Per Caritatem

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[See part IV].  This is my concluding post on the “Phenomenological Explorations of Music” series.

Having examined the calculated aspects of jazz improvisation, as well as highlighting the some of the ways in which improvisation and places of indeterminacy emerge and exist in classical music, I now turn to discuss (by way of Benson’s insights), the idea that a sharp dichotomy exists between the work and its performance.  In chapter four (“The Ergon within the Energeia“) of his book, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, Benson discusses the ways in which a musical ergon or product both emerges from musical energeia or activity, and yet this ergon “still remains within the play of musical energeia” and cannot be separated from it.  In other words, Benson believes that given the fuzzy boundaries between composition and improvisation, coupled with the unavoidable presence of interpretation involved in performances and the on-going nature of musical traditions, perhaps musical works are more properly described in dynamic rather than static terms.  Benson even goes so far as to say that

the telos of music making cannot be defined simply in terms of the creation of musical works, or even primarily so.  Instead the work becomes a means to the end of making music, not an end in itself.  [Likewise], if the work exists within the play of musical energeia, then it cannot be seen as autonomous or detached.  Like a living organism, it is ever in motion and constantly in need of care and infusions of new life to keep it alive.[1]

One of Benson’s goals in this chapter is to attempt to explain “this elusive thing that exists within musical energeia,” and in order to do so he dialogues with Roman Ingarden’s position.  Ingarden’s fundamental assumption is that “there is not merely an accidental but an essential separation between the work and its written and aural expressions.”[2] Ingarden takes this route because he is concerned to preserve a kind of superhistorical ergon that remains untouched by the energia of actual music performance through the course of time.  However, as Benson points out, Ingarden himself, being a good phenomenologist, is aware of tensions within his own position, which makes his contribution highly instructive.[3]  First, Ingarden begins by asking, what is relation between the work and the score?  According to Ingarden, the score preserves the work and helps to maintain its identity.[4] Yet, Ingarden (as was the case with Cone) admits that the score does not exhaust the work and merely relates aspects of the work-the score functions as a kind of “schema.”  If we acknowledge both that the score maintains the identity of the work in some sense, and yet the score does fully circumscribe the work, then we are pressed to ask, what then is the “something more” that the score fails to capture?  To this question, Benson adds, “[i]s there something that guarantees the identity of this surplus that goes beyond the score?  Moreover, what connection is there-if any-between this more and musical energeia?”[5]

In order to try to deal with the differences that surface between various performances of the same piece, Ingarden takes the position that a work possesses a “stock of possibilities” and is “in a sense inherently complete.”[6] Consequently, according to Ingarden, over time the various performers of a work are not creating anything new, rather there are simply discovering the latent possibilities already “embedded” in the work which simply need to be actualized.  Thus, the work does not really change over time but merely appears to change.  However, as Benson observes, “the problem with this view is that-practically-these possibilities seem not to come merely from within but also from without:  for they arise-at least partly-by way of performance traditions, which are themselves developing.”[7]  But again, being a good phenomenologist, Ingarden does not totally ignore the fact that the work in practice does in fact go beyond the intentions of the composer due to, what we have referred to previously as “places of indeterminacy” (Unbestimmtheitsstellen), which are as it were “born” with every work, and some of which are made only determinate through a live performance.  Thus, Ingarden at least implies that these untouchable works are in fact in process and dynamic.

Against what Benson labels as a kind of Platonist understanding of a musical work, Benson argues for a mediating way which acknowledges that a work possesses a “stock of possibilities” that constitute it, but that those possibilities are supplemented by additional possibilities that come into being over the course of time via the performances themselves and as a result of evolving musical traditions.  Elaborating his view, Benson explains,

a composer may indeed have a complex conception of the work (and so potentially a relatively complex conception of the work (and so potentially a relatively complex set of “intentions”), but those intentions are supplemented by the actual performances and the development of performance traditions.  Thus, we could say that Bach had intentions for the St. Matthew Passion that were complex and specific.  But the [later] performance by Mendelssohn did not merely bring out those possibilities (even though it did that too).  Rather, it also created certain possibilities-possibilities that truly did not exist before.[8]

