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The Art of Re-enchantment: Making Early Music In The Modern Age

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages320
ISBN (Print)9780199939930
Published5 Dec 2013

King's Authors


This book tells the remarkable and inspiring story of the British early music movement (Early Music). Since the late-1960s this quietly influential cultural phenomenon has completely transformed the way in which we listen to ‘old’ music, revolutionizing the classical music profession in the process. Forty years on, the influence of historically informed performance (HIP) is everywhere to hear, in concert halls around the world, on radio and on disc. And yet the extraordinary rise of Early Music, founded on its apparently uncompromising agenda of ‘authenticity’, has been anything but uncontroversial. Early Music’s detractors have been quick to point out the many inconsistencies andin-authentic ‘modernist’ practices that underpin its success, highlighting its use of recordings, reliance on the market, and even its creativity (‘making it up’), as evidence ofits just notbeing what it said it was. The story of making Early Music work in the modern age(an age of disenchantment, division and split), is riven with conflict and contradiction; but it is also an altogether more upliftingnarrative about ‘re-enchanting art’, of living out the unfolding dialectic between old and new, head and heart, ‘text’ and ‘act’; and of over-coming separation, restoring the bonds betweenelements of life that we have otherwise become accustomed to holdingapart, such asour musicianship, scholarship, craftsmanship, and cultural entrepreneurship. Beyond itsfocus on the performance of classical music, therefore, this book offers the opening remarks ina much-neededconversation about the value of art and authenticityin our lives today.

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