Sketches from Michele Trenti's essays

Composers – Performers

Appunti di Michele Trenti

Until the end of the XIX century, cases of major composers who were not also performers skilled at playing an instrument were rare. Among the exceptions were Berlioz, Wagner, and Schoenberg, all radical innovators, certainly also because of a more critically filtered assimilation of languages inherited. Today, at most, we find composer-directors, a description which does not have the same meaning for the purposes of the following considerations. Indeed, if it is true that the practice of making music, and the routine that often goes with it, can lead to uniformly impersonal positions and the use of materials whose meaning has been trivialized by the constant use, it would be desirable to reduce the excessive distance between composition and performance that is created in classical music. I say this in the knowledge that, in the musical world, the need for extreme specialization has made it particularly difficult for musician to cultivate different skills. Among other things, it has been noted that training in improvisation has almost completely disappeared, either due to an intellectualist bent towards music or by the tradition of perfect execution that makes practically unbearable the inevitable inaccuracies that are part of improvisation. Instead, this practice can have fruitful consequences on the musical thought of those who devote themselves to it.