If instead we opt for Ingarden’s position, we find ourselves in the following rather paradoxical situation.  That is, if we claim that musical works somehow transcend and are not touched by musical activity (energeia), then we must conclude that “no one every really experiences a musical work.”  Ingarden himself denies that we experience “a given musical work as an ideal aesthetic object.”[9]  As Benson puts it, “[o]n Ingarden’s account, then, the work itself turns out to be something that no one ever hears.”[10]  A second rather serious tension in Ingarden’s account again springs from his strict dichotomy between musical work (ergon) and musical activity (energeia).  Understandably, Ingarden is concerned to secure the identity of a musical work, and this is why he argues for a “superhistorical” work.  This allows Ingarden to say that the work is not simply identical to the score but possesses some degree of autonomy from both the score and the various performances.[11] Yet, Ingarden also admits both that musical works have an historical origin, and that “the properties of a work are constituted intersubjectively-and over time.”[12] Ingarden then leaves us somewhere between the historical and the superhistorical.  For Benson, this inbetween-ness highlights the failure of a position which advocates a sharp dichotomy between a work’s existence and identity on the one hand, and its “aural embodiments” on the other.[13]  Consequently, as mentioned above, Benson opts for an “interconnectedness of work and performance,” and suggests that instead of the denomination, “work,” which connotes a finished product, we should return to the idea of “piece.”  Piece implies both that which is “connected to a contextual whole” from which it cannot be completely severed, and it communicates a more fragmentary and on-going character-something “inherently incomplete, for the musical context in which it exists is in flux.”[14]

Although my essay probably raises more questions than it answers and only scratches the surface of what might be accomplished by bringing music into conversation with the insights of phenomenology, hopefully some the themes that we have considered-identity and difference, musical places of indeterminacy, and the various ways that music presents itself to us, from its origin (Ursprung) to the “final manuscript” (Fassung letzter Hand)-has provoked us to stretch our thinking about both disciplines in new ways. 

Notes


[1] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 126. [2] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 126. [3] Benson adds, “Ingarden is well aware that the real question of the work’s identity is not merely static ontologically but also (and essentially) historical in nature” (p. 127).  As older musical works are kept alive and interpreted anew in subsequent eras and by diverse musical traditions, something of the old is retained.  The question is, what exactly is this something that is kept alive?[4] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 127. [5] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 127. 

[6] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 128.

[7] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 128.

[8] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 129.

[9] Roman Ingarden, Ontology of the Work of Art:  The Musical Work-The Picture-The Architectural Work-The Film, trans. Raymond Meyer with John T. Goldthwait (Athens:  Ohio University Press, 1989), p. 108, as quoted in Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 130.

[10] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 131.

[11] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 131. 

[12] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 131.  Cf. Ingarden, Ontology of the Work of Art, p. 110, 115, and 119-20. 

[13] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 132.

[14] Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, pp. 132-33.

 

guitare-verte-et-rose_picasso.jpgContrary to the common negative characterization (see part III), improvisation as expressed in jazz involves a high degree of prepared and calculated musical ideas.  All too frequently we hear the rather pejorative comment that in jazz it matters not what note one plays given the dissonance prevalent in jazz and its penchant for non-resolution.  Though perhaps in some expressions of jazz such a remark might ring true,[1] on the whole it tends to paint a rather misleading picture.  A more accurate account is that jazz improvisers are intensely aware of what notes they play, when to play them, and for what reason this note or that scale should be played as opposed to others.  For example, consider the common harmonic structures in which one finds purposely altered harmonies, i.e., dissonances that are deliberately applied to certain chord structures.  One of the first skills that a beginning improviser learns is that most traditional jazz pieces consist of what is called the ii-V-I harmonic progression.  For example, in the key of C major, the ii-V-I progression is:  D minor 7 – G7 – C major 7.  Because the V7  (or dominant 7) chord has multiple functions-e.g., it can serve as a transition chord into another key or as a common way to resolve back to the tonic key-it is a top candidate for harmonic alterations.   Why?  It is the chord that either leads us directly to a resolution back to the tonic key, or it functions as a transition chord to take us to a new key that will then serve as a temporary resolution of sorts.[2]  Given these functions, as opposed to being a “place of rest” (such as the tonic chord) or even a “temporary rest stop,” altering or extending its “normal” harmonies heightens the tension by adding new tonal colors into the mix.  Jazz musicians are deeply aware of these possibilities, and maximize the tension-release motif in their solos. In fact, it is a common practice among jazz musicians to have numerous altered patterns prepared in advance-patterns which they have practiced for hour upon end in all twelve keys (and modes) so that when performance time comes, the music has become such a part of them that it flows effortlessly from them.  Thus, it is in no way the case that jazz musicians simply fumble around, pulling notes out of thin air, rebelliously disregarding the harmonic structure of the piece because they have some kind of perverse attraction to dissonance for its own sake.  While this might de-mystify jazz improvisation to a certain extent, it does not eradicate that side of jazz that involves a strong degree of spontaneity and communal interplay.  In other words, mystery is still alive and well in the art of jazz improvisation because no matter how many patterns one has prepared in advance, the dynamism and community of jazz makes it such that in Heraclitean fashion, “no pattern is ever played exactly same way twice”; yet, the patterns are quite identifiable, as is the piece itself. 

