SPEAKER: Well, good afternoon, everybody. Welcome. It's my very great pleasure today to be able to welcome Christopher Hogward here to Cornell as an AD White professor at large. Professor Hogwood is one of the major figures in the musical world today. His pioneering work has wrought profound changes to our understanding of the music of the past, and in so doing has immeasurably enriched the musical life of the present.
A musician of exceptional curiosity and intelligence, Christopher Hogward has throughout his career combined the pursuit of artistic excellence with research, experimentation, and original thought. His contributions reach beyond music to the history of instruments and technology, to the visual arts, and to the place of music in society and in education.
Professor Hogward is perhaps best known as one of the most influential exponents of historically informed performance. He was a founding member of the Early Music Consort of London in 1965, and in 1973 established the groundbreaking and internationally acclaimed Academy of Ancient Music, which he directed until 2006 and with whom he made over 200 recordings.
One of the most famous and beloved of those is his award-winning recording of Handel's Messiah made in 1980, which still sets the standard as a definitive performance of the work. And I suspect there are not a few people in this room who actually have that LP and latest CD on their shelves.
Professor Hogwood is also in demand the world over as a conductor of repertoires ranging well beyond early music and reaching deeply into the 20th century. He works regularly with the leading symphony orchestras and opera houses and has held directorships and guest residencies with, among many others, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Basel Kammerorchester, Boston's Handel and Haydn Society, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
A truly international figure, in 2010 he was named the Beijing Music Festival's artist of the year. Equally important as his work as a conductor and keyboard player are his accomplishments and contributions as a scholar. His many articles, books, and editions reveal fresh insights into and make accessible in new ways repertoires ranging from the 20th century Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu, to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, from Felix Mendelssohn to Francesco Geminiani.
Christopher Hogward's superb biography of Handel was published in 1982 with a revised edition in 2007, and typically for him is a book both informative for the professional scholar and richly accessible for the student and general reader. Recognition of Professor Hogward's scholarly achievements has come in the form of numerous prizes and affiliations with many distinguished institutions, including honorary doctorates at the University of Cambridge and the University of Zurich.
The AD White professorship at large at Cornell is the latest in a series of such appointments and awards. Many of Christopher Hogward's activities-- both in a hands-on capacity and in an advisory one-- have been dedicated to making things change. He is a promoter of new ideas, especially when dealing with music and thought from the past.
And I think it's fair to say that he's made the old come to life in myriad new ways. The sheer breadth of his intellectual and cultural reach is reflected in the diversity of the many different arts organizations to whom he gives his time. These include the Terezin Chamber Music Foundation in Boston, the New York Experimental Glass Workshop, London's Research Center for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music, and Cambridge University's Research Center for Musical Performance as Creative Practice.
He is also the co-director of the International Center for Clavichord Studies at Magnano in Italy. Involvements and collaborations such as these speak to Christopher Hogwood's commitment not just to his own art and research, but also importantly to education and especially to the support of younger performers and scholars.
That Christopher Hogwood has graciously accepted the position as AD White professor at large at Cornell presents us with a great opportunity. We all-- students, faculty, community members-- have much to learn from this exceptional musician, scholar, and teacher. And it is a great honor to have him here. His lecture today is entitled, The Past is a Foreign Country-- Why Making Music Matters. Please join me in welcoming Christopher Hogwood.
CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD: Thank you. Thank you very much. It's nice to have that which is always the most embarrassing part of an evening done so elegantly. So thank you very much. And I look at you and I'm sure you're thinking, is he going to have anything to say that we haven't heard 100 times already? And it's usually the problem of one of these sort of launching lectures, particularly with such a distinguished and honorable position here that I thought I'd better set out my stall rather simply and tell you a few things that perhaps were not in that biography, which always makes a life sound incredibly well planned and incredibly successful and everything else.
I won't list disasters, but I will just say that the whole idea of my being a musician was a sort of accident. So I think when I started looking at this horrible threat in front of me of having to earn a living, my earliest ideas were, first of all, I wanted to be an architect. Then I decided I would rather be an archeologist.
