Choral Performance: A Guide to Historical Practice

By Greig, Donald | Musical Times, Autumn 2005 | Go to article overview

Choral Performance: A Guide to Historical Practice


Greig, Donald, Musical Times


Third way Choral performance: a guide to historical practice Steven E. Plank Scarecrow Press (Lanham, Maryland, & Oxford, 2004); viii, 127pp; £16.99 PBK. ISBN °8108 5141 5.

THE early music movement has its own history of which Steven E. Plank's Choral performance represents one of the most recent developments. We are at a stage, he suggests, where 'the focus on questions of "what" have been richly supplemented by questions of "how" and "why".' Questions of 'why' are generally left to critical commentators and historiography: questions of 'how' belong to the realm of performance, and over the past 15 years there has been an increase in specialist performers' guides informed by performance practice studies.

The response of professional early music groups (a monolithic term which covers a range of periods and approaches) to the questions raised has taken two broad directions. Some embrace the lessons and implicit prescriptiveness of musicological research, cloak themselves in the mantle of musicological correctness and bang the authenticity drum. Others point to the impossibility of proving faithful reproduction (particular when it comes to vocal repertoire), underline the gap between theory and practice then and now, and proclaim that selling the music to the modern audience is the sole responsibility.

These issues, it would seem, now confront a new breed of performers of early music - the 'conductors and singers who come to "early music" from the mainstream and perform it in that context '. From this I infer that Plank is addressing primarily amateur performers (or aspiring professionals) rather than specialist professional ensembles. Presumably, then, this means choral groups in colleges and universities, smaller choral societies, and semi-professional ensembles like church choirs (Plank's biography informs us that he has been an Anglican Church musician for 30 years). The first of these seems the most obvious target, not least because the book would be a very useful short cut for essay writing or crammer for revision (Performance Practice 101). Also, sections on instrumental doubling suggest an environment where one might well be able to corral the odd, enthusiastic student into playing cornett for pieces in which instrumental doubling might be an option. Whatever the ensemble, the book will be a useful aid to any conductor who believes that the prerequisite for any early musical performance is a certain amount of history homework.

A musicologist by trade, Plank clearly has a great deal of experience with performance and if this book comes down on any side of the perennial (often imagined) debate between musicology and performance, it is on the side of the latter. Pragmatism, realism and pluralism are the watchwords of his position, yet a cursory glance at this slim volume might lead one to believe that its dense footnotes and thorough bibliography reveal a different agenda. They do not. Instead he is concerned with finding a 'third way' which, like its political counterpart, aims to keep everyone happy. This involves him in a choreography or counterpoint (he uses both metaphors) between the two positions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Choral Performance: A Guide to Historical Practice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.