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3425RE: [norse_course] sequentia

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  • Lewis, Raymond J.
    Aug 3, 2003
      -----Original Message-----
      From: haukurth@...
      To: norse_course@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: 8/3/2003 10:23 AM
      Subject: Re: [norse_course] sequentia

      Hi, Dan!

      This exchange is only marginally on-topic but I hope
      no-one minds our discussing Sequentia a bit more.

      Come now - if you're going to be a moderator then you had better
      deliberate a bit more carefully on your verdicts. I like the fact
      that you and smiley keep the sex chat out of the discussion - unlike
      other, public groups. Still, your judgements can be annoying to the
      Aquarius in me.

      Dan is making a very good point about PRONOUNCEMENTS on Old Norse
      PRONUNCIATION. There's a number of you guys, out there, who either now
      talk, or have talked about ON pronunciation like its some static thing. Now
      don't even start up with how you'all make it clear that language is fluid
      and ever-changing. I recognize that you do state this as a fact, still, your
      left hand does not communicate well with your right and pronouncements tend
      to border on the ludicrously fixed. I can meet people on the bus today that
      have such a drastically different accent from me that I can scarcely
      understand about half of what they be talking about - and they were born and
      raised but 500 miles from my present location within the sphere of
      homogenous and all pervasive media coverage dominated by a West Coast accent
      (like which I have). It looks as if some
      people are so desperate to recreate the past that they are willing to
      sacrifice the obvious in it's attainment.

      Still, with that said, efforts to recreate the past are not in vain and
      we must applaud efforts to conserve some of what has been needlessly
      lost. My request is that you not get all picky and petty about what you've
      found and try to blanket the world with it. It turns truly useful
      information into something more like propaganda.

      This is where Sequentia comes in. They did claim the music to be based
      upon an extrapolation of the musical traditions of Medieval Iceland and
      did claim that significant efforts were made to recreate both the music
      and speech of the time and place. With this in mind, it is obvious that
      the inhabitants of Modern Iceland are in a better position to evaluate
      Sequentia's claims than the rest of us. Therefore, I can't say that any
      of us should fault Haukur and Oskar for their naturally biased evaluations.
      It's the bias that we're counting on to give us information not available
      from any other source.

      We need to be aware of the biases of others as well as our own - otherwise,
      we're bound to get a rather distorted view of the world past and present.


      > I doubt this CD was recorded with the
      > intent of making it into an academic exercise on reconstructing a sung
      > version of the "Edda" as it was performed in mediaeval Iceland.

      I'm sure it is nowhere explicitly stated but that's
      the impression many people seem to be getting.

      > It is a modern artistic expression
      > of an old text, not more no less.

      Certainly. But why would they do all this research
      if their goal wasn't, at least partially, to reconstruct

      > To criticize it under this aspect does not do the craftsmanship and
      > effort justice that was put into it.

      The aspect we were asked (by more than one person)
      to criticize was the accuracy of the pronunciation.
      As I said two years ago:

      "Obviously the members of Sequentia are musicians
      (not linguists) and they will have to be judged for the quality
      of their music. I don't know much of anything about music so
      you shouldn't take my comments about it very seriously."

      As for accuracy of pronunciation we found it mostly absent.

      > And how would you know how the Edda was performed in the first place?
      > Were you there? Even darwing conclusions from modern Icelandic,
      > and Norwegian traditional folk music doesn't really help, because
      > performace and musical styles develop and change over time at least as
      > much as language does.

      Even so, later Icelandic and Faroese folk songs would surely
      be a better approximation than, say, traditional Japanese music
      or modern opera. And this criticism was founded on their own
      claims. They said they'd listened to a whole lot of traditional
      Nordic music - yet I hardly heard a trace of that in their
      performance. Neither did Óskar.

      But it so happens that now we do have someone on this list
      who is much better qualified to judge Sequentia's music.
      Konrad, what do you think?

      By all means, don't let me ruin your enjoyment of the music.
      I keep giving the impression that I hated this CD but that's
      not the case at all. I enjoyed some of the melodies. I'd even
      like to own it but I'd rather prefer not to pay for it ;-)


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