I agree with Charles Dalmas. I've been also called a barbarian even
for liking Karl Richter's Messiah. There's a great prejudice about the
historical value of the performing on ancient instruments. In those
aspects concerning instrumental sound, general pitch, tune, and tempo,
purism is stupid, because, strictly speaking, it's impossible.
Musicologists often seems to know what they really only suppose. We still
have problems with the meaning of some signs in written music, and we
pretend to know how was the truly sound of an eghteenth century orchestra,
of which there aren't but a few real reference points?. It's true, indeed,
that some recordings made with original instruments have a "nice" sound,
but that's the quid, I can appreciate them only under the most hedonistic
point of view. Considering other aspects, I am, unfortunately, an
agnostic: I think impossible and useless to reconstruct the "real sound"
of ancient periods fully; not only because of the little historical
evidence available, but because it's also impossible to reconstruct the
ancient listener: If we had to play that music with all its known
historical circumstances (lazy tuning standards, ill trained players, etc.)
we should find it awful. The baroque bow, then, seems to be much more
useful than the modern one to make fire in the old indian fashion. But,
certainly, I prefer to light the cigarette with my good old Zippo.
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