The interpretation between modernism and hermeneutic

From the representation of beauty we have passed to the communication of the most intimate and profound emotions. 

The modernist ideology that guided the interpretation of music in the second half of the twentieth century tried in every way to understand the will and the intentions of the author so that the interpreter would carry them out scrupulously and faithfully. 

Today, in the first half of the following century, this ideology is no longer universally shared, for reasons of a philological, historical, musicological, sociological and neurological nature. 

The interpretation was considered in a self-referential manner and not as a communication goal. 

The interpretation is played on time and dynamics. The choice of timing is a hot topic: the history of interpretation shows us that very rarely the times indicated by the composer are respected, there are significant and even disconcerting differences. 

As an example I bring the case of the Nocturne in D flat major by Chopin Op 27 N. 2 whose time is indicated by the author with a metronome of dotted crotchet = 50. That is an equivalent speed of quaver = 150. 

The history of interpretation tells us that no performer respects this speed: Leschetizky, almost contemporary with Chopin having been born in 1930, goes at the speed of 92; Diémer, born in 1843, at 104; Pachmann, born in 1848, at 92; Rosenthal, born in 1862, at 104; Godowsky, born in 1870, at 92; Hofmann, born in 1876, at 96; Petri, born in 1881, at 100; Koczalski, born in 1876, at 104; Artur Rubinstein at 100; Simon Barer at 72; Sofronitzy at 84; Arrau at 80; Lipatti at 84; Ashkenazy at 88; Pollini to 112. 

Even the signs of dynamics have never been respected. 

As an example I quote the case of the revision of Beethoven's Sonatas: starting from the same Moscheles, who knew Beethoven, to Bülow twenty years later, to d'Albert, to Schnabel each reviewer brought changes to the expression signs. 

Because the interpretation varies constantly. In music there is an absolute truth, that of notes, and a historical truth, that of interpretation. 

The signs that the composer indicates in his work are a way of favoring the level of communication for his contemporaries and not, of course, for another society or another culture, which for the composer is the unknown. 

The problem of interpretation must therefore be seen from the aspect of hermeneutics. 

Hermeneutics (the word dates back to the greek god Hermes) means the transfer of a work of art, born in a certain culture and at a certain historical moment, into another culture and into another historical moment. 

The indications of time that Beethoven gave, for example, were finalized to his public, whose experience of the world was totally different from today's conception of time and space. 

The ideology based on respect for the will and intentions of the composer has now been replaced by implicit dramaturgy, by the representation of the profound myths of man, which are eternal. 

From the representation of beauty we have therefore passed to the communication of the most intimate and profound emotions. 

In the picture the Hermes with Dionysus of Praxiteles (350-330 BC) preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Olympia.

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