The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction

The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction

The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction

The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction

Synopsis

This volume offers an up-to-date overview of historical performance, surveying the various current issues (such as the influence of recording) and suggesting possible future developments. Its core comprises discussion of the period performer's myriad primary source materials and their interpretation, the various aspects of style and general technique that combine to make up a well-grounded, period interpretation, and a survey of performance conditions and practices, focusing on the period c. 1700-c. 1900. Many of the principles outlined are illustrated in case studies of works by Bach, Mozart, Berlioz and Brahms.

Excerpt

During the course of little more than a generation historical performance has become part of mainstream musical life in many parts of the world. A number of years have passed since it was subjected to formal scrutiny by Nicholas Kenyon and others in his symposium Authenticityand Early Music (Oxford, 1988) and Howard Mayer Brown, Stanley Sadie and their colleagues in Performance Practice (London, 1989). The numerous important developments since then have yet to be evaluated thoroughly in print, hence the conception of this volume, which offers a concise, newly considered overview of historical performance. It aims to address largely practical matters rather than theoretical or philosophical issues and to guide readers towards further investigation and interpretation of the evidence provided not only in the various instrumental treatises, but also in examples from the mainstream repertory.

The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction has been devised to complement the Cambridge Handbooks to the Historical Performance of Music, a series of short volumes on early music performance which are specific to particular instruments. These handbooks present and interpret evidence from significant primary sources on matters such as technique, style and expression, and (like the present volume) offer suggestions for further reading and study. They also offer guidance on other issues pertinent to the instrument under consideration, including repertory and organology, as well as advice regarding the acquisition of appropriate instruments and accessories. The present volume, however, deals with the more general, large-scale practical issues that need to be addressed in connection with the preparation and execution of performances which are historically informed, yet at the same time individual and vivid. As in each handbook, this volume attempts to put many of the issues discussed into practice by relating them to selected major works c. 1700–c. 1900, the core period which forms the principal (though not exclusive) focus for all these publications.

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