Hearing the 13th Century Motet

Hearing the 13th Century Motet - John Hawkins Medieval and...

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John Hawkins Medieval and Renaissance Music Ms. Zayaruznaya September 27, 2010 On Authenticity in Music The title of Richard Taruskin’s essay on musical authenticity, The Pastness of the Presence and the Presence of the Past , bears eerie resemblance to the famous phrase from George Orwell’s 1984: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” This is very fitting as the essay is as much about the politics of music and musical language as it is about authenticity. Though he is Ideologically opposed to the “authentistic” perspective, he is most begrudged by the disingenuity of the word. To him, it is a ploy to smuggle modern styles of performance under the guise of unobjectionable aims. “We just want our music to be accurate ,” might very well be what an authentist would say. Yet for Taruskin it is this “thin veneer of historicism,” that masks a, “Performance style completely of our own time” (152). Perhaps, though, modernity is more closely related to medieval times, in which case this “smuggling” of modern musical values is appropriate. He cites T.E. Hulme who referred to different eras where people, “Inclined towards geometrical art,” (the art of
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Hearing the 13th Century Motet - John Hawkins Medieval and...

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