The kind of back-drop screen I'm talking about would remove the problem entirely. (Not to mention that it would show CLOSE-UPS of conductor/players and display CGI effects and so on...)

Speaking for myself, the difference between knowing what the words meant and not knowing them was huge. As an adult I now revel in how Beethoven pulled off his musical arrangement, simply sublime! -- when I was younger I still loved it but had NO idea what exactly was being said or repeated or emphasized.

Rod
01-17-2001, 07:22 AM
Originally posted by euphony131:
Ok, at the risk of sounding like a heretic, I wanted to put this out there -- Would it really be so blaphemous and terrible to put on a Nineth concert with the Ode to Joy in ENGLISH? I'm sure it's feasible given the familiarity of this work with so many musicians. Has no one attempted it?

Or what about this even -- have a backdrop screen show each word of the Nineth as its sung (whether in German with Translation or straight English). You can think of it as a kind of Grand "Karaoke" screen with the words being easy to follow by the audience.

All this certainly goes against convention (just one more "lunatic" idea for the "Beethoven World Tour"), but the fact is most people do not even know a single phrase from B's arrangement of Schiller's "Ode to Joy." Would it really be so bad to try something that would bring his music closer to lay-people -- pique their interest and understanding? After all, how many concert-goers really bother to bother with a densely-written program? Not to mention the fact that many programs these days are terribly written -- at least that's the case here in San Diego. I think we all know how distracting it is to have to figure out a program while listening to music at the same time. The kind of back-drop screen I'm talking about would remove the problem entirely. (Not to mention that it would show CLOSE-UPS of conductor/players and display CGI effects and so on...)

Speaking for myself, the difference between knowing what the words meant and not knowing them was huge. As an adult I now revel in how Beethoven pulled off his musical arrangement, simply sublime! -- when I was younger I still loved it but had NO idea what exactly was being said or repeated or emphasized.

I can tell you this has already been attempted and not with particularly good results. I have heard on TV an english text that was not as far as I could tell a translation of the German but something completely different (and not very good). I'm never in favour of this sort of thing. The Ode as used in the 9th isn't exactly a long piece of text, and the musical setting is based on the text sung in Geman - so it would be fairly certain that there would be a musical loss, and indeed a psycological loss if the new text is of a lesser quality, (which it undoubtedly would be in the case of the 9th) if it were sung in English. Logistically it would be easier to give the audience a translation than re-write the finale of the 9th!

Regarding opera, I would never dream of paying to see a performance of Fidelio in English (which it seems all the English National Opera is capable of) for the same reasons. However a solution would be to have the translation appear on a large screen off-stage, similar to subtitles on TV. This would not be a difficult task technically.

Rod

------------------
"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
01-17-2001, 08:44 AM
Originally posted by Rod:
However a solution would be to have the translation appear on a large screen off-stage, similar to subtitles on TV. This would not be a difficult task technically.

Rod



They did this at Covent Garden a few years back, with the translation appearing way up at the top of the curtains ! - I think it would work better for concerts than Opera, where you are more visually distracted.

------------------
'Man know thyself'

Rod
01-17-2001, 10:45 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
They did this at Covent Garden a few years back, with the translation appearing way up at the top of the curtains ! - I think it would work better for concerts than Opera, where you are more visually distracted.


There's no easy solution, I went to a Mozart opera sung in English (I'm less fussy about comic opera) and I still couldn't understand half of it!

Rod

------------------
"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
01-17-2001, 11:04 AM
Originally posted by Rod:
I went to a Mozart opera sung in English (I'm less fussy about comic opera) and I still couldn't understand half of it!

Rod



You - a Mozart Opera - you must have been forced!

------------------
'Man know thyself'

Rod
01-17-2001, 11:46 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
You - a Mozart Opera - you must have been forced!


Very perceptive Peter, it was 'the mother of my daughter' (for it is only with these words do I now refer to her) who indeed forced me!

Rod

Mako
01-17-2001, 12:01 PM
Euphony,

every january in Sydney, Australia we have a series of concerts in a public park known as 'the Domain'. Every Saturday night, they put on a huge show with a different genre (Symphony, Opera, Jazz etc.) represented each time. They all attract approx. 100,000 people each year. (I did say it was huge!!). Video screens the size of a 2 story house are placed at side of stage showing close-ups of the performances on stage and speakers at intervals along the side of the park so everyone can hear what's going on up on stage. During the "Opera In The Domain", they display the english translation of the opera being performed above the stage in large text so everyone can see it. It is very popular and you have to camp out the night before if you want to get a patch of ground anywhere near the front of the stage. We take along picnic baskets and eskies of drinks etc. to keep us happy and everyone has a great time.
Perhaps you should try and come over and go to one, you'll love it! http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif

Peter
01-17-2001, 05:00 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
Very perceptive Peter, it was 'the mother of my daughter' (for it is only with these words do I now refer to her) who indeed forced me!

Rod

I know you too well now ! - I've even replied on your behalf to another post - I'm sorry that things with your ex are so bad, but there again I have a string of ex's ( all of them much the worse for my absense - not Absinthe!) and if we'd only cybermet a few years back, I could have warned you and even saved you with Cosi Fan Tutti! At least 'the mother of your daughter' has taste - unless you saw the Magic Flute, whereby the Queen of the Night might have been a bit hard to swallow.

------------------
'Man know thyself'

euphony131
01-17-2001, 08:26 PM
Mako,

Now that's what I'm talkin' about! You guys ever do B's Nineth at the "Domain"? I've got to go to this Aussie extravaganza someday(when time and money affords -- got so little of both). Tell me, you think Australians would be more partial to something like the "Beethoven World Tour" with all its pyrotechnics, lasers, dancers and etc.? Don't tell me you guys have already done that too! http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif

Mako
01-18-2001, 07:58 AM
Euphony,

"Symphony In The Domain" doesn't focus on any one composer. They usually perform a concerto, symphony and other crowd favourites, usually ending with the 1812 Overture using the bells of St. Mary's Cathederal (just behind the Domain), fireworks and cannons on either side of the stage. Alas I don't believe they have performed the 9th. Maybe one day soon!
As for the Beethoven World Tour in Oz? Sure, we love any excuse to go out and have fun. It hasn't been done yet that I'm aware.

[This message has been edited by Mako (edited 01-18-2001).]

Rod
01-18-2001, 08:55 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
I know you too well now ! - I've even replied on your behalf to another post - I'm sorry that things with your ex are so bad, but there again I have a string of ex's ( all of them much the worse for my absense - not Absinthe!) and if we'd only cybermet a few years back, I could have warned you and even saved you with Cosi Fan Tutti! At least 'the mother of your daughter' has taste - unless you saw the Magic Flute, whereby the Queen of the Night might have been a bit hard to swallow.


I could tell you a horrific story regarding a rock chick from the Isle of Man who nevertheless got me into Beethoven. I think I went to see Don Giovanni with the 'Raven Woman'. We could start a new Beethoven 'Problem Page' for affairs of the heart relating in some way to classical music! I think this would be a first of its kind on the web.

Rod

------------------
"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin