[NOTE: This entry has been updated (1) as of 3:44 PM Eastern on 5 Sep. See below.]
[NOTE: This entry has been edited as of 7:18 AM Eastern on 5 Sep to restore an unintentionally omitted historical detail.]
The almost 50-year-old so-called "Historically Informed Performance" (HIP) movement which began about the mid-1970s or so (it was previously — mid-1960s or so — first called the "Early Music" movement which title was then changed by its acolytes to the shamelessly self-serving "Authentic Performance" movement, a title so ruthlessly