Tales... would it have been better as a single album?



Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby electricfreedom » Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:18 am

I was listening to TFTO the other day and a thought struck me... there is really only enough good material here for a single album! I'll ber if Yes had cut it up into a few more individual songs and gottenrid of some filler it would have been MUCH better received.

So... what should be in? I think the majority of both The Revealing Science of God and Ritual could be left in.... with the wankery at the beginning of The Ancient being cut. Leave in the leaves of green section. The "relayer" portion of The Remembering is cool. What else should stay in and what else should be cut?
And I do think very well.... that the song might take you silently...
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Let it be

Postby Greenglade's Frog » Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:01 am

An album like this should not be cut at all.

I agree that some parts sort of meander and dawdle, but that's what the album was meant to do in parts.

It's a slower-paced album for a more contemplative era, something to savor, develop a taste for.

Perhaps it is exactly what society needs at this point, as there is too much multi-tasking, "literalness", and "getting things done" attitude, and info bites darting around, and not enough substance. No wonder everyone is on Wellbutrin and Zantac.

As Jon said: "America, slow down".
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Postby frankh » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:21 am

Greenglade's Frog wrote:An album like this should not be cut at all.

I agree that some parts sort of meander and dawdle, but that's what the album was meant to do in parts.

It's a slower-paced album for a more contemplative era, something to savor, develop a taste for.

Perhaps it is exactly what society needs at this point, as there is too much multi-tasking, "literalness", and "getting things done" attitude, and info bites darting around, and not enough substance. No wonder everyone is on Wellbutrin and Zantac.

As Jon said: "America, slow down".


This is so very close to my own impression on the issue, and the other issues you've addressed!...lol...that all I'm left with to say is, "What you've said!"
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Postby electricfreedom » Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:06 am

Greenglade's Frog wrote:An album like this should not be cut at all.

I agree that some parts sort of meander and dawdle, but that's what the album was meant to do in parts.

It's a slower-paced album for a more contemplative era, something to savor, develop a taste for.

Perhaps it is exactly what society needs at this point, as there is too much multi-tasking, "literalness", and "getting things done" attitude, and info bites darting around, and not enough substance. No wonder everyone is on Wellbutrin and Zantac.

As Jon said: "America, slow down".


I'm not sure I would agree that parts of the album were "meant to" meander and dawdle. I sort of get the feeling the band went into the studio knowing they wanted to do four sidelong pieces, and really didn't have the amount of quality material needed to fill it. Instead of trimming back it seems like the filler was added to take up some time.

There is nothing wrong with slow-paced, or contemplative, but length for the sake of length (which is how parts of this album feel to me) isn't bad because it's slow or atmospheric, but because it doesn't really go anywhere or add anything to the song.

This is not a problem of a lack of patience or attention span on the part of the listener either. Like most prog fans, I'm very patient and willing to grow with an album, etc. But in this case it's a matter of quality over quantity, and this album feels like an album's worth of ingenious ideas sprinkled into another album's worth of wankery and aimless filler.

YMMV, of course. :)
And I do think very well.... that the song might take you silently...
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Postby frankh » Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:12 am

electric freedom wrote:YMMV, of course. :)


And, it has.

What strikes me is, here we are thirty three years later, and this album still stirs debate and produces these widely varying responses.
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Postby electricfreedom » Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:43 pm

frankh wrote:And, it has.

What strikes me is, here we are thirty three years later, and this album still stirs debate and produces these widely varying responses.


Don't get me wrong, I like the album well enough. I just think it would have been an AMAZING single instead of a pretty good double with amazing parts here and there.

It doesn't really help that the production is really murky and soupy sounding...
And I do think very well.... that the song might take you silently...
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Postby frankh » Wed Mar 14, 2007 6:58 am

electricfreedom wrote:Don't get me wrong, I like the album well enough. I just think it would have been an AMAZING single instead of a pretty good double with amazing parts here and there.

It doesn't really help that the production is really murky and soupy sounding...


