On Playing Beethoven: Marginalia

Interpretation? Some musicians have little patience for this word, while on the other side there is a recent surge of musicologists who strive to do it justice by elucidating its essence, its development, and its historical peculiarities. After a lengthy period of purely structural reasoning about musical works, topics such as psychology, character, and atmosphere are being considered again. Every tiny portamento or cercar la nota throughout the history of bel canto is being unearthed. Recapitulations are scrutinized with the help of the stopwatch in order to find out whether, why, and by how much they may exceed the scope of the exposition. The anti-interpreters consider all this to be a waste of time. All they ask for is a reliable edition of the score. The rest will be provided by their own genius. Here I would like to interpose and remind the reader of the fact that to decipher

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