And with that in mind, I studied classics and went to Cambridge as a classicist. So Greek and Latin are my only official qualifications. There's not really much musical qualification. While I was there, the most influential person I think that I came across was the professor of music, Thurston Dart.
And it was at that point that I started turning towards ancient music. So everything began with A. I think I must be rather early in my series of incarnations and next time it will be working through the B's. And archeology, I think, was interesting to me because it involved a certain amount of deducing and code breaking and deciphering, which goes, I think, with people who are brought up deciphering Greek and Latin.
But it seemed to be looking backwards and not to a great extent looking for-- it was dead end, in a lot of respects. Classics as a study in those days was offered as a study of the past. And there was not much present, and in those days in Cambridge, not much future. Except, of course, they assured you you would get a very well-paid job in the foreign office and become a diplomat and travel widely at the country's expense. That didn't seem a very good reason for studying two ancient languages.
Architecture was in the same sort of category, I'm afraid, then in the 60s. It looked to the future and didn't have much time for the past. Ancient music seemed a much better bet. And the stimulus to me for taking it as a serious way of filling all those empty hours in my day was really seeing how professor Thurston Dart demonstrated that it was both possible to be an academic musician and a practical musician.
On the whole, those two aspects of music were quite severely segregated in England in the 60s. Those people who could play did play and went and studied at an Academy or one of the colleges of music in London and played an instrument and took great pride in never opening a book.
Others went to a university department and studied musicology, which very rarely, if ever, asked you to show any signs of being capable of performing or possibly even judging a performance. It was really calculated on the number of footnotes you could quote. And this has changed. I know it's a familiar description.
But I think that the balancing up of these two lives was first demonstrated, as far as I could see, by Thurston Dart. And it had to be done in such a way in those days that the other side didn't know there was something slightly disgraceful at playing truant if you were a Cambridge professor and running down to London and playing the Goldberg Variations or conducting an orchestra or making recordings.
And on the other hand, the professional musicians in London all admitted they knew Thurston Dart very well. He was a fine keyboard player and director. And they thought he had some sort of academic job somewhere else in a university that we might have heard of. But there was a certain amount of subterfuge going on in-- from both sides. I think to some extent that still exists.
And I think it's only begun to relax its hold on the academic world. In the same way I think as the study of classics, Greek and Latin has been relaxed to an extent that in many quite severely academic institutions nowadays you can study classics in translation. The equivalent in music, I suppose, still has a slight slur attached to it, which are those dreadful classes that go under the disreputable title of music appreciation.
That never cut very much ice. The idea, though, of being on the one hand academically concerned with the scholarly side of music-- the editing, the writing, the teaching, the discrepancies and sorting out of source material and bringing it into a state where you don't then have to pass it on to a totally different person to make a performance but you can carry through the process.
This, it seems to me, is an important part of making music a complete subject. The past is a foreign country. That was LP Hartley. The rest of that title was not LP Hartley. He said the past is a foreign country. They do things differently there. The tag on at the end, I think, was a sign of academic worry that we want to discuss the position of music nowadays.
And I would like to escape slightly from the implications of that that one has to consider the academic and scholarly position of music nowadays, which will follow in a certain way. But I would rather like to look at how the topic of music and musical performance and what is done today and what was done in the past and the work that goes into assessing scholarly accounts of music as well as performing experiments in music, that this can be observed and judged and followed by many, many more people than think they are qualified to do this.
And to help in that thesis, I would call on the fact that now, for the first time, really, we are the first group of people who can draw on more than a century's worth of recorded evidence of how music was heard in the past. Scholarly studies in music got-- and still have, to some extent, I think-- a bad reputation of being arid and without any sound. They are a matter of studying dusty, dry documents, manuscripts sitting in libraries, and not having either competence or interest in bringing such music to life.
The demonstration that Thurston Dart and other colleagues in the '60s made-- and present in this room, of course-- many people who exemplify the same philosophy today is that you can start from the most dusty, dry attitude, work forwards, and without handing to another person, continue through a present day appreciation and a performance that can live on in recorded sound into the future.