...in this neighborhood(mine, lol)the Rhino remastering of Tales was as a revelation!...

Ever read the remark someone, somewhere in these parts, or nearby webwise made about the original recording?Always found it to be pretty near the mark(wish I could remember now where I saw it, and who said it!):

"Tales sounds like it was recorded in a phonebooth."

LOL
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Uncle Norm » Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:43 am

TALES probably would have been commercially received better at the time if it were a single album. Remember, Atlantic Records got caught not really knowing how the heck to promote it, being a double album with only four tracks...

MUSICALLY I think Sides 1 & 4 hold together nicely throughout and have stood the test of time.

I think Side 2 is a beautiful piece of music, but does drag on just a bit too long -- it probably could have been edited a bit tighter, especially the first half of side 2.

Side 3: Although "The Ancient" also does appear to go on in places, I wouldn't change it, because it's a great piece of exploratory music -- possibly one of the most unique things the group will ever do, and Howe's work is remarkable. But again, there are a few places where it could have been made a bit more streamlined.

REMEMBER that there were no CD's back in '73 when Tales was released, so they had a choice: Single LP or Double LP? There was no other option at the time, so in retrospect I think they made the right choice in going for it on a grand scale.

Some 30 years later, Topographic still rings as a magical work, full of unique emotions, and grand musicianship.

NB
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby happytheman » Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:57 am

Uncle Norm wrote:TALES probably would have been commercially received better at the time if it were a single album. Remember, Atlantic Records got caught not really knowing how the heck to promote it, being a double album with only four tracks...

NB


I was living in Europe at the time and as I recall Tales was released to very favorable fans. I also seem to remember that it sat at the "top of the charts". So I know I wasn't the only person who bought it when it was first released.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby tardistraveler » Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:58 pm

No!

Don't cut a single note of Tales!

Whether it was "meant to" meander or not, it does so beautifully . . . I never tire of it!

And ditto Norm's comment about The Ancient - it is SO unique . . .
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby The Ancient » Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:11 pm

This used to be my housecleaning music back in my single days. I could do laundry, dishes, etc. and take quick breaks to flip the vinyl or put the other record on. Always had the place spiffed up by the time Ritual was over. Good way to listen to all 4 sides every time.

Getting the Russian import CD with the entire work on a single disc fits the lifestyle now and is a dream fulfilled. Almost bought a reel - to - reel player back then just to make Tales play like a "single album". Would have hated to see Yes scale back these tunes to fit on one 33 1/3 album. Never would have gotten the old apartment cleaned up either.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Uncle Norm » Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:52 am

The Ancient wrote:This used to be my housecleaning music back in my single days. I could do laundry, dishes, etc. and take quick breaks to flip the vinyl or put the other record on. Always had the place spiffed up by the time Ritual was over. Good way to listen to all 4 sides every time.

Getting the Russian import CD with the entire work on a single disc fits the lifestyle now and is a dream fulfilled. Almost bought a reel - to - reel player back then just to make Tales play like a "single album". Would have hated to see Yes scale back these tunes to fit on one 33 1/3 album. Never would have gotten the old apartment cleaned up either.


> > >

That's great!

When I was in college many moons ago, I too used to use Topographic and Relayer for striaghtening up...

The first time I ever did a line of coke, "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" was blasting in the background, and I remember doing a bong or two back in the day to Topographic or Relayer, and even the YES solo albums...

For the record, I haven't touched either of those elements in over 15 years, but it did provide the soundtrack for some fun times... A little David Bowie in the mix didn't hurt either back then...


NB
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby gtrpir8 » Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:49 pm

Uncle Norm wrote:
REMEMBER that there were no CD's back in '73 when Tales was released, so they had a choice: Single LP or Double LP? There was no other option at the time, so in retrospect I think they made the right choice in going for it on a grand scale.

Some 30 years later, Topographic still rings as a magical work, full of unique emotions, and grand musicianship.

