Why do we feel the need to perform music in a historically informed style? Is this need related to wider cultural concerns? In this challenging study, John Butt sums up recent debates on the nature of the early music movement, calling upon a seemingly inexhaustible fund of ideas gleaned from historical musicology, analytic philosophy, literary theory, historiography and theories of modernism and postmodernism. He develops the critical views of both supporters and detractors, claiming ultimately that it has more intellectual and artistic potential than its detractors may have assumed.
John Butt is the Gardiner Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow, having previously been a lecturer in music at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of King's College. He is the author of Bach Interpretation (1990), Bach: Mass in B Minor (1991), Music Education and the Art of Performance in the German Baroque (1994) and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Bach (1997), all published by Cambridge University Press. He is also a highly acclaimed harpsichordist and organist and has recorded 10 CDs for Harmonia Mundi, France.
Preface; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Part I. Historically Informed Performance in Music Criticism: 1. Joining the historical performance debate; Part II. Historically Informed Performance and the Implications for Work, Composer and Notation: 2. Historical performance and 'truth to the work': history and the subversion of Platonism; 3. Historical performance and 'truth to the composer': rehabilitating intention; 4. Negotiating between work, composer and performer: rewriting the story of notational progress; Part III. Historically Informed Performance within the Culture of the Late Twentieth Century: 5. Historical performance at the crossroads of modernism and postmodernism; 6. 'A reactionary wolf in countercultural sheep's clothing?' - historical performance, the heritage Industry and the politics of revival; Notes; Bibliography; Index.