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Early Recordings and Musical Style: Changing Tastes in Instrumental Performance, 1900-1950 [Paperback]

Robert Philip

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Book Description

Aug. 19 2004 0521607442 978-0521607445
Until recently, early recordings were regarded as little more than old-fashioned curiosities by musicians. Scholars and musicians now are beginning to realise their importance as historical documents which preserve the performance of composers and the musicians with whom they worked. In this fascinating study, Robert Philip argues that recordings of the early twentieth-century provide an important and hitherto neglected resource in the history of musical performance. The book concentrates on aspects of performance which underwent the greatest change in the early twentieth century, including rhythm, rubato, vibrato, and portamento. The final chapters explore some of the implications of these changes, both for the study of earlier periods and for the understanding of our own attitudes to the music of the past.

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..".a gold mine of performance-practice source material that he uses not only as a demonstration of how radically performance style has changed in the twentieth century, but also as a case study in the nature of our understanding and interpretation of performance-practice documentation in general. Philip's book is, indeed, nothing short of revolutionary....This is a book that no one with an interest in musical performance style can afford to overlook." Douglas Leedy, Performance Practice Review

Book Description

In this fascinating study, Robert Philip argues that recordings of the early twentieth-century provide an important, and hitherto neglected, resource in the history of musical performance.

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First Sentence
The three chapters in Part I are about the most fundamental aspect of musical performance, rhythm, from the basic tempo, and the extent to which it changes within a movement, to the detailed relationship between one note and another. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Evidence Mounts Up Jan. 14 2006
By R. Chevalier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For what it does, this is an excellent study. Who else would take the time to document in utmost metronomic detail the subtle shifts of tempo in a wide variety of compositions, performed by an extremely varied group of performers so that we can now have a 'performance practice' of early 20th century performers instead of just that of the 16th-18th centuries and earlier?

This book will give back-up to those present day performers who recognize the need for extricating concepts of tempo from the limitations of the late 20th century which Philip discusses in this book and for re-creating in modern interpretations the tempo rubato taken for granted in the late 19th century, to say nothing of earlier centuries.

The reader certainly does not have to agree with all his conclusions to recognize that Philip has done his chosen task very, very well indeed.

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