Reviving Idiosyncrasies

Bernard D. Sherman

in Inside Early Music

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195169454
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865017 | DOI:
Reviving Idiosyncrasies

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Since the 1960s, John Eliot Gardiner has spent much of his career conducting two groups he founded in his native England, the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Chorus. It has become obvious, though, that to categorize him as an English choral conductor and early music specialist would be unfair. Not only was he conducting opera at Sadler’s Wells in 1969; he has performed alongside such composers as Georges Bizet and Emmanuel Chabrier with the opera of Lyon (whose orchestra he founded), and he has more recently turned his attention to even later music. Concerning the use of early instruments in Romantic music, some observers have dismissed experiments in this field as simple empire-building by the historical-performance movement. Yet Hector Berlioz himself wrote that “at no period in the history of music has there been greater mention made of instrumentation” than in his own. This chapter presents an interview with Gardiner on Berlioz and Johannes Brahms, 19th century music, orchestras and period instruments, the use of violins, tone color in music, and the use of vibrato and portamento.

Keywords: John Eliot Gardiner; Hector Berlioz; Johannes Brahms; classical music; opera; period instruments; violins; tone color; vibrato; portamento

Chapter.  6501 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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