The End of Early Music: A Period Performer's History of Music for the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – Aug 28 2007
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"'Early Music' (with its off-putting "scare-quotes") is dead; long live early music! Reading the mature reflections of one of the 'Early Music Movement's' important revolutionaries about the panorama of performing styles in today's musical world is both a pleasure and a challenge. Mr. Haynes's breadth and depth of learning and observation is admirable, but more important is his clear-minded yet passionate formulation of an artistic vision of creative musicianship for our time."--Stephen Stubbs, Northwest Center for Early Music Studies
"From one of the brightest lights in the field of baroque music comes yet another indispensable book. Only Haynes, a performer of great sensitivity and dedication to the 'project' of historical performance, only Haynes, a scholar of alacrity and dynamism, only Haynes, who for over thirty years has never stopped interrogating what we are doing when we approach the past in performance, only Haynes could have written a brilliant book for early music in the new millennium. It is thoughtful, iconoclastic, tender, and honest. This is the new Quantz-obligatory reading for everyone who cares about early music."--Kate van Orden, performer on historical instruments and Professor, University of California, Berkeley
"Haynes has made a series of subtle and important points for all listeners, musicians, all artists and potentially all art in fact, very well.... If you have anything but the most casual interest in music before 1800 and its most proper and effective performance, then this readable and well-argued book, which has a great balance of technical and non-technical illustrations for the practicing musician and listener alike, should not be ignored. Thoroughly recommended."--Mark Sealey, Classical Net
About the Author
Recently retired as a performer, Bruce Haynes worked for many years in Holland. He introduced the hautboy into the Dutch music curriculum, teaching at the Royal Conservatory. Currently, he is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Music at the University of Montreal. He has published widely on the history of the oboe and performing pitch standards.
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All in all, a great book!
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Plus, near and dear to my heart is the section on modern period composition and the mention of Vox Saeculorum, a modern guild for period composers. The future of "early" music is definitely moving forward, probably in ways that many have never dreamt of....
Part I of the book is brilliant. Haynes outlines what he discerns as the three successive styles of playing early music in the 20th century. The grand romantic manner, with its swooping portamento and rhythmic liberties, was a carry-over from the previous century. In reaction to this, and influenced by the "objectivist" aesthetic of Stravinsky, a new "Modernist" style developed in the 1930's that was extremely precise, literalistic, and emotionally detached (this is the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields variety of baroque performance). This style, stiff, mechanical, lacking in inflection, was far worse than Romantic Baroque; Haynes considers it an analogue to the mechanized standardization of the Industrial Revolution. The 1960's saw the beginnings of the Period Style which is now practiced by HIP musicians all over the world. Haynes further divides Period Style into two trends -Straight Style (or "Modern Lite", as he calls it), and the Eloquent Style, which Haynes feels represents the true baroque aesthetic.
As a historical performance student and performer, I am in fundamental agreement with Haynes' ideas, even if I have quibbles with certain particulars. Although the book has "early music" in the title, it is pretty much limited to baroque music, Haynes' area of specialization; Haynes does not make it clear how much of what he says is also applicable to Renaissance or Classical music. Moreover, it is hardly a "history of music", as the subtitle proclaims, but rather a history of musical interpretation from the romantic era to the present with the baroque era as the point of reference.
At times Haynes could have chosen his words better. As a Catholic, I was dismayed by the language he used in comparing the romantic concert to religious ritual in the chapter "Classical Music's Coarse Caress": "Music of this type thus risks becoming liturgy, UNTHINKING AND UNPROVOCATIVE [my emphasis]...Ritual actions are those that, because they are often repeated, lose the meaning they once possessed, and become automatic". I don't know what Haynes' religious convictions are, but he should have chosen his words more carefully here so as not to offend.
Haynes seems unwilling to give the 19th century any credit whatsoever, and occasionally his claims left me with some questions. For instance, he claims that the 19th-century bred a literalistic approach to the score along with the idea of the performer as mere "executant" of the composer's wishes. But how is this to be squared with the notion of romantic performers using compositions as vehicles for soul-searching personal expression? Elsewhere Haynes rails against the idea of canonism, or playing an exclusive list of compositions by "dead composers". But surely it was precisely romanticism's rejection of the ephemeral music-making of previous eras that allowed the early music revival to take place? On one occasion, Haynes seems blatantly to contradict himself. On p. 220 he criticizes HIP performances of Beethoven and romantic music for not sounding like the recordings of the early years of the 20th century, while earlier on the same page he had suggested that those early recordings don't represent an authentic Beethovenian performing style to begin with.
Other complaints I had were in the niceties of style. Haynes has developed a whole lexicon of names for the concepts he describes (Eloquent Style, Strait Style) and for the most part they work nicely (though the term "musicking" strikes me as silly). But he frequently refers to "Classical music" when it's clear he means "classical music" (the capital "C" indicates the Classical style period, whereas the lower-case "c" indicates "serious" or "art" music). Haynes' tone is informal, to the point of writing "kids" instead of "children" and "paper" instead of "newspaper". In general, the book could have been more carefully edited.
All in all, this is an important and very readable book on the fascinating subject of musical interpretation.
Since reading Haskell's survey of the history of the Early Music Revival, I'm returning to this book and seeing it thru new eyes. The little zingers are still irritating, and the choice of musical examples (which you need to either own or track down or subscribe to) date the book (2007). But the premise is becoming more valid with every day as more and more performers are speaking this particular musical dialect natively and without coming to it from some other one (20C "classical" music dialect). The book addresses the full spectrum of issues in performance of the repertoire carefully and thoughtfully, especially from the basis of a long life of involvement with performance. So one finds chapters dealing with instruments, ornaments, sources, etc.
The point size of the font is very small, there is a lot of text to chew on and for middle-aged eyes it might be some work to do so, but give it a try. I believe the book is not intended for anything like a straight-thru reading.
How and why do 'schools' of musical interpretation develop over a period and then transform into something different? You will be left thinking about this and other related topics when you have read and absorbed this book.Julian Mincham