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
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.