The presence of more than a century's worth of recordings, I think, gives everybody now a lifeline to pursue a historical interest in the business of music. Classics has gone the same way. Classics in translation is now acceptable academic study. You do not have to necessarily read the Greek alphabet in order to talk knowingly about Homer or even understand Latin verbs to talk about of it.
There will come certain stages in your academic career when this is required if you want to take a certain turning. There will be many other outlets, and particularly if you are non-professional or non-academic in the field, where such skills could be useful, but not necessarily essential. I'd like to recommend the same, I think, for the musical world, that with more than 100 years worth of recordings you have an absolutely wonderful background facility for dipping into almost anything you are interested in and coming up with as informed an opinion as any other expert around.
Be careful sometimes-- excuse me-- be careful sometimes with what you hear on records. And I thought it would be very useful if we just dip into a few examples of what you have to really enlighten us into the time range of which we can now spread our ideas of acceptable conventional musical performance.
I think now we have an increased regard for the skills of early-- the idea of music being a Darwinian progression from ape to human and every generation gets better and better has long been given up. But a serious appreciation of what one can find from earliest possible recordings is still awaiting quite a lot of scholarly analysis.
Here's a little sample. Do we use our historical sources correctly? Do we have to take precautions with them? Yes, of course we do. Here is a very, very early recording, the first recorded sound of a Handel choral work being performed in the Crystal Palace in 1888.
I guess you didn't get very much out of that. Except you have to take my word for it. It was June, 1888. It was the first use of the Edison cylinder that was brought over by Colonel whatever he was called who was Edison's agent in England.
And there was a choir singing there of over 3,000 people. And there was an audience-- the Victorians are wonderful-- the audience numbered 23,722. Nothing if not accurate. Here is a more recent recording, [INAUDIBLE], of that same little snippet of a chorus from Israel and Egypt.
If you hear again now, the 1888 wonder, because it seems to me a miracle that we can actually hear something from 1888, even though you can't really hear any orchestra, you can tell this is a very vast chorus and it's going extremely slowly. Just have this track-- you can have another chance.
It's amazing. The orchestra was over 400 strong and you can't hear a thing. But I assure you, it was there. We have pictures of this event. Recordings do and can preserve for us things that can never be found again. And I think the price of that, of course, is it's enclosed in its own amber, as it were. You have to-- and I think we're getting every year more used to making the necessary accommodation for it not being the most modern sound in the world get through that surface noise, though. And you can hear things which no longer exist.
Here's one sample. Throughout the Baroque period, the leading voices, the most expensive operatic voices in the world, were the voices of castrati-- that is, men singing soprano or alto. They are no longer to be found. So any Handel opera that goes on nowadays is lacking one of its most powerful, expensive, and original elements that was taken for granted in those days.
You can hear the voice of Moreschi. Alessandro Moreschi was born in 1858. He recorded what you're going to hear in 1913. He was aged 55, which is getting to the end of a singer's voice. And he is singing Ave Maria. And the top note is a top B that I think many modern day sopranos would be quite proud of.
He was terrified of the recording process. You could hear the trembling going on. But it still is a remarkable look through the murk and the noise of the surface. And you still have, I think, a remarkable-- and also the style, of course, which is definitely the style of the early 20th century, not the style that Handel would have heard. But the vocal quality and the way of moving around and particularly the top notes, in addition, a particular element.
He was, of course, the prize singer in the Vatican chapel. He was the Pope's best singer. You don't often hear religious music delivered with the passion of this extremely nervous but still very devout singer in a voice that you will never, ever hear nowadays. Just listen to a little.
[MUSIC - "AVE MARIA"]
I think there's some wonderful vocal skills there once you get through those things that you find stylistically a little bit upsetting at the start. And many sopranos at the Met would be proud to have a top B like that at age 55.
And as I say, the recordings that we have as evidence for the past being a different country have to be taken with a certain grain of salt. Most of them are unique versions. It's only when you get towards the 1920s that you can begin to do a proper academic comparison when, for example, a composer records a piece twice.
