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Classical 101

When is a Young Musician 'Ready' to Play Certain Compositions?

Composer/pianist Scott Kirby was an itinerant musician based in New Orleans, when he was given the opportunity to record Scott Joplin's music... all of it.  It was a huge undertaking.  Some years later, he recorded it all again. In a subsequent conversation, I asked the obvious question.  Why?  He told me he had reached a point in his career that he felt there was more to be discovered in Joplin's music. This is not a new phenomenon.  Yo Yo Ma has multiple recordings of Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suites.  I'm certain you know of other examples, as well. So were either of these musicians "too young" to record that music the first time?  Should they have waited until they had sufficient "life experience" to record certain things?  Some musicians I know say there are certain pieces you shouldn't tackle too early in your career, even if you have the technical skills to do so.  Others say hearing the different perspectives on a work is enlightening. Another question is the environment in which music is played.  Much of Bach's music was written for worship services, but his instrumental music was often played in a coffee house, where you can bet people weren't sitting quietly on their hands.  Ditto Johann Strauss, Jr., whose music usually involved dances and special events.  When Handel's Water Music was played by an orchestra floating down the river, you can bet the party was on! Nathaniel Chaitken, one of the four cellists in ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, as well as many other musicians, like to take music to where people are, rather than wait for the audience to come them. Nathaniel asks the question, do we give classical music "Too Much Respect?"