Its performing traditions lost to time, early music has become the subject of significant controversy across the world of classical music and presents numerous challenges for musicians, composers, and even listening audiences. The studies of instruments and notes on early manuscript pages may help to restore early music to its intended state, yet the real process is interpretive, taking place within performers themselves. This book is about historical performance practice in its broadest sense. The book begins by identifying the most common performing styles, using and comparing sound recordings from the past. To help musicians distinguish between Period and Romantic styles, the book engages with the most current and controversial topics in the field in defining the differences between them. Throughout, it presents many compelling arguments for using pre-Romantic values as inspiration to re-examine and correct Romantic assumptions about performance.
From Werktreue and the Urtext imperative to formality in ritualized performances and authenticity as an industry standard, this book offers straightforward explanations of the most significant questions in the field. Two chapters compare Baroque expression through rhetoric and gestural phrasing to the Romantic concept of autobiography in notes. The book argues that performances are more pleasing and convincing to contemporary performers and listeners not through the attempt to return to the past, but rather by endeavoring to revive as best we can the styles and techniques that originally produced the music.
Oxford University Press (2007)