We have Elgar recording Enigma variations once and then five years later recording again. It tells you quite a lot about what the composer wanted. And if we deal nowadays in [NON-ENGLISH] texts and exact scholarly representations in print of what the composer wrote down, should that not be extended on a similar scholarly basis to think we should be-- or at least we should be aware of what we could do to implement his performing expectations that were not always written down.
One of the most obvious which you can hear in this little snippet from enigma variations is the [NON-ENGLISH], the sliding up and down on stringed instruments, once extremely sensitive and important, later spoilt by associations with tea shops and light music and over sentimentality, for a long time banned completely by modern teachers, and gradually now being realized as a very important expressive period, a device to be applied in different ways with different techniques to different repertoire.
You also need to compare, I think, these early recordings by composers of their own music with the signals they gave you on the printed page. Elgar is wonderfully contradictory. On the printed page he says, there's a crescendo in his performance. He makes a diminuendo. He writes on the printed page strictly in tempo. And in fact, in his own performance, he nearly doubles speed he gets so excited.
The result of Nimrod, though, in his hands is a very different piece, I think, from the sort of music that gets-- the versions of this music get played now on the deaths of kings and emperors and presidents and who have you. Nimrod was a noble piece, and a moving in all senses and very flexible creation with an enormous dynamic range.
It begins so softly you hardly know it's begun. Listen for these slides up and down that you will never, ever hear a modern orchestra allowing itself to perform, and also the way the speed runs on and runs back to prevent any feeling at all of self-indulgence or sentimentality which nearly always overwhelms this piece in a typical performance today.
And wonderfully sincere, absolutely non-sentimental, over in at least-- I think I timed a few comparative recordings, and it's over in about a minute and 15 seconds sooner than some of the more indulgent ones. It's very similar to his second. There are two Elgar recordings, and you can pick exactly the same features out of them. Very, very noble, playing an absolute lack of forced sentiment and teardrops.
Sometimes we're lucky enough to have-- I think they were often elicit recordings of composers at work. And I think it's useful to know what went on in orchestral rehearsals, recording sessions, outtakes, simply because a lot of this stuff is not to be found on the printed page. The musical score is not the total map.
The musical score works within its own conventions. If the piece was written several hundred years ago, the expectations of how you will translate its indications have changed so completely. But so they have, even within living memory. And here's an example of Aaron Copland taking a rehearsal for Appalachian Spring and admitting straight out that there are markings that he wants people to play and they just say, well, it's not in the score. It's not in the music.
And he said, I don't know where it's come from. I'm very used to it. I want to hear it. It's added in. This is as good, I think, scholarly evidence for somebody performing or even editing a Copland score of Appalachian Spring. You include a mention of the crescendo that he specifically asks these players for.
And there's a little bit of banter, of course, and a little bit of, I think, well calculated criticism of over sentimental-- or least overindulgent New York string playing, which he tells them often describes-- not at all pleased. Too much [INAUDIBLE], which I think is a very, nice-- here's just a little snippet of Copland rehearsing.
- Good afternoon. Hi, how are you. I assume everybody knows this piece.
- Only by reputation.
- Only by reputation. A warm, soft, warm sound without any sense of effort and a sort of a noncommittal clarinet sound to-- Yeah. Could you do it without any sense of diminuendo on each note, if possible?
Here we go. I give a sort of a cut off and beat. Yes. There you go. Right there at the attack. Six. Would you mark a crescendo on the A with the fermatta? Ya da da da de da. I'm used to that. I don't know where it came from. Six again. It isn't so much loudness as sort of bounciness that I was looking for. Da da de da da da. What's the de ya da da--
CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD: There was lots more rehearsal. It's a very interesting little extra disk you can get if you buy Copland complete orchestral works. You get that thrown in at the end, which I think adds a lot to what we normally hear and gives you a lot that isn't actually in the printed score.
If one's dealing in terms of historically informed performance, as one is nowadays, then that sort of evidence, I think, ranks as high as any written note on the page. The fact that we have Copland himself saying he doesn't know where it comes from but he likes it merits a footnote and an inclusion in everybody else's performances.
