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Written by a leading authority and artist of the historical transverse flute, The Notation Is Not the Music offers invaluable insight into the issues of historically informed performance and the parameters - and limitations - of notation-dependent performance. As Barthold Kuijken illustrates, performers of historical music should consider what is written on the page as a mere steppingstone for performance. Only by continual examination and reexamination of the sources to discover original intent can an early music practitioner come close to authentic performance. The book is published by Indiana University Press.
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Inspiring Essay Ruined By Lifeless Performance
While the author of this essay is passionate about the subject of music, the narrator is completely detached from the topic. The narrator has a habit of emphasizing the main idea in a paragraph, then starting a new paragraph without a breath. It’s confusing and annoying. Add in his mispronunciations—Pur-CELL, HON-dahl, con-CHAIRT-to, among others—and the result is a mismatch between reader and author. The subject is interesting, not just for early music fans, but for all musicians. I’m grateful this essay is available on audio, but getting through it is a chore rather than a pleasure.
- Grantley McDONALD
Harvest of a lifetime's work in music
The Belgian baroque flautist Barthold Kuijken, together with his brothers, violinist Sigiswald and gambist Wieland, is one of the founders of the early music revival in Europe. The first (and only) time I ever heard Barthold Kuijken live, I was floored by the elegance of his playing and the almost infinite spectrum of tone, dynamic and expression that he coaxed out of his instrument. This book was no less illuminating than Kuijken's playing. Based on the author's Doctor of Arts dissertation from the Free University of Brussels (2007), it brings together a lifetime's wisdom and considered reflection on the art of making music, and the necessity of taking seriously what we can know about musical practice in the past. Kuijken knows that we can never replicate past techniques and aesthetics perfectly, but insists that we should try. While the content of the book is very worthwhile, the narration is often painful. The narrator consistently mangles foreign words, even the name of the author. But don't let that put you off listening to this compact and stimulating work.