Why do we feel the need to perform music in a historically informed style? Is this need related to wider cultural concerns? In this 2002 study, John Butt sums up debates on the nature of the early music movement and historically informed performance, calling upon a seemingly inexhaustible fund of ideas gleaned from historical musicology, analytic philosophy, literary theory, historiography and theories of modernism and postmodernism. He develops the critical views of both supporters and detractors of the movement, while claiming ultimately that it has more intellectual and artistic potential than its detractors may have assumed. He also asks whether the phenomenon of historically informed performance reflects changes in the culture of western music and how it, in turn, may have influenced that culture, particularly in regard to such issues as the status of the composer, the work, intentionality and notation.
• A polemical discussion of the 'early music debate' • A seminal study from one of the most informed scholar-performers in the field • Butt's previous books for Cambridge have been among the best-selling in the music list
Preface; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Part I. Historically Informed Performance in Music Criticism: 1. Joining the historical performance debate; Part II. Historically Informed Performance and the Implications for Work, Composer and Notation: 2. Historical performance and 'truth to the work': history and the subversion of Platonism; 3. Historical performance and 'truth to the composer': rehabilitating intention; 4. Negotiating between work, composer and performer: rewriting the story of notational progress; Part III. Historically Informed Performance within the Culture of the Late Twentieth Century: 5. Historical performance at the crossroads of modernism and postmodernism; 6. 'A reactionary wolf in countercultural sheep's clothing?' - historical performance, the heritage Industry and the politics of revival; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
'Playing with History carries with it the strength of a seminal work.' Classical Music
'Few are better qualified than Butt to tackle this subject. His book is stimulating, thought provoking, rounded and readable … music students of all denominations should be encouraged to red this thorough yet economical discussion of these important contemporary issues.' The Strad