NB


Johnny Winter actually released a double live album comprised of three sides of recorded music and one side left blank, not that wish that Tales were compressed thusly.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby happytheman » Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:32 am

gtrpir8 wrote:Johnny Winter actually released a double live album comprised of three sides of recorded music and one side left blank, not that wish that Tales were compressed thusly.


I seem to remember that, hmmm what was the title?
Aha... I found out a bit of info on the above mentioned album..

Johnny Winter's second album for Columbia--duh--1970's SECOND WINTER is also notorious for a gimmicky sales device. When the recording sessions were over, Winter had enough material for an album and a half; rather than add a side of filler, Columbia simply promoted the album as the world's first three-sided album. (In a snarky review, Rolling Stone sarcastically gave the blank fourth side an in-depth discussion.)
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby frankh » Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:15 am

happytheman wrote: (In a snarky review, Rolling Stone sarcastically gave the blank fourth side an in-depth discussion.)


Rolling Stone snarky and sarcastic? Moggles the bind, that does...
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Tomfoolery » Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:16 pm

A couple of other trivia tidbits along these lines - there was another three sided album that was released called "Sand". The cover art showed a sandwich on a beach, covered in sand. Three sides of music, one side with a blank groove cut in it.

Another "three" sided album - Monty Python's "Matching Tie and Handkerchief". Played side one, then side two... thought "Gee, side 2 was short" but thought nothing of it after that... well, next time I put it on, it was for a friend and I said "You've GOT to hear this bit" and placed the stylus down midway through side two to find the bit I was referring to. Immediately, I said "Whoa, I've never heard THIS before!" Turned out they had cut 2 grooves into side two running parallel to each other, each with different information on it. Which groove the stylus picked up determined what was heard... I thought that was immensely funny.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby frankh » Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:32 am

Tomfoolery wrote:A couple of other trivia tidbits along these lines - there was another three sided album that was released called "Sand". The cover art showed a sandwich on a beach, covered in sand. Three sides of music, one side with a blank groove cut in it.

Another "three" sided album - Monty Python's "Matching Tie and Handkerchief". Played side one, then side two... thought "Gee, side 2 was short" but thought nothing of it after that... well, next time I put it on, it was for a friend and I said "You've GOT to hear this bit" and placed the stylus down midway through side two to find the bit I was referring to. Immediately, I said "Whoa, I've never heard THIS before!" Turned out they had cut 2 grooves into side two running parallel to each other, each with different information on it. Which groove the stylus picked up determined what was heard... I thought that was immensely funny.


Matching Tie And Handkerchief also has the most darkly hilarious album cover/sleeve design ever.

Kind of reminds me how funny Holy Grail is even before it begins. That credit sequence...Ralph The Wonder Llama...

(in the immortal words of an at least mildly intoxicated Father Mulcahy, "Jocularity, jocularity, jocularity")
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Aventure » Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:38 pm

I don't think tales should be cut...but I DO think that it would've been a better album with Bruford...always thought so...
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Roan's Lady » Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:52 pm

Aventure wrote:I don't think tales should be cut...but I DO think that it would've been a better album with Bruford...always thought so...


I think so too, that is, if Bruford was able to stomach it enough to play on it. ;)
Tales doesn't strike me as his cuppa tea.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Uncle Norm » Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:22 pm

Aventure wrote:I don't think tales should be cut...but I DO think that it would've been a better album with Bruford...always thought so...


> > >

I love Bruford's playing, HOWEVER I don't think "Tales" would have sounded better with him at the kit.

Alan White does a fantastic job on both "Tales" and "Relayer".

I would have a hard time hearing anyone else playing drums on either of those two, including Bruford.

NB
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby coalescestudionyc » Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:30 pm

Uncle Norm wrote:> > >

That's great!

When I was in college many moons ago, I too used to use Topographic and Relayer for striaghtening up...

NB


How could you POSSIBLY clean to Sound Chaser? You must have gotten a dozen dorm rooms done in that 9+ minutes!

