tahrey wrote:I'm pretty sure claiming something such as "remixing makes it worse" - even for something like Beethoven - makes you as bad as any other monocultured narrow mind. Genius as Ludwig was in getting such awesome sounds from the technology of the day, we have access to instruments and techniques that would make him wet his pants if brought forward in a time machine. Whose to say his first step after getting a cochlear implant and a bit of training in Cubase or Protools wouldn't be to remix the glorious 9th and take it to the next level? Or we don't have similar wunderkind alive today who would be able to do similar?
I disagree. I haven't studied Beethoven, but I've taken a musicology class on the 18th century (eg. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, etc.) so I have some ideas to draw on. I wouldn't say that the genius in Beethoven is in getting such awesome sounds from the technology of the day. What makes his music brilliant is the way it uses contrast and motifs and themes and other things to build a symphony that represents so much. Mahler said "a symphony should represent the world". Beethoven's Symphonies were all in the area of 40 minutes or longer, and contain almost no music which is repeated verbatim. His genius wasn't in "using the technology of the day", it was in the content of the symphonies, the actual composition. You have to consider, this man was the standard to which all composers were measured for nearly the next 100 years. In that time "new technology" was developed, but still, no one was held higher than Beethoven.
As far as instruments, very little has been added to the Symphony orchestra since Beethoven's. Sure there is more percussion, and occasionally someone like Rachmaninoff or Ravel would use a saxophone or something, and the English Horn, Bass Clarinet, and Contrabassoon started making more appearances, but the core of the orchestra still hasn't really changed. If these new sounds were truly the secret to being a better composer, one would think that everyone would begin using them (although I guess you could argue that Wagner was a very influential composer and was obsessed with getting new sounds, but none of his new instruments really stuck).
I would disagree that you could remix the 9th to take it to the next level. The 9th does exactly what it was supposed to do. Maybe if he had had access to a saxophone or something he would have used that, but I think that when Beethoven composed the piece, there weren't points at which he thought there were shortcomings. Sure he couldn't really anticipate what would be developed, but I think very few musicologists would look at Beethoven's Symphonies and say, this could be better if it included modern harmonies, what with dissonances to build tension and such. The fact of the matter is, Beethoven knew what he wanted the piece to do, and he did it. If he didn't know what he wanted he would have a very hard time composing it, since he couldn't hear.
I'm not trying to be closed-minded, or say that a remix couldn't be cool, but you have to understand, the man spent months perfecting 70 minutes of music for the 9th, I don't think it could be taken to the next level. I just think that it could be done differently, and might be just as good in that alternate way, but I don't think you'd convince people it was better than how it was supposed to be.
For example: Consider the piece Pictures at an Exhibition. Written initially for piano by Mussorgsky, it's been orchestrated tons of times, and while some orchestrations are more popular, mostly due to tradition, it's hard to say that one master composers orchestration is better than another's. Yet no one is going to redo the piano score of it, because that is how it's supposed to be. The Piano version does what Mussorgsky wanted it to. You may prefer the piano version or the orchestral version depending on your personal tastes, I'm more of and orchestral guy myself, but I wouldn't say that moving it to the orchestra is "taking it to the next level".
That's just my two cents. Hope I don't sound like a jerk, I'm just explaining my view on it.
Edit: @Namaps, I have to completely agree with your first point. I have thought to myself and mentioned to friends many time how interesting it is that classical and jazz are the only types of music that sound better in person than on a recording. Also, with regard to your signature, Bass Trombone kicks ass. I play it in my University Symphony Orchestra. Woot Woot.