PUBLIC LECTURE: School of Music presents: DMA Lecture Recital - Georg Corall: The Eloquent Hautboy
|School of Music presents: DMA Lecture Recital - Georg Corall: The Eloquent Hautboy
Georg Corall: DMA Lecture-Recital
The Eloquent Hautboy
Scholars have investigated ‘music as speech’ and the ‘weapons of rhetoric’ in musical execution in order to understand the importance of text in historically-informed performance practice (HIP). This has led to the current vocal practice of declamation in, for example, the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, who communicated his emotional messages to the congregation in part through the careful selection of a suitable instrumental soundscape. His contemporary Johann Mattheson (1681-1764) referred to the oboe as ‘der gleichsam redende Hautbois’ (the eloquent hautboy) and reckoned it to be one of the instruments that most closely resembles the human voice. The investigation of contemporary treatises that provide commentary on articulation and rhetoric, as well as documents dealing with the balance of the forces available for Bach’s own performances, allows conclusions to be drawn on sound balance and transparency in the performance of Early Music on period instruments; however, it appears that many present-day habits in HIP may not withstand scrutiny. Currently, much attention is given to the close focus on articulation and text delivery required by historically-informed singers, whereas Early Music instrumentalists are deemed to merely support the vocalist’s words. Decades of personal experience in aiming to reconstruct historical hautboy reeds, together with a thorough analysis of wind instrument treatises dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, reveals that ‘articulation’ referred to the attack of notes as means to imitate text rather than merely defining the beginning and ending of a ‘vocal’ sound on an instrument.
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