Anyway, I think that side 2 of Tales could have been tightened up towards the end, but that's it. I wouldn't have changed a single thing on the rest of Tales. It is a journey, from beginning to end. That's why I like the remastered introduction of The Revealing Science of God. To me, it's like when a movie starts and there's a gentle fade-in as opposed to an abrupt beginning.

Michael
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Roan's Lady » Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:31 am

coalescestudionyc wrote:That's why I like the remastered introduction of The Revealing Science of God. To me, it's like when a movie starts and there's a gentle fade-in as opposed to an abrupt beginning.

Michael


THAT...is one of the greatest things that has appeared on a Yes remaster.
Beautiful!!
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby john i white » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:24 pm

I listened to it again for the first time in a few years and it's - mostly - horrible. Too drawn out, padded and ugly.

I used to think the 'Ancient' was ok, now it seems like a a bloody horrible mess. The whole thing reminds me of a movie director who having achieved prestigious awards and rave reviews, is given an unlimited budget and schedule, and then turns out a self-indulgent disaster a la: 'Heaven's Gate' or that new one by the Donnie Darko Director.

Yes, it'd be better if it was edited but should it be? It serves as a cautionary beacon against pure self-indulgence at present. It would be artificial revisionism to try to erase past errors: artistic dishonesty.

Perhaps a better option would be to perform an improved, re-written, more concise version live and release that instead? I actually really enjoyed 'Ritual' on the Symphonic tour: for the first time!

John
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Ash » Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:55 pm

Roan's Lady wrote:THAT...is one of the greatest things that has appeared on a Yes remaster.
Beautiful!!



Hi all,
Amy, I completely agree about the Revealing intro, it's gorgeous.

I believe the band discussed performing an edited version of it in 1998, but Steve was adamant it was all of it or none of it. Good for him! I like the tingly bells they used at the beginning to count in so they all started at the same time.....

I've listened to Tales a bit over the holiday, and a couple of things occured to me:
If Rick was so unhappy with the progress of the album and felt some of it was padded and repetitive, why didn't he, as a member of the group, do something about rectifying that, as he saw it?
If he was so unhappy, and distracted by other things and couldn't be bothered, then are not the failings of the album, as he sees them (but I don't!), partly his responsibility?
Or perhaps his creative imput overall has been over-stated on occasion? I'm of the opinion that his role and his contribution on Tales is pretty lacklustre anyway, and could perfectly well have been fulfilled by any other competent keyboardist.

And here's the real controversial bit: 'Leaves of Green' doesn't fit! It doesn't belong on the album. It's a separate song that has little or not connection thematically or musically with any of the music which either precedes of follows it. Without it, The Ancient would have been the in-yer-face-out-there-avant-garde-tour-de-force it should be; with it, it's a cop-out!

Don't mistake me, I think it's a lovely song, very Blakean lyrically with some of Steve's finest guitar work, it just doesn't chime well with all the rest for me.

Other than that, Tales is an absolute gem, the like of which we will never hear again.

A happy and peaceful New Year to you all.

Ash
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby yesman90125 » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:28 pm

I think the album has Pretty much stood the test of time.
It was Pretty Indulgent at the time, but because of the bravery that Yes (especially Steve and Jon) showed at the time (and on CTTE and Relayer)
I think It opened up doors for less comercial works-Tales will allways be a milestone not to be repeated or Reproduced-the Original album was mixed well
however subsequent releases were not done well at all
I believe that Atlantic didn't have much respect for what Yes was doing at the time(as appearantly neither did Rick).To Record Producers Tales Was The Representation of What they hated about Progressive rock-and about musicians having too much power and influence.
however
The latest Re-Master is brilliant.
I put Tales into an editing Program and shortened it a couple of years ago in order to hear what I considered to be the highlights. I also Re-EQ'ed
the sound to more closely represent the original recording
happily with the re-master done in 2003?-(I have it borrowed out at the moment)fixes all the "Muddy" sound of the past Cd issues.
Tales will allways be a historic Album Of high Ideals. certinly some of the lofty scopes of the intent were not fully realized ,but that's the nature of compromise in musicianship.
I love it!
I loved it the first time I heard it
but,It's not exactly the First Cd I'd Put on when hanging around with Friends .more of a personal experiance .
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby The Ancient » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:12 pm

