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Volume 13 - Issue 6 - March 2008

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fraction of a secondlater. Theconducting hasno connection towhat the audiencehears. It'sas if the conductoris beatingin between thebeats. That'swhat I can'tstand. To do it inthe gesture asksfor much moreconcentrationfrom the orchestra.But theKuijken with Tafelmusik's LamonTafelmusikplayers are allgood musicians, which is still the most important point. The orchestra hasmade efforts for so many years to perform using historical evidence. Manyperiod instrument orchestras are making a lot of compromises - in their stringingand ways of holding the instruments and so on. Some of the more wellknownbaroque period instrument ensembles today are half-way already tomodem orchestras. Anyways, almost all old instruments are in some kind ofmodem condition. They have all been re-necked and so on. Very few instrumentshave not been modernized.Is your Grancino violin in what you would call original condition?Tt has been put back. But who knows ifit is even a Grancino. You can speakabout Grancino or Stradivarius as an aesthetic ideal, but it's impossible toattribute violins with certainty.When you look back on those early days of period instrument playingdo you hear much change over the years?Well, everything ages a little bit, but some of it I can really listen to withpleasure, although I don 'tdo it very often. When you do things honestly atevery moment, then they will just last. Not eternally- nothing will last eternally- but a long time.Are there things happening in baroque performance today that youregret, for instance excessively fast tempos?It's not my style, of course. A player can be very virtuosic, but it can be verycheap when youjustplay in the way that you are sure will be a success withthe audience. Then things happen which are not interesting for the musicitself. Look at the staging of operas. There it's very clear how modem practicesgo farther and farther away from the pieces themselves. Today youcan see a Don Giovanni which Mozart would hardly recognize. The settingsand costumes can look exactly the same whether it's for Monteverdi or Verdi.Opera is now in the hands of the stage directors, and they can have themost strange ideas. They use - or abuse, I would say - the music. Theaudience has become a victim of another never-before-seen staging whichmakes mostly nonsense of the opera and needs 50 pages of explanation.Most stage directors can not even read music, so they think that they aremaking a theatre piece with background music.When I was teaching in The Hague in the early 90s, there was a class ofopera staging with a guy who wanted to modernize everything. When he didBaroque opera my students would be obliged to go, because the baroqueorchestra had to play. They would come crying on my arms about the awfulabsolutely upside down things they had to do. Why should we always mixstyles up? It's so beautiful when you have a unity. For me it's a thing to reallyfall in love with when I see an opera, or even just one singer doing a lied, withjust the right gestures atthe right moment. lt doesn't have to be spectacular.lt has to fit.How do you deal with this when you conduct opera?Now when I do a Mozart opera l do it without staging. The singers wearsomething that shows who they are in the drama, and they take their actionsfrom the words. We have no stage director. Sometimes I direct a little bit justto coordinate entrances, but the singers in1provise the staging. This convincesthe audience. People always say how nice that there was no staging, becausewhat they see doesn't disturb the music. To have these two layers, themusic, and then the visual thing, is schizophrenic. It has to be one idea.So you are not a fan of the recent fashion for staging the Handel oratoriosand the Bach Passions?Oh my God, I would pay not to go!Back to the viola da spalla - do you think it can sound as beautiful inthe cello suites as a magnificent old cello ?It will never be the same - but why should it be'l It's not the right way ofthinking to expect that we should get a particular sound out of a certaininstrument. We have to find out how we can make it sound as beautiful as itcan be.It will be interesting to see how your upcoming recording of the Bachsuites on the viola da spa/la is receivedYes, it will be. I think it will provoke in some comers and will be acclaimed inothers. It's good that things move, so if this stirs up discussion then okay,although I didn't mean necessarily to create a scandal.DISCOGRAPHY & MEDIAWeb siteswww.lapetitebande.be La Petite Sande is a chamber orchestra based in Leuven,Belgium, near Kuijken's home.http://dmitrybadiarov.com Luthier and violinist Dmitry Badiarov made Kuijken's violas da spalla. He also performs on violin and viola da spalla with LaPetite Band.RECORDINGSA list ofSigiswald Kuijken 's recording would run many pages - there areover seventy with La Petite Sande alone. Most can be found listed on theorchestra website. Here are a few highlights (recordings with the viola daspalla are marked*):Upcoming*Bach: Suites for Violoncello; Sigiswald Kuijken, viola da spalla (Accent)Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610, La Petite Sande, Sigiswald Kuijken (Challenge)RecentBach: Cantates Vol.5 BWV 179 - 35 - 164 - 17; Gerlinde Samann, PetraNoskaiova, Jan Kobow, Dominik Womer, Sigiswald Kuijken, La Petite Sande(Accent)Beethoven: String Quartet, String Quintet; The Two Kuijken Generations:Marleen Thiers, Veronica Kuijken, Sigiswald Kuijken, Sara Kuijken , WielandKuijken (Challenge)Debussy: La musique de Chambre; Barthold Kuijken, Sigiswald Kuijken,Veronica Kuijken, Sara Kuijken, Wieland Kuijken, Sophie Hallynck, Piet Kuijken(Arcana)*Vivaldi: Le Quattro Stagione; Sigiswald Kuijken, Dmitry Badiarov, SaraKuijken, Luis Otavio Santos, La Petite Sande (Accent)HistoricBach: Brandenburg Concerti , Sigiswald Kuijken, Wieland Kuijken, Lucyvan Dae!, Anner Bylsma, Franz Bruggen, Gustav Leonhardt (Seon)Bach: Musical Offering; Barthold Kuijken, Sigiswald Kuijken, Wieland KuijkenGustav Leonhardt (Deutsche Harm Mundi)Bach: Sonatas & Partitas, Sigiswald Kuijken, violin (Deutsche Ham10niaMundi)Boccherini: String Quintets, Cellos Sonatas; Sigiswald Kuijken, WielandKuijken, Alda Stuurop, Lucy van Dae!, Ann er Bylsma (Seon)Couperin: Concerts Royaux ; Barthold Kuijken, Sigiswald Kuijken, WielandKuijken (Seon)Mozart: Cosi Fan Tuite; Soile lsokoski, Monica Groop, Nancy Argenta,Huub Claessens, Sigiswald Kuijken, La Petite Sande (Accent)Pergolesi: Livietta Tracollo, La Serva Pedrona;, Donato di Stefano, SigiswaldKuijken, La Petite Sande (Accent)Telemann: Quatuors Parisiennes, Barthold Kuijken, Sigiswald Kuijken , WielandKuijken Gustav Leonhardt (Sony Vivarte)Vivaldi: Le Quattro Stagioni, Concertos for Oboe & Strings; Bruce Haynes,Sigiswald Kuijken, La Petite Sande, Frans Brtiggen, Orchestra of the EighteenthCentury (Sony BMG)12 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM M A RCH 1 - APR IL 7 2008

