Activity: Talk or presentation types › Oral presentation
When working with early recorded playing style it is easy to gravitate towards the recordings that seem the most extreme and transgressive. It is more of a challenge to understand the stylistic attributes of players whose approach was more restrained. Yet one of the poles of interpretation emerging in Germany in the late 19th century was characterised variously by neue sachlichkeit (new objectivity), a growing historical-stylistic consciousness, and the conspicuously self-effacing nature of ‘Werktreue performance’ (Leistra-Jones, 2013).
Leipzig, with its close associations with the Mendelssohn-Schumann-Brahms circle of performers, was central to this culture. The discography of the Gewandhaus Wind Quintet 1923–30 is one of the largest and most varied of any chamber ensemble during this period. As such, it provides a rich insight into the small differences that define the restrained and yet distinctively ‘other’ performance style that blossomed in Leipzig. This lecture-recital will discuss the hallmarks of this style and present my ongoing practice-based exploration of it through the music of Johannes Brahms.