Bravo yesman! Makes me remember my first listen to Tales. I was riding as a front seat passenger with a friend driving from Waco, Texas to College Station, Texas. It is about an hour and a half drive and he had Tales on an 8-Track casette. As with most 8-Tracks, you could hear a bit of bleed through of other tracks here and there, but you could enjoy the entire album straight through. It was 1976 and I was 18. I had recently seen Yes for the first time on the Solos Tour and was a true fan wanting more. Despite the low grade audio in that car, I savored the brilliance of the music. I insisted that we listen to the tape again on the return trip the following day. Windows down. Dirty station wagon. Old Highway 6 out in the Texas countryside. Tales From Topographic Oceans, complete from start to finish. The soundtrack of my life.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby tardistraveler » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:43 pm

coalescestudionyc wrote:How could you POSSIBLY clean to Sound Chaser? You must have gotten a dozen dorm rooms done in that 9+ minutes!


I used to dry hair to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida . . . :rolleyes:
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby tardistraveler » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:53 pm

The Ancient wrote:Bravo yesman! Makes me remember my first listen to Tales. I was riding as a front seat passenger with a friend driving from Waco, Texas to College Station, Texas. It is about an hour and a half drive and he had Tales on an 8-Track casette. As with most 8-Tracks, you could hear a bit of bleed through of other tracks here and there, but you could enjoy the entire album straight through. It was 1976 and I was 18. I had recently seen Yes for the first time on the Solos Tour and was a true fan wanting more. Despite the low grade audio in that car, I savored the brilliance of the music. I insisted that we listen to the tape again on the return trip the following day. Windows down. Dirty station wagon. Old Highway 6 out in the Texas countryside. Tales From Topographic Oceans, complete from start to finish. The soundtrack of my life.



I was in college, and it was a very dark time in my life. At the time, my ex was hospitalized at the local VA hospital - he was suffering from some mental stuff that was not only making life difficult for him, but for our relationship, and I was in a state of rethinking everything about life . . . our relationship, my college path, my future career . . .

The day Tales was released, I bought it at Cats, across the street from the Peabody campus, and immediately took it over to the hospital which was a couple of blocks over. They had a music room on 1st floor that NO one ever used, so we would go down there and play records.

I put on Side 1, not knowing WHAT to expect, and settled back in a nice leather chair that was in the room. I listened quietly to the entire album . . . absorbing every single note . . . awestruck . . .

Tales became my soundtrack as I navigated through the decisions I had to make, and Ritual gave me the hope that in the end, all would be well . . . :)
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby john mccleary » Fri May 09, 2008 3:10 pm

Bread is bread dirt is dirt And Tales is always TALES. [:yes] .
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Chris2210 » Mon Jun 02, 2008 3:45 pm

Sorry, I'm going to do the Bruckner comparison again. It's a decent analogy because in comparison with most Yes music it is heavily concerned with contemplation of the Divine. The symphonies are also very lengthy works. But the key thing here is that he was constantly advised by 'well wishers' to revise them, generally to make them leaner, more concise and less meandering.

It leaves musicologists with the problem that there are at least two versions for most of the symphonies (principally the Haas and Nowak editions). So did Bruckner bow to pressure from those who urged him to make cuts? Most of his revisions were longer than the originals. There are very long, meandering, ruminative passages, but the crescendos are all the more shattering for that.

I suppose you could cut the first seven or eight minutes of the Bolero (after all it's only the same theme repeated over and over) or with the 1812 overture just cut to the chase and have the orchestral (and literal) fireworks with the cannon from the end.

They'd be different (and lesser) pieces of music. And so would Tales.
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