If jazz in fact is not a free-for-all and involves, as I claim, a number of previously prepared musical ideas, one might be led to believe that notation is the crucial difference between composition and improvisation.  However, as Jeremy Begbie points out, “it seems odd to claim that composition only happens when musicians write music down.”[3] Here we might also mention that it is not uncommon for jazz musicians use written arrangements for both large and small ensembles.  In light of this apparent “dead end,” Begbie offers the following as a possible way to differentiate composition and improvisation,

A more promising way forward is to take composition to refer to all the activity which precedes the sounding of the entire piece of music, everything which is involved in conceiving and organizing the parts or elements which make up the pattern or design or the musical whole:  and improvisation to mean the concurrent conception and performance of a piece of music, which is complete when the sound finishes (italics added).[4]

With the above conception, composition entails all the musical activity that takes places prior to the performance of the piece as a whole, whereas improvisation consists in the simultaneity of conceiving and performing a musical idea. In other words, the act of improvisation emphasizes experiencing the “present,” i.e., rather than highlighting product or result, the accent is on process and activity, as “conception and performance are interwoven to a very high degree.”[5] With what Begbie has just said in mind, perhaps we could say that the improvisation that emerges in the musical genre of jazz is a kind of present, spontaneous, music-making activity that purposely and re-creatively utilizes prepared and hence thoroughly familiar musical ideas.  Yet, we should also highlight the following with regard to classical composition, which hopefully only complicates rather than contradicts Begbie’s way of distinguishing improvisation and composition.  Despite the fact that a kind of mythology portraying composition as a flash of instantaneous inspiration coupled with the Kantian idea of a creative genius tends to dominate our conception of the way in which a musical composition comes into existence, I agree with Benson that composers themselves actually engage in a great deal of improvisation.  As Benson observes, “composers are more accurately described as improvisers, for composition essentially involves a kind of improvisation on the already existing rules and limits in such a way that what emerges is the result of both respecting those rules and altering them.”[6]  In the end, given the mutual interplay between composition and improvisation, perhaps it is better to think of improvisation in terms of a continuum that ranges over both jazz and classical music, and that the structures of each allow for a greater or lesser degree of improvisation to manifest in the actual performance of the music.

Notes


[1] The same however could be said of some expressions of twentieth and twenty-first century classical music.[2] Though I have stated this in an either/or way, to be sure there are other roles that a dominant 7th chord can play.[3] Begbie, Theology, Music and Time, p. 183.  Also, would writing down an improvised solo then make it a composition?

[4] Ibid.,  p. 183. 

[5] Begbie, Theology, Music and Time, p. 184. 

[6] Benson, Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 133.

