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Precision performance

Projects have influenced performers and conductors to revise their performance approaches

Despite media claims, performances of music of the ‘long 18th Century’ have lacked historical accuracy and genuine ‘period’ techniques have been widely misrepresented. Cardiff University’s School of Music has sought to promote evidence-based ‘historical’ techniques to enhance the understanding of performers and listeners worldwide.

Projects led by Professor Robin Stowell have sought to restore original performance methods to music from the ‘long 18th Century’ (typically, 1688-1815). Stowell was concerned that performances of music from that era lacked historical accuracy (e.g. fingering techniques, bowing styles, the application of vibrato and other expressive elements). Through publications, talks, lectures and workshop collaborations with conductors and performers, Stowell has illuminated practice and fired imaginations. His work has influenced performers and conductors to revise their performance approaches and draw on the ‘period’ string techniques style, and general performance practice issues that he has promoted.  It has influenced playing style in performance and commercial recording collaborations with Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja and American Jacqueline Ross and equipped audiences with the knowledge to comprehend and appreciate the new insights revealed. The resultant recordings have been very favourably received, Kopatchinskaja’s account of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto Op.61 winning the accolade ‘BBC Music Magazine’s Orchestral Disc 2010.’

“A fresh and exciting interpretation of a familiar work…one of the most stimulating and provocative [of Beethoven’s work] that has ever been committed to disc.” BBC Music Magazine re. Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto

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