The 5-year AHRC research project Transforming C19th HIP aims to bring world-leading scholars and performers together with the aim of providing professional players with new insights into historically evidenced expression, and a deeper understanding of the aesthetic context of the period. Much valuable scholarship on the performance practices of the 19th century already exists; but researchers have been critical of professional ‘period’ instrument performers, claiming that many supposedly historically informed performances of 19th-century repertoire currently reflect little of what is known about historical style. Although many period ensembles perform 19th-century repertoire, specialist conservatoire training still remains focused on teaching Baroque and Early-Classical performance practices. The TCHIP Summer Chamber Music Course responds to a number of requests by offering a 19th-century historical performance chamber music course for professionals and conservatoire post-graduates.
The course tutors include leading Historical Performance scholars from Conservatoires and Universities in Sydney, London, Birmingham, Huddersfield, Leeds, and Oxford. In addition to their research, the tutors perform as soloists, and members of leading period ensembles. The course will differ from conventional music courses in that the tutors will be fully participating members of the ensembles and the exploration of repertoire and expression will be research-led.
The course will be open to both individuals and existing ensembles, and will be open to string players, pianists, and wind players (including horn). At least two pianos, an 1830s Streicher with an Anglo-Viennese action, and a late 19th-century French piano by Erard will be available.
Transforming C19 HIP is particularly concerned with research into the pre-performance practices (rehearsal, preparation, planning, working with scores and parts) of the 19th Century. Each ensemble will rehearse two works – one from early in the century and one from later; and one of these works will be non-canonic (less well known), so that participants can gain a broader understanding of the aesthetic context. Wherever appropriate, the course will provide 19th-century early printed editions or high quality copies of library holdings, and participants will explore rehearsal practices of the period (e.g. not using scores for early 19th-century repertoire, approaches to annotating (marking) parts, approaches to personal interaction within ensembles). These rehearsal practices can be interesting because they allow players to listen, relate and respond in ways that differ from contemporary rehearsal techniques.
The Oxford Faculty of Music is home to the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments http://www.bate.ox.ac.uk and participants will have the opportunity to explore this unique collection of historical instruments with curator, Andy Lamb. It will be possible for participants to play—and perhaps even perform on—instruments from the collection.
The course will provide a supportive environment for participants to work with leading performer/scholars in an unusual and challenging way, and to embrace an aesthetic, techniques, and expression that they may not be familiar with from training, or professional experience.
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