From Gregorian chant to Bach's Brandenburg Concerti, the music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods is both beautiful and intriguing, expanding our horizons as it nourishes our souls. In this Very Short Introduction, Thomas Forrest Kelly provides not only a compact overview of the music itself, but also a lively look at the many attempts over the last two centuries to revive it. Kelly shows that the early-music revival has long been grounded in the idea of spontaneity, of excitement, and of recapturing experiences otherwise lost to us--either the rediscovery of little-known repertories or the recovery of lost performing styles, with the conviction that, with the right performance, the music will come to life anew. Blending musical and social history, he shows how the Early Music movement in the 1960s took on political overtones, fueled by a rebellion against received wisdom and enforced conformity. Kelly also discusses ongoing debates about authenticity, the desirability of period instruments, and the relationship of mainstream opera companies and symphony orchestras to music that they often ignore, or play in modern fashion.
When this book was announced, the only question was whether it would be any good. The answer, emphatically, is yes, and the author addresses both specialist readers and newcomers. - The Independent
"This introduction may be 'short' but it's packed with good stuff. Authoritative, surprisingly comprehensive for its size, and presented with all of Professor Kelly's usual grace, wit, and clarity."--Paul Hillier, founding director, The Hilliard Ensemble, and former director, Early Music Institute, Indiana University
"Smart opinions and a coherent overview of what many still consider a Very Contentious Topic. Professor Kelly offers historical perspective, not only on the music itself, but the long trail of interpreters who preceded the more recent Revival, plus a very astute recognition that present ideas could soon seem as dated as those of Beecham and Stokowski -- or Mozart and Mendelssohn. Not only is Professor Kelly's heart in the right place, but his ears and brain
seem to be more correctly connected than usual in the polemical world of early music."--Christopher Hogwood, emeritus director, Academy of Ancient Music
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1: What is Meant by "Early Music"?
Chapter 2: Repertories: Medieval
Chapter 3: Repertories: Renaissance
Chapter 4: Repertories: Baroque
Chapter 5: Performing Issues
Chapter 6: A Very Short History of the Modern Early Music Revival