Baroque Performance in the Modern DayPerforming Baroque music is all about working out what you want a piece to 'say' to listeners. Highlight unique features of the music such as the contour of melodies; take your listeners on a journey; make your performance unique.
What is your approach to preparing a new piece of Baroque music for performance? Ideally you should treat practice time as an opportunity to work out your unique interpretation of the piece. Take each section apart, find their hidden secrets, put them back together again and keep your listeners engaged throughout.
Baroque music can be thrilling to perform. I remember a performance of J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 that I gave for a recording for Classic FM at St John's Smith Square. The closing bars on full organ were so dramatic that I was literally buzzing for hours after the performance itself was over.
Some things I learnt from that particular performance are the following: a) enjoy the experience. What I particularly love about performing Baroque music is that it's actually enjoyable. You get a lot back from the music if you put a lot into it in terms of trying to really bring the piece to life. b) don't over-perform in advance. I didn't do a complete run through on the day; save something for the actual performance, but of course make sure you're comfortable with the piece on the day. c) give it your best shot. Go for it and your audience will love it!
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Founder of NewBaroque.org