Below is a question I posed the other day to Chris and Abby, musician friends of mine, part of research for my novel-in-progress. All here at LiveJournal are, of course, welcomed to comment.
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Chris, here’s a question. Do you see any significant differences in the performances of male and female musicians?
In the news this week there are reports of a study that suggests men and women “differ broadly in their emotional and behavioral patterns, rather than just in a few and comparatively narrow motivational domains such as aggression and sexuality.”
Now, this made me think about why, on a gut level, I greatly prefer a CD of the Berlin Symphony and soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter’s performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto over Heifetz’s playing the same piece with the Boston Symphony.
For one thing, Mutter’s solo begins three minutes and fourteen seconds after the orchestral introduction, whereas Heifetz’s begins after two minutes and fifty-eight seconds. Here are two quite different interpretations of allegro ma non troppo, one significantly faster than the other! Which interpretations, by the way, I’m presuming come from the soloists rather than from the conductor.
I prefer Mutter because she seems more faithful to what I perceive to be Beethoven’s intent, which is to express a deep romantic longing, whereas Heifetz comes across as highly competent and workmanlike but then at the same time he’s rather indifferent and impatient, as if he wants to get through with the performance as quickly as possible.
I’d love to compare your response to the issue of differences between men and women with one that Abby might provide!