When I was a teen I really liked to spend time at the music library and one of my favorite things was to ask for the score of a composition and to request all LP records they had of it. Then I would listen to the music and follow the score and compare the interpretation.
This was in the mid-90s in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Bulgaria in the mid-90s was one of those post-communist countries in the eastern block which had just emerged from the 40-something year totalitarian rule.
So, one day I had requested Mozart’s Coronation Mass in two versions – one record was recorded by the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra and choir in the 80’s and the other record was by some german orchestra, also from the 80’s.
Even before I played the records I noticed that the German recording had the Coronation Mass on one side of the LP and on the other side there was some other music. And the Bulgarian recording had only the Coronation Mass on the LP.
So, I listened to both recordings, and I noticed that the Bulgarian recording was significantly slower, and most of it was full of those orchestral ‘deep breaths’, i.e. pauses between phrases and passages.
I went on being puzzled for a while, until a music teacher explained to me one day: “Well, you see, in the 80s there was only one orchestra which could have recorded this work. And at the time the musicians and the conductor were getting paid by the minute of recorded music. So, of course they would have recorded the music in much slower tempo.”
I guess this explains it.
I still remember the prolonged vowels of the choir – so prolonged at times that they were almost running out of breath. Kyyyyriiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Category: Mental notes
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.