We can educate ourselves, I think, as well as be educated in the musical world from this sort of listening. And I think too much of the musical activity that surrounds us now is sort of guarded behind a professional screen. We're not allowed so much into it when it is instrumental. Choral music is still, I think, open territory and it is assumed choruses will, in many cases, be amateur performers. There are not so many large, professional, paid choruses in the world. Choral singing is an amateur business.
There are not so many seriously involved amateur orchestras at a high level. But most of the high professional orchestras work with an amateur. Of course, singing is therefore in choral music. It depends very much on the interest and the ability of its amateur membership, quite unlike the work that goes on with a symphony orchestra, or even in an opera house.
So those sort of examples lead one towards what sort of private music as well as what sort of vocal music is available. And the business of transferring music from its original status or its original place of performance and made accessible elsewhere, this has changed a lot. And the facility that I am applauding so much now, the availability of recordings, when it was not available, there had to be a transfer of medium while the same music moved into another territory. It had to be recast in a form suitable to that territory.
Choruses may want to sing contemporary music. The composer will oblige, maybe by taking famous instrumental music and just adding words to it. Here's Sam Barber doing exactly that.
That's Sam Barber's own arrangement with the words of a Latin Mass [NON-ENGLISH] set to the [NON-ENGLISH] sung by one of the best institutions for music education, I think. And so a collegiate choir with boys singing the top part. That was another way of producing a musical education whether you wanted it or not.
And they nowadays lose their voices and they are perfectly mature finished professionals out of a job when they're 14 or 15. But it is, in its own way, I think, one of the best-- still one of the best surviving methods of music education taken on the run with no expectation that there is a full professional life ahead.
This is, in fact, applauding the importance of private music. So a private music-- I do think it's probably a declining activity now because if we talk of playing music now, most people will immediately reach for their iPod and press a button. That's your private music.
Before this was an available thing, you retired home with a few friends, and whatever your professional business might have been, you could adopt a private attitude and an amateur attitude to performing famous music. The famous music you wanted to perform, of course, might not always have been available for the resources you had.
Arrangements have acquired a slightly dirty reputation. And since the invention of historically informed performance, there's a slight misgiving when people say, I am going to deal in an arrangement of a famous piece. They say, why are you not dealing in the [NON-ENGLISH] version with the exact and proper resources in a proper professional capacity.
Well, we don't have them. We are just a small little group at home. We are before the days of recordings and we have heard that there are famous symphonies being written by Haydn. We want to hear Haydn symphonies. We think one day we may actually get to a concert in London and maybe Haydn himself will be conducting there. We know he comes and does this.
But for the majority of people who heard of this music and this composer by reputation, the only chance of having the musical experience live was to get to know it in a reduced form. And some of these reductions I think are extremely telling, and nowadays extremely important. And here is a little description which was given by Sam Wesley, actually, when he was giving music lectures in London.
He devoted one entire lecture to the business of the making of arrangements. And at the end of that, he gave certain recommendations. And he says, "let me recommend certain invaluable works originally constructed for a full band that had been very ingeniously contracted for the convenient accommodation of small musical parties." Wonderful phrases.
And particularly he says, "let me instance 12 delectable symphonies of Haydn which have been reduced from the score with extraordinary ingenuity and accurate judgment by the late accomplished and energetic master of his art, John Peter Salomon. And nicely adapted for two violins, viola, cello, flute, and a supporting accompaniment on the pianoforte.
Salomon, of course, was Haydn's concertmaster in London for all the 12 London symphonies. He had paid and brought Haydn over to England and given him one of his best musical breaks of his life composing for one of the best orchestras in Europe on a very large salary per symphony.
But in the end, Salomon took these symphonies himself and kept them, bought the copyright off Haydn, and adapted them, first of all for the medium of the piano trio, which is fine if you're the pianist, but not much fun if you're the violin or the cello, because they just went--
[IMITATING STRING INSTRUMENTS]
--just filled in. The piano got all the jam. Salomon realized that this did not do real justice to these complicated pieces. And so he devised, I think, a very ingenious grouping, which is this one described by Wesley, which is a flute, a string quartet, and an optional piano. The piano plays a sort of continuo part, as Haydn himself did sitting at the keyboard in the London concerts with the full band.
