Sunday, 6 December 2015

Personal message from Nikolaus Harnoncourt

With this brief but personal note to his "Liebe Publikum", Nikolaus Harnoncourt has announced his retirement at the age of 86.  The note kind of sums up Harnoncourt's direct and personal way of doing things.

In his own quiet way, Harnoncourt transformed music, not just period performance. When he began conducting in the early post-war years,  he became aghast at the fashion for safe and bland performances. Concentus Musicus Wien began as a group of musicians playing for their own pleasure. They had to copy manuscripts by hand, and track down authentic instruments to experiment with, some of which were bought with private funds. This "band of renegades " as was described in an interview (READ MORE HERE and listen to the interview HERE), (Link is still live after nearly 4 years) were exploring new approaches to repertoire, informed by what a composer might have heard. " I tried to understand what a composer meant".

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