 

nicolai-reznichenko_trio.jpg What I have in mind with this flexibility that maintains identity (see part I) can be illustrated by way of a jazz musical example, specifically, what is called in jazz parlance, a “lead sheet.” A jazz lead sheet is similar to a notated score for a classical piece; however, only the melody is written out in standard musical notation. In other words, in contrast to a classical score in which the bass line, the chords or harmonic structure, and more or less every note that will be played is written out in full musical notation, a lead sheet allows for significantly more flexibility. For example, above the melody line one simply finds chord symbols, as opposed to chords displayed in standard notation with specific voicings.[1] Writing the chord symbols in this manner affords the pianist or guitarist, as well as the bassist, a significant amount of creative freedom in performing the piece. However, we should be clear that this freedom does not destroy the identity of the piece, as one must choose harmonies and bass lines that fall within a certain trajectory of the specified chord symbol that will support the melody and mark out the general harmonic structure of the piece. Thus, with a jazz lead sheet, one is in a sense “tied to” the “score,” i.e., one must agree to submit to the “givens” that make the piece to be what it is and respond accordingly.[2] Yet, in other sense, one’s own personality, skill level, and creative sensibilities also come through making each performance something unique. One might even say that the flexibility that lead sheets afford, coupled with the distinctly human traits and personal idiosyncrasies that manifest in improvisation, in a sense engenders greater intelligibility and appeal to the piece itself. That is, the built-in flexibility of lead sheets aids in preserving the piece through the passage of time while simultaneously allowing and even expecting various re-articulations and new insights because it “has room for” the creative expansions that come with temporal progression and the furthering of tradition. Here I imagine that someone might object, stating that such places of indeterminacy might apply to jazz, but what about classical music in which the score is very precise? Doesn’t the extensiveness of the written score in classical music ipso facto rule out the possibility of the kind of indeterminacies that I have described? Although this is a commonly held opinion, it seems to me based upon a number of assumptions, two of which include: (1) the idea that jazz is a kind of free-for-all in which musicians simply improvise as it were ex nihilo, whereas classical music, in contrast, eliminates all improvisatory elements, and (2) the notion that a strict division exists between the work (as a kind of suprahistorical essence) and its performance (which allows for variations and supplementations). In the next post, I shall address the issues and questions surrounding (1).
Notes


[1] For example, one would simply see “C major 7” or “D minor 7” written above the melody line, instead of the actual musical notes C, E, G, B (for C major 7) or D, F, A, C (for D minor 7) or the various specific voicings in which these harmonic structures may be displaced (e.g., E, G, C, B or C, G, B, E and other possible variations for C major 7). [2] The communal aspect of jazz performance is an important factor here as well. For example, if the pianist simply decides to play chords that have no relation whatsoever to the chord symbols, the rest of the group or ensemble will be affected (not to mention thoroughly frustrated) as their parts will not correlate at all with the random harmonic superimposition on the part of the pianist.

 

guitare-jamie-eva_picasso.jpgAs Bruce Ellis Benson explains in chapter two of his book, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, we tend to think that a musical composition is finished when the piece in its “final” version is written down.  However, there are a number of assumptions that we should question in connection with such a conclusion.  First, why assume that a process of revisions always leads to a better version, much less to the “perfect” version?  Beethoven, for example, was known for ceaselessly revising and offering a number of variants for musical passages and even entire sections of his symphonies. Even if we grant that his revisions generally improved his work, why should we necessarily conclude that they always did?  Second, is it not the case that pressing deadlines, familial responsibilities, or creative inertia also factor into to a piece coming to completion. That is, the artist may not in fact be satisfied with his or her final version, and yet the work must be brought to a close.  If this is the case, then we might even say that the composer is aware of the imperfections in his or her work-the places that at some later time, he or she if given the time, would want to change or develop the work.  Third (and closely related to the second point),  is there a sense in which a composition becomes “fixed” and definite when written down, or is it the case that even for the composer there is a certain “indefiniteness” and indeterminacy involved in his or her work even when the composition is “finished”?  Arguing for the latter, Benson states that although composers have “reasonably” definite intentions, “it would be impossible for their intentions to encompass all of the details of any given piece.”[1]  In other words, often or perhaps even most of the time, the composer himself is unsure exactly how he wants every aspect and detail of the work to sound until the piece is actually played with a specific group and with very particular instrumentation.  As Benson highlights, Mozart would at times perform different versions of the same piece to a group of friends in order to seek their input as to which version they thought best.  Having performed in several jazz orchestras and dabbled in jazz composition myself, I find this claim rather convincing.  It was often the case that our director, who was an accomplished composer and arranger, would present us with his scores and then during the rehearsal time, numerous changes would be made-changes that he could not foresee until the actual music appeared.  Clearly, he had a definite intention of how he wanted the piece to sound, yet the various intricacies of tempo, dynamics, and so forth were not solidified.  

