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Editorial Musings with Basil Ramsey

From Wagner to Bach


A long journey in performance practice

The now well-secured expansion of early music scholarship and performance is beginning to slacken off in interest with the average listener, as I suppose is the case when a period in artistic terms eventually slots into the general picture. Nevertheless, the vivacity of this repertory became evident as players took much of it for regular performance. And this was startlingly evident when the flow of authentic treatment became applied as the norm rather than exception.

Artistic expression -- the hub of performance -- seems generally to have gained more from this ongoing experience than might be expected in terms of interpretation. The 'early music' perception in performance has an effect that gently irradiates as a subtle restoration. It would be ruinous applied deliberately like paint to wood.

This entire world of early music renaissance is supposedly astonishing only to the listener who contemplates to realise that 'early' music has slowly permeated his musical tastebuds over several years, during which time professionals have generally accepted the stylistic apparatus, and absorbed the essential lingua franca for recreating period performance.

Perhaps we do not realise how revolutionary has been the elimination of misperceptions. I can still remember the elephantine efforts of orchestral players (at the Proms) in pumping up the delicacies of Bach concerti to Wagnerian drama.

Copyright © 12 September 2002 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK


After yesterday's remembrance of the tragedy a year ago in New York, Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania, it was demonstration that people everywhere are touched by such events and inwardly grieve for their fellow beings, partially through realisation that they themselves could so easily have been involved.

Music -- as ever -- played a significant part in this remembrance, and we of all people know how it has the power to speak for us, and to do so with expression of the deepest feelings known to Man.


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