And nearly everything that is of musical consequence in those originals can be accommodated by Salomon's very neat arrangement. 12 of them, they're perfect fodder for an amateur music evening. And you go on discovering so many small and interesting facets of Haydn's musical language that quite possibly escape you when you're listening to the full rampage of a symphony orchestra in a concert hall. Here's the beginning of just a little one of them.
I think they're delicious arrangements. And they were very much appreciated by the amateur music public. They were kept in print for nearly 100 years. You can buy them again now. And I think they are a great introduction to some of the best symphonic writing that the late 18th century saw.
And I think the recommendation that the small musical parties could make use of this sort of adaptation works very much in the favor of the professional players, who then will nearly always find that they are facing an audience in their big concerts of people who are well aware of what the music is saying, how it is saying it, and will pick up the niceties of performance.
There are not always enough virtuosi on certain instruments to go around. Adaptation is always necessary. It can sometimes give you a completely new view of a terribly familiar piece. You hear the Mozart clarinet concerto far too many times, of course. And it's nice to know that there is an arrangement of the Mozart clarinet concerto for the viola.
Absolutely wonderful. A viola does not have too many concertos to its name. There are good viola players with too little repertoire to play. It is such a breath of fresh air to hear familiar music in an unfamiliar dress played by a great virtuoso in an arrangement which has all the hallmarks of being a great piece in its own right.
I can't tell you who made it because it was anonymous. But it was published in Vienna in the very early 1800s. The composer-- the arranger's name was not there. But clearly this arranger was somebody who knew Constanze Mozart because the piece was not published even in its clarinet version, knew the publishers, was asked to make an arrangement, knew how to play the viola, did a very good, job still didn't put a name to the piece.
A very good candidate, I think, is Beethoven, who could play the viola. That was his instrument in Bonn. Who could make arrangements, who knew Constanze Mozart, who knew the publishers, who was in a very good position to do this work, but knew that he had other intentions for his name and it was not to be found out as a jobbing arranger.
I recommend it if you have a viola playing friend in need of new repertoire. Things like that do give you an extra viewpoint on music of the past. Also give you the ability to move forwards into the future with a repertoire that will brighten people's day and they will say, not that old piece again. No, it sounds completely different. It's a viola.
We passed very recently a [NON-ENGLISH] anniversary a year or so ago, out of which almost nothing new came. I was really dismayed at the lack of activity in the musicological world that we learned very, very little new about this composer. We learned very little new about the instruments. We had no-- it was really a wasted opportunity.
But you can put it right to a certain extent because we do have wonderful performances from long dead pianists that produce, I think, an effect and an attitude to keyboard performance which nowadays with Lang Lang amongst us get completely forgotten.
I wanted to end just by offering you two samples of pianism. For sheer facility, it's quite wonderful. But this is an interesting case in point. This is a performer who studied for two years with Liszt. So that's a very good start in your career. He then gave up playing for several years to study philosophy and then went back to playing the piano worldwide and made recordings on both electric recordings and on piano rolls.
So you have a sort of check on whether one or the other distorts or unfairly changes the performance style. This was Moriz Rosenthal. And he was born in the Ukraine. He died in New York. And his first little example, this is Mazurka, opus 50 number 2, simple music that you can play at home, but played like this.
It's a great example of how to take a familiar piece and so enjoy the performing of it with such freedom that you can't help hearing it, I think, anew and having the same enjoyment as Moriz Rosenthal gives the impression of discovering that middle energetic section for the first time. It's like it's fresh. It's not sentimental. And it's whimsical, but not wayward.
There's a wonderful control. And it is a type of pianism, I think, golden age pianism that we very rarely hear. Practical things that you could do to sort of push this feeling of the past, of being a foreign country where they did things differently but you can revisit them nowadays and send them on into the future with a revived musical attitude.
I think one thing, certainly in this country, one could do is query whether it is really necessary to have every year your annual messiah. I know it-- I know it's blasphemy to suggest we might have heard enough of that piece. But similarly to the ballet companies and the endless Nutcracker, there are many very lovely alternatives that would employ the same hands and voices in equally good ways and be much better for the musical digestion and appetite of the country.