COVER STORY (2): AUTHENTIC BEAUTY BY MJ BumPeriod Performance as aMarriage of True MindsWe recognize authentic beauty in musical performance much in thesame way that we recognize genuine people. Truthfulness and directexpressiveness evokes our spontaneous uncensored response:it's deeply memorable, and makes us hungry for more of the same.In the period music communities this word "authentic" has twofaces. One is scholarly, accurate, unwaveringly backward looking,and occasionally limiting. The other looks both forwards and backwards,has an ageless and epicene quality, and has been known tobehave in a wayward manner. When they inform one another, weget authentic, unforgettably beautiful music.What elements are in the alchemy that keeps these two singingtogether?For the Goldberg Variations (Musically Speaking, March 9) harpsichordistSara-Anne ChurchiJJ will use Charlotte Nediger 's instrument.Bach specified the exact keyboard instrument to be used - adouble manual harpsichord: he felt that a clavichord, fortepiano,or single manual harpsichord wouldn't do.Mine is a Flemish single manual, built by Matthew Redsell in theearly '80s. It's blue.That's the 1980s in case you 're wondering. At Sara's concert wewm hear this music, so often heard on the piano, played on theinstrument for which Bach was composing. Well not the exact instrument:the so-called "Bach Harpsichord" is preserved at theStaatliches Institut fur Musikforschung in Berlin.Even ifit'sstill around, it might not work very well, or sound anybetter than one built in this century. Any "original" instrument that issupposedly from the 1700s will probably have had lots of changes alongthe way. The oldest instrument I've played on was an English spinetfrom about 1735.25 years old, with a Masters in Musicology, on her way to aDoctorate in Harpsichord Performance at U of T, Sara sampledthree different undergraduate programs as a pianist before findingherself in Sandra Mangsen 's "Introduction to Historical Keyboards" at the University of Western Ontario.Suddenly I had to be a historian, and be able to do things: to improvise,to play continua, do maintenance and repairs. I've always beeninterested in historical perspectives; I want to know everythingabout the music I play. But in the end you can be as informed as youwant, follow all the rules, and be very very boring. When I listen, I findit usually comes down to something very personal reflected, it meanssomething to the performer, even ifl might not play it that way.I think authentic, in the end, is a lot about conviction.Violinist Linda Melsted (new ensemble FOL/A, March 18 & 20 andNola Bene Period Orchestra, March 1, May 23 & 24) owns a NicoloAmati from 1670, a baroque bow, original from around 1740,and a variety of bows which are copies of bows from the 1 'fl" and18" centuries, in a shiny silver case. She specializes in the performanceof early music, particularly the baroque period.The Amati and I were meant for each other. I knew it was my instrument:it just spoke to me. It had the voice that I wanted to learnfrom. Wood is a living organism. When it's in a violin it vibrates andover the years it breaks in and takes on character of its own. Playing anolder instrument, I like to think the instrument teaches me to play themusic it has played before. But the belly moves with changing humidity,and the bridge moves around. I'm constantly having to adjust thebridge.This doesn't happen with a new instrument: they're more stable.There are some fantastic instruments being made today. You and thenew violin: you get to imprint, you're the first one to wake up the wood.And the bow, the right bow, teaches me what the articulation can be. Itcan direct me if I really listen. You have to learn to use the bow to createthe effect that the composer meant. The bow is the most important.If I have a good bow in my hand, the right bow, I can play almostSTEINWAYFAMILYVALUESSTEINWAY &SONSA STEINWAY DESIGNED PIANOFOR EVERY TASTE AND BUDGETSince 185 3, Steinway pianos have set anuncompromising standard for sound, touch, beauty andinvestment value. Now, the entire fami!J ef SteinwayDesigned Pianos offer the same class-leading quality,and unique manufacturing patents. A better piano inevery price range. Guaranteed by Steinway s 10 year fulltrade-up bond What other investment can be asemotional!J and financial!J rewarding at the same time?Experts, Makers and Dealers Since 1890Toronto s Authorized S teinwqy RetailerWWW.REMENYI.COM210 BLOOR ST. WEST, TORONTO• 416.961.31111455 16TH AVE. #6, RICHMOND HILL • 905.881.3400MARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2008 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 13

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