The argument about period instruments has raged almost as long as the
instruments themselves have been around. Personally, I think it takes
more than just a budget able to afford the instruments to be successful
at it. Very few people (Trevor Pinnock and the Aston Magna group come
to mind) can do it well.
One thing that people often forget in their quest to hear "How it sounded
to Bach/Mozat/Charpentier, or whoever, is that generally, back then,
orchestras were largely terrible since second and third parts were played
by people who were not skilled enough to play the first part. It wasn't
until the orchestra at Mannheim (in their experimentation) changed all that
be requiring all musicians to be virtuosic.
So, it's not at all how the composers from the past would have heard it
(temperament was different as well). I don't think the recordings would
sell if they were played the way the orchestras were playing them 300 years
ago, or if they were full of mean tone or Werckmeister tuning vicissitudes.
Purists, I have found, are more interested in their own narrow views than
in the betterment of music as a whole (not anyone in particular on the
list, mind you, just purists in general).
I've been called a barbarian for liking the Beecham Messiah. I didn't
appreciate it. comments?
Charles L. L. Dalmas
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