You could encourage string quartets, for example, to play a very nice string quartet arrangement of the Mozart Requiem. We've heard too many Mozart Requiems. Very few people, I think, have heard Lichtenthal's very nice adaptation of the Requiem for four string players.
You could put or least encourage your friends and your concert planners and buy tickets to support your views and cut out some of the more famous names and look at some of the names that don't get, I think, the sort of innings that they really deserve. Pop in [? Dvorak ?] and Haydn instead of Brahms and Mozart, maybe Schubert and Martinu and [INAUDIBLE].
You could have other Water Musics than Handel's Water Music. Other people wrote things, even under the same title as Water Music. You could play wonderful symphonies by Niels Gade instead of Schubert. You could have [INAUDIBLE] David Diamond instead of Shostakovich. There are little substitutions which will not have a very hefty effect on the personnel involved, but will certainly brighten up people's ears.
And I think one can have a renewed interest in performing techniques and approaches of the past, because I feel every year we are bombarded with more and more career musicianship which seems to, I think, cut out the amateur player, sometimes even cut out the amateur listener, which is what every listener has to be, in favor of a career-based speed trial sort of approach to things.
Here's a final piece of music, which is back, again, to Moriz Rosenthal playing the-- what is he playing? He's playing the Etude Opus 10 number 1. This was the C major Etude you that Horovitz said was the piece that terrified him more than any other on the concert platform. And Moriz Rosenthal enjoys it.
He doesn't use a lot of pedal. He doesn't hammer it out all the way through. He treats it as great fun. And at the end, you'll notice, he does not expect sudden applause on his final note. But hold the last note for a long time so the audience can't actually get in the way of saying, you know, that piece is now finished, we enjoyed it, instead of sudden fireworks and exuberance that spoil so many performances.
It's a wonderfully magisterial approach to playing of somebody who knew that he could enjoy it as much for his benefit as you would enjoy the product. And it's just unbelievable music of the past preserved for the present, and with a little effort on our part, we can propel it into the future or into the hands of future performers. And we will all be beneficiaries.
Do you think questions, or--
SPEAKER: We can do two or three.
CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD: OK. Yeah. If I hear them.
SPEAKER: Well, thank you for a fascinating window into the world of the musical archeologist. We're going to take just two or three questions now. So if you would like to ask your question loudly, I will try to repeat it that we may all hear. Yes?
AUDIENCE: You've spoken about the strings, winds, piano. How about us trombone players?
SPEAKER: Did everyone hear?
CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD: I think we heard that one.
SPEAKER: I think we heard that one. Trombone players, question mark?
CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD: Yes. For a long time, people had this little saying that when you listen to Beethoven 9 being performed today, there are only two instruments in the orchestra which have not changed since Beethoven's time, and therefore don't need commenting or having historical explanations offered for them.
And one was the trombone. The other was the triangle.
So you're in good company. But in fact, it's not true. The trombone has changed. And you're quite right, and I should have played you good examples of what we have nowadays, very fine [INAUDIBLE] playing, narrow board trombones, the alto trombone which got knocked out of a job and nearly always you turn up to the first orchestral rehearsal and you see sitting there two tenor trombones and a bass trombone. And they hate the conductor saying, excuse me, could you send one tenor trombone home and have a real alto trombone, instead, as good composers specified?
And they go, oh, it's very difficult, maestro. You know, we have to pay somebody extra for the sheer danger money of playing the alto trombone nowadays. So you're quite right, yes. The trombone should get into any feature of historical changes that need to be reversed. I would be entirely with that.
CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD: And yes, how do we decide on practical matters like setting tempo in Brandenburg? I'm not sure that setting the tempo in the Brandenburg is necessarily something that requires a 50% academic, 50% practical thing. If I'm playing Brandenburg 5, I set it at my tempo, meaning that's as fast as I can play it. And I don't want to come off the rails in the credenza.
So there are plenty of good ways of establishing what relative tempi might have been in any period. The metronome is of some use in some periods, but not a lot. And other descriptions help you a lot in Baroque music. I think something which is omitted by most music academies but is rather important to remember is that so much music that was dance music was danced by the people who played it.
