Monday, March 8, 2010
Mozart Concerti with A. Schneider and R. Kirkpatrick
Another great Haydn Society project from the 1950s, this one from 1951, formed around "authentique performance" notions of its time. The music-making itself, however, was informed more by musical than by questionable historical ideas, unlike so much contemporary output, and the performances are quite lovely. Ralph Kirkpatrick plays "a John Challis reproduction of the small late 18th century piano, which gives us an authentic idea lof how this music must have sounded in the composer's time." The string section is comprised of 4 first violins, 3 second violins, 3 violas, 2 cellos, and on bass.
I confess that, authentic or not, the piano here, though nicely played, makes me long for a modern instrument, and later developments in the early music trend, which eventually became a cult, leave me cold. With the exception of Makerras and some few others, contemporary "authentic" performance makes me glad the modern concert grand was developed, that string players replaced gut strings with steel ones, and that women took over treble lines from creepy counter-tenors.
In this record, though, the period piano notwithstanding, the music making is of a very high caliber. It should stand as a rebuke to those who seem to think that playing the notes in reasonable facsimiles of instruments of the time is enough.
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