Friday, January 20, 2012

What next?

What next? Let's go back in time to the Baroque era (1600 to 1750) and Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. Choosing music from this era is complicated by two different approaches. Purists insist that the music is authentic which means being played on traditional instruments. Others, less hidebound, have a more open mind. In the early days of authentic recordings the results could be truly awful as few musicians had the technical skills to master early instruments. But increasingly these instruments are now played with panache by a growing number of specialist performers.

Getting the sound right (in so far as that is ever possible when reproducing music from an era without recorded music) for some is just the beginning. Baroque music can seem cold and clinical - more like an exercise in advanced mathematics than audio art, but this is how a number of experts think it should be. Whilst some interpretation and colour is inevitable, there are those who will go to great lengths to avoid the 'cankerous growth of romanticism' as Gustav Leonhardt put it.

After a bit of research, I'm going for a middle way. I want to experience something of the 'original sound' but I don't want a dull, flat recording.

Trevor Pinnock, a highly respected harpsichordist, in 2008 put together a group of renowned Baroque performers and then had a rollickingly good time in the studio producing an outstanding CD (AV2119 - £13.99 from Amazon).

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