But what about after all these things are made more precise, is it the case that at that point the work is finished?  This leads us to the next issue, viz. what counts as the correct interpretation of a piece?   To illustrate, Benson cites Edward Cone who comments on the difficulties performers face in playing Chopin’s music,

The performer’s first obligation, then, is to the score-but to what score?  The autograph or the first printed edition?  The composer’s hasty manuscript or the presumably more careful copy by a trusted amanuensis?  The composer’s initial version or his later emendation? [and so on].[2]  

To be sure one might give good reasons for choosing and preferring one version over another.  But still we must recognize that performers, conductors and arrangers play a role in the process of composing.  That is, the performers, conductors and arrangers in some genuine sense continue to compose a work that is already as it were “finished.”[3] Yet, as we stated earlier, composers certainly have some definite intentions, but how extensive those intentions are is another issue.  Also, the fact that composers may not even be cognizant of places of indeterminacy in their own compositions until the music is actually performed suggests that a determinate intention, though having some definiteness to it, may also “contain” what we might call a kind of built-in-flexibility that does not destroy its identity. 

Notes


[1] Bruce Ellis Benson, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue:  A Phenomenology of Music.  (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 67. 

[2] Edward T. Cone, “The Pianist as Critic,” in The Practice of Performance Studies in Musical Interpretation, p. 244, as cited in Benson, Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, p. 70. 

[3] This idea of on-going composition strikes me as having something in common with Gadamer’s hermeneutical insight that texts always exhibit an “excess of meaning” upon which tradition builds.  Elucidating his position, Gadamer writes: “Every age has to understand a transmitted text in its own way, for the text belongs to the whole tradition whose content interests the age and in which it seeks to understand itself.  The real meaning of a text, as it speaks to the interpreter, does not depend on the contingencies of the author and his original audience.  It certainly is not identical with them, for it is always co-determined also by the historical situation of the interpreter and hence by the totality of the objective course of history. […] Not just occasionally but always, the meaning of a text goes beyond its author.  That is why understanding is not merely a reproductive but always a productive activity as well.“(Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, 2nd ed. trans. and revised Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall (New York:  Continuum, 2004),  p. 296). 

 

In chapter two of his book, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, Bruce Ellis Benson observes that we tend to think that a musical composition is finished when the piece (in its “final” version) is written down. However, there are a number of assumptions that we should question in connection with such a conclusion. For example, why assume that a process of revisions always leads to a better version, much less to the “perfect” version? Beethoven was known for ceaselessly revising and offering a number of variants for musical passages and entire sections. Even if we grant that his revisions generally improved his work, we should not necessarily conclude that they always did so. Beethoven himself often commented that his works contained a number of imperfections that he simply had to let stand given his duties and other commitments. Thus, as Benson points out, there are number of “nonartistic” reasons for compositions reaching a “completion” stage. “[T]he vicissitudes of life have a way of deciding something is finished—whether or not the artist is of the same opinion” (p. 68).

Is there a sense in which a composition becomes “fixed” and definite, or is it the case that even for the composer there is a certain “indefiniteness” and indeterminacy involved in his or her work even when the composition is “finished”? Arguing for the latter, Benson notes that though it is the case that composers have “reasonably” definite intentions, “it would be impossible for their intentions to encompass all of the details of any given piece”(p. 67). In other words, often or perhaps most of the time, the composer himself is unsure exactly how he wants the every aspect and detail of the work to sound until the piece is actually played with a specific group and very particular instrumentation. Mozart, for example, would at times perform different versions of the same work to a group of friends in order to seek their input as to which is preferred. Benson proffers a number of other examples, which I will forego for brevity’s sake.

