"Attractively packaged but unripe fruit": the UK's commercialization of musical history in the 1980s

Lawson, C. (2008) "Attractively packaged but unripe fruit": the UK's commercialization of musical history in the 1980s. Performance Practice Review, 13 (1). ISSN 1044-1638 (print) 2166-8205 (online)

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The decade from 1980 proved to be truly significant in the development of historical performance, as recreations of post-Baroque repertory gradually became the norm. At its close, three complete cycles of Beethoven Symphonies had been recorded on “period” instruments, implicitly demonstrating the complexity of the spectrum between practical expediency and historical accuracy. By 1991, Clive Brown was issuing a timely warning that the pedigree of many of the instruments on these recordings was of doubtful authenticity. The commercially-motivated rush to push period-instrument performance ever more rapidly into the nineteenth century did not offer much hope for the consolidation of historical playing styles. Despite some revelations, he felt that there was infinitely more to historically sensitive performance than merely employing the right equipment, and the public was in danger of being offered “attractively packaged but unripe fruit.” Brown noted an uneasy synthesis between modern baroque style applied to Beethoven alongside modern styles applied to old instruments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Historically informed performance, sound recordings, UK
Subjects: Musical Instruments
Music aesthetics
Music History
Division: Musicology
Depositing User: Ms Katharine Liley
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2019 14:19
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2019 13:50
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5642/perfpr.200813.01.04
URI: http://researchonline.rcm.ac.uk/id/eprint/718

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