This volume looks at the symbiotic relationship between the philosophical inquiry into the presuppositions of musical interpretation and the interpretation of particular musical works by musicians. Characteristically, interpreters of music entertain philosophical views about musical interpretation. For example, an interpreter's decision whether to play one or another version of a piece, whether to use one instrument or another, whether to emphasize certain elements, depends in part upon certain convictions of a philosophical nature. An interpreter's resolution of such questions will involve views about what a musical work is--for example, whether it is fully embodied in a score, how strictly all markings should be respected, what pertinence historical research has for interpretations, and how decisive the known or reconstructed intentions of a composer may be. These nineteen previously unpublished essays address a cluster of interrelated questions about the definition, grounds, and nature of musical interpretation. The contributors investigate the aesthetic, cultural, and historical aspects of interpretation as well as fundamental distinctions such as those between a work and its interpretation, musical and non-musical phenomena, and musical meaning and linguistic meaning.
'The detail of many of these arguments is treated with great clarity in this fascinating book. We are not famous as a nation for our interest in ideas ... but an understanding of these essays could influence not just what we think, but what we feel in the presence of music. Read and enjoy.'
Anthony Pryor, BBC Music, March 1994
`The editor's own lucid and thoughtful piece homes in on the central question of whether or not it can be maintained that there is a single ideal interpretation for each musical work.'
Sebastian Gardner, Times Literary Supplement
'This book could unsettle you. It takes us behind the simple "boo" or "hooray" reactions to interpretations and shows us exactly what we are responding to.'
Anthony Pryor, BBC Music