Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance / Edition 1

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Over the last dozen years, the writings of Richard Taruskin have transformed the debate about "early music" and "authenticity." Text and Act collects for the first time the most important of Taruskin's essays and reviews from this period, many of which now classics in the field. Taking a wide-ranging cultural view of the phenomenon, he shows that the movement, far from reviving ancient traditions, in fact represents the only truly modern style of performance being offered today. He goes on to contend that the movement is therefore far more valuable and even authentic than the historical verisimilitude for which it ostensibly strives could ever be. These essays cast fresh light on many aspects of contemporary music-making and music-thinking, mixing lighthearted debunking with impassioned argumentation. Taruskin ranges from theoretical speculation to practical criticism, and covers a repertory spanning from Bach to Stravinsky. Including a newly written introduction, Text and Act collects the very best of one of our most incisive musical thinkers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is not a book, it's an education, and a joyous one. Richard Taruskin's stylistic flair and incisive wit make it an endless pleasure to pick his fertile brain."—James R. Oestreich, Classical Music Editor, The New York Times

"This deliciously readable collection by America's most brilliant musicologist is a model of how to think independently, even before that becomes fashionable, and of how to articulate values, even after that becomes unfashionable. When other books on music are forgotten, Taruskin's essays, like those of Berlioz and Tovey, will be savored and relished as the best musical writing of their time."—Rose Rosengard Subotnik, Professor of Music, Brown University

"Little escapes his sharp eye, and his incisive commentary spans developments from the Middle Ages to the present era. The author is sometimes whimsical, often bitingly critical, occasionally self-indulgent, and always provocative. Highly recommended."—Library Journal

"Should be consulted by everyone interested in the performance of old music."—Choice

"Taruskin's prose is remarkably readable, and the content is very thought-provoking. He readdresses old concerns (tempo, authenticity) in a most refreshing way."—Dr. Gary Miller, Southeast Missouri State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195094589
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 1,516,217
  • Lexile: 1470L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 6.12 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

University of California, Berkeley
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Table of Contents

Author's Note
Introduction: Last Thoughts First 3
1 On Letting the Music Speak for Itself 51
2 The Limits of Authenticity: A Contribution 67
3 Down with the Fence 83
4 The Pastness of the Present and the Presence of the Past 90
5 What - or Where - Is the Original? 155
6 The Modern Sound of Early Music 164
7 Tradition and Authority 173
8 The New Antiquity 202
9 Resisting the Ninth 235
10 An Icon for Our Time 263
11 A Mozart Wholly Ours 273
12 Old New Instruments, New Old Tempos 292
13 Backslide or Harbinger? 298
14 Facing up, Finally, to Bach's Dark Vision 307
15 The Crooked Straight and the Rough Places Plain 316
Antiquarian Innocence
16 Report from Lincoln Center: The International Josquin Festival-Conference, 21-25 June 1971 322
17 The Price of Literacy, or, Why We Need Musicology 344
18 High, Sweet, and Loud 347
19 Text and Act 353
Full Circle
20 Stravinsky Lite Even "The Rite" 360
Index 369
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