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Discussion: Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances - Litton

Posts: 39
Page: 1 2 3 4 next

Post by Vaan January 8, 2013 (1 of 39)
From the review by Graham Williams:

"The one disappointment is that the final tam-tam crash is cut off immediately rather than being allowed to gradually die away to silence."

Why was this decision made?

Thomas

Post by seth January 8, 2013 (2 of 39)
Vaan said:

From the review by Graham Williams:

"The one disappointment is that the final tam-tam crash is cut off immediately rather than being allowed to gradually die away to silence."

Why was this decision made?

Thomas

It must be in the score. Most of the performances I've attended and recordings I've heard cut it off.

And yet, it seems like everyone agrees that it sounds better when it is allowed to fully decay on its own.

When I get home from traveling this weekend I'm going to go to the library and see what the score actually says.

Post by hiredfox January 9, 2013 (3 of 39)
seth said:

It must be in the score. Most of the performances I've attended and recordings I've heard cut it off.

And yet, it seems like everyone agrees that it sounds better when it is allowed to fully decay on its own.

When I get home from traveling this weekend I'm going to go to the library and see what the score actually says.

Litton is scrupulous on observing these points.

Post by Vaan January 9, 2013 (4 of 39)
Finally found my score from State Music Moscow.

In the last chord all instruments play an eight note, a quaver. Except the tam-tam which has a dotted quarter note, a quaver. This means that the tam-tam shall sound at least three times longer. There are no indicatons that it shall die out though.

Post by seth January 9, 2013 (5 of 39)
Vaan said:

Finally found my score from State Music Moscow.

In the last chord all instruments play an eight note, a quaver. Except the tam-tam which has a dotted quarter note, a quaver. This means that the tam-tam shall sound at least three times longer. There are no indicatons that it shall die out though.

Thanks for taking the time to look it up (saves me a trip to the library).

There's always a chance that the publisher bothced this, or Rachmaninov changed something after it went to publication -- either way, some orchestra librarians and conductors might have access to a more authoritative source than others.

I also think that some conductors make the choice to overmark the dynamics on the tam-tam so that it takes longer for the sound to decay (e.g. Gardiner).

Post by krisjan January 9, 2013 (6 of 39)
Interesting discussion. It seems to come down to one of two things: either the recording engineer chopped the tam tam at the end (doubtful IMO) or Maestro Litton chose to conduct it that way (most likely). If the latter, perhaps Robert can get Maestro Litton (a member of this forum) to chime in on this. Horses mouth and all...

Post by Links January 9, 2013 (7 of 39)
Found this in an errata PDF

http://www.mola-inc.org/erratas/Rach_SymphDances.pdf

"Rachmaninoff Tam-tam
There is a divergence of opinion on the length of the final tam-tam stroke on the last note of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances. The majority of performances I've heard let the tam-tam ring well past the rest of the orchestra's final eighth-note, but there are quite a few who cut it off rather abruptly. The score has the indication "laisser vibrer" three bars from the end. The question is whether the "laisser vibrer" applies to all the strokes in these three bars, or just the one note where it is marked.
---------------------
I have seen the original set of parts for this work. The last note in the tam-tam part had the "curved slur to nowhere ie Let Ring" after the note to emphasise that the player left it ring until the sound died. This was the set used for the premier with Ormandy in 1941. A different set was used for the Ormandy recording in 1960 so that may have been marked differently.
Clinton F. Nieweg"

Post by seth January 9, 2013 (8 of 39)
Links said:

Found this in an errata PDF

http://www.mola-inc.org/erratas/Rach_SymphDances.pdf

"Rachmaninoff Tam-tam
There is a divergence of opinion on the length of the final tam-tam stroke on the last note of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances. The majority of performances I've heard let the tam-tam ring well past the rest of the orchestra's final eighth-note, but there are quite a few who cut it off rather abruptly. The score has the indication "laisser vibrer" three bars from the end. The question is whether the "laisser vibrer" applies to all the strokes in these three bars, or just the one note where it is marked.
---------------------
I have seen the original set of parts for this work. The last note in the tam-tam part had the "curved slur to nowhere ie Let Ring" after the note to emphasis that the player left it ring until the sound died. This was the set used for the premier with Ormandy in 1941. A different set was used for the Ormandy recording in 1960 so that may have been marked differently.
Clinton F. Nieweg"

The plot thickens.

Someone who lives in Philadelphia needs to go to the University of Pennsylvania where Ormandy's scores have been archived and see if he had any notes in his copy that might shed light on this.

Post by Polly Nomial January 9, 2013 (9 of 39)
This is fascinating stuff - if someone in the Philhadelphia region could do so, it would be marvellous! Great find indeed - thanks.

Post by Vaan January 9, 2013 (10 of 39)
In my score the Laizzes vibrer is 10 bars from the end, not three. I think the Laizzes vibrer corresponds to the three tam-tam strokes bars 10 to 8 from the end. The last two bars begin with a dotted quarter note rest, quaver, which suggest that the tam should be silent at the beginning of the last two bars.

And then there´s tradition.

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