There is also the additional complication of the performer “rightly” interpreting the composer’s intentions. To illustrate, Benson quotes Edward Cone who comments on the difficulties performers face in playing Chopin’s music, “The performer’s first obligation, then, is to the score—but to what score? The autograph or the first printed edition? The composer’s hasty manuscript or the presumably more careful copy by a trusted amanuensis? The composer’s initial version or his later emendation? [and so on]”[1] (p. 70) To be sure one might give good reasons for choosing and preferring one version over another. But still we must recognize that performers, conductors and arrangers play a role in the process of composing, i.e., composing a work that is already “finished.” Yet, as we stated earlier, composers certainly have some definite intentions, but how extensive those intentions are is another question (as Benson asks, using Husserlian language—are they “vague” or “distinct” intentions?). Composers can and do, for instance, change their minds about certain works over a long period of time. Likewise, composers may not even be aware of a lack of determinacy until the work is performed. Though dealing with verbal content, Benson cites a passage by Hirsch that is applicable to musical content, “Determinacy does not mean definiteness or precision. Undoubtedly, most verbal meanings are imprecise and ambiguous, and to call them such is to acknowledge their determinacy: they are not univocal and precise. This is another way of saying that an ambiguous meaning has a boundary like any other verbal meaning, and that one of the frontiers on this boundary is that between ambiguity and univocality”[2] (p. 74). We tend to associate boundary with precision, so “what does it mean for an ambiguous meaning to have a ‘boundary’”? (p. 74). As Benson points out, boundaries can of course be conceived differently. For example, they can be thought as rigid and inflexible or in a more flexible and bending way. This more flexible conception is the model for which Benson argues in terms of the “boundaries” of a musical work.

Notes
[1] Edward T. Cone, “The Pianist as Critic,” in The Practice of Performance Studies in Musical Interpretation, p. 244.
[2] E.D. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation, pp. 44-45.

 

Bruce Ellis Benson in his book, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue, argues that instead of choosing between Werktreu[1] or a kind of musical anarchy, we should look to the past where we find a way of conceiving music composition as an event in which the composer and performer become “co-creators.” Using Gadamar as a way to help us to begin thinking about models of music composition, Ellis writes, “Gadamer claims that an ideal dialogue has what he calls the ‘logical structure of openness.’ I think there are at least two aspects to this ‘openness.’ First, the conversation often brings something into the open: it sheds new light on what is being discussed and allows us to think about it (or, in this case, hear it) in a new way. Second, the dialogue is itself open, since it (to quote Gadamer) is in a ‘state of indeterminacy.’ In order for a genuine dialogue to take place, the outcome cannot be settled in advance. Without at least some ‘loose-play’ or uncertainty, true conversation is impossible” (p. 15). As Benson notes, Gadamar of course realizes that this is the “ideal” for conversations and that they do not always flesh out in this manner. Likewise, in stressing “openness,” Gadamer is not suggesting that dialogues are without rules. Rather, “the rules are what allow the conversation to take place at all. In effect, they open up a kind of space in which dialogue can be conducted” (p. 15). Though rules are essential for a dialogue to occur, they can be overly restrictive or more on the “open” and “flexible” side and “are themselves open to continuing modification” (p. 15). Though today we tend to think of classical music as not particularly open, Benson shows that historically this view is relatively new and in fact is only one way, not the way to view composition. For example, in the 1800s there were two characteristic ways of conceiving composition and these were exemplified by Beethoven and Rossini. Though no doubt these composers represent two different styles of music, the deeper significance lies in the differing ways that they understand the nature of musical compositions, the role of the performance in expressing them, and the relation between the artist and the community (p. 16). As Benson explains, “Beethoven saw his symphonies as ‘inviolable musical “texts” whose meaning is to be deciphered with ‘exegetical’ interpretations; a Rossini score, on the other hand, is a mere recipe for a performance’ (Carl Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-Century Music, p. 9 [Benson, p. 16]. In other words, Beethoven’s view is the more recent, innovative view that has come to characterize how we think of classical music as Werktreu, whereas Rossini’s conception was significantly more flexible, allowing the performer to participate in the creative process. Moreover, for Rossini, “it was not the work that was given precedence; rather, the work (and thus the composer) was in effect a partner in dialogue with performers and listeners” (Ibid., pp. 16-17).

A number of interesting parallels might be drawn in relation to Biblical hermeneutics.

Notes
[1] A rather strict faithfulness first to the work and second to the composer.