So you know, you come-- the minuet and trio is the most overworked little example of a musical style in classical music. And yet, how many people who listen to any one of Hayden's 1,000 minuets and trios and string quartets or symphonies or anything has ever had the experience of dancing a minuet? Because the minuet is written in 3/4, but it's danced in 6/4.
It's not 1, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3, but it's 1 and 2 and 3 and 1 and 2 and 3 and. Result is you get a strong bar and a weak bar. And the result of that is that the final bar of every minuet and trio is an up bar and not a down bar. So you don't land on that cadence, but you have 1, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3, da, da, dum.
Dead easy to get into the trio. Dead easy to get out of the trio, because you're up and then it inevitably falls. And once you've solved that sort of little problem, which dancing the minuet-- you can't always make an orchestra stand up and dance. But you can get quite close to establishing this idea with them. And once they've got even mentally that the idea that they might one day dance like that, they then play it very much better.
And you don't have the usual waste of time of, how do we end the trio and get back to the minuet? And they do remember that in classical minuets you play all the repeats on the [NON-ENGLISH], not this chopping them out. I mean, that is very easily demonstrated by looking at Mozart and seeing the rare occasions where Mozart says [NON-ENGLISH] minuet [NON-ENGLISH].
And it's only in those pieces where he has two trios and he feels by the time you heard a whole minuet and a whole trio and a whole other minuet back again and then a second trio with all its repeats-- at that point, after the second trio-- in the clarinet quintet, for example, he says [NON-ENGLISH] sends a replica. That's the real exception.
And then you go back to the minuet and you play-- it sends a replica without its repetitions, which is what all orchestras and most chamber groups do regularly for every minuet they see. And they are quite wrong. And they are depriving you of a lot of lovely music which you could be hearing more times and enjoying more often.
SPEAKER: Very nice. One more question. Yes, at the back?
AUDIENCE: What do you think of when opera-- Handel's opera today is sung [INAUDIBLE]?
CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD: This problem sort of answers itself.
SPEAKER: Shall we repeat the question?
CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD: Did you hear the question? Question about Handel opera. Nowadays we don't have castrati. What do you do about these soprano parts or alto parts that were written for men? And the answer is that Handel didn't worry much about gender. He did worry about pitch, that is, you don't-- you should not transpose things an octave lower.
But he seemed to have no problem at all-- I mean, when he wrote Orlando, the title role of Orlando was given to a castrato. But [INAUDIBLE], who is a prince and the next grandest character in the opera, was sung by a woman in [NON-ENGLISH].
So I think as long as it was at that level he would have been happy with a substitution of a lady on that part. He would have been less happy, I think-- and I'm much less happy with this invasion of countertenors nowadays, because nearly always stylistically, you know, they date from somewhere earlier than Kathleen Ferrier.
And they also have an attitude to singing and also difficulties of vocal production which get in the way of a lot of that writing. And I constantly feel I'm sitting in the opera house and just wishing it were a lady singing that part in drag rather than a man who really, in Handel's view, was a voice basically restricted to the cathedral and occasionally to the oratorio.
But he almost never invited a falsetto man on stage. He had no need, because he had very expensive castrati. But as you heard, the sound they deliver is much different. And his normal substitution if a castrato went sick was to pop a lady into that part. So I think that's probably more of that nowadays I think would give a performing style that Handel would have found satisfactory.
CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD: Wonderful. Well, we have many chances this coming weekend and in the coming week and in coming years for more exchanges. And for now, let's thank Christopher Hogwood very much for a wonderful lecture.
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Understanding the musicality of the past can enrich the musical life of the present, said conductor, musicologist and keyboard player Christopher Hogwood Oct. 25, 2013 during his first visit to campus as an A.D. White Professor-at-Large.
Now, with more than a century's worth of recorded evidence of how music was heard in the past, said Hogwood, people are able to pursue a historical interest in music, and the music of the 19th and 20th centuries can be observed and judged by everyone -- not just expert musicians or historians.