The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction by Robin Stowell, Colin Lawson

By Robin Stowell, Colin Lawson

This quantity deals an updated review of ancient functionality, surveying many of the present matters (such because the effect of recording) and suggesting attainable destiny advancements. Its middle contains dialogue of the interval performer's myriad basic resource fabrics and their interpretation, many of the facets of favor and common procedure that mix to make up a well-grounded, interval interpretation, and a survey of functionality stipulations and practices, targeting the interval c. 1700-c. 1900. a number of the ideas defined are illustrated in case experiences of works by way of Bach, Mozart, Berlioz and Brahms.

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Geminiani writes constantly about expressing the passions: ‘The intention of musick is not only to please the ear,’ he claims, ‘but to express sentiments, strike the imagination, affect the mind, and command the passions. 29 Forte and piano, for example, were used ‘to produce the same effects that an orator does by raising and lowering his voice’,30 and the finer points of articulation, ornamentation and expression, including realisation of a composer’s rhetorical approach to the craft of composition, were vital constituents of ‘good execution’.

The period during which some of the most extravagant ‘performing editions’ appeared and were most readily accepted was around the middle of the nineteenth century, when many fêted virtuosos and teachers simply up-dated earlier music to suit organological and technical developments. g. tempo markings, dynamics, phrasing, fingering and pedalling). The products of such editorial high-handedness more closely approximated arrangements than editions, resulting in performers being deceived into seeing early music through the eyes of someone quite other than the composer.

Nevertheless, they constitute valuable sources of information about the technique, style and performing practices of their era. It was as a reaction to such ‘performing editions’ that a vogue for Urtext (‘original text’) editions was started in the late nineteenth century. The Urtext concept had arguably taken root earlier in the work of such musical antiquarians as Charles Burney and Samuel Arnold, whose unsuccessful attempts to create a complete Handel edition set high standards of source fidelity; but it was doubtless prompted further by a parallel trend set by the Bach-Gesellschaft in 1851 with the first of its historical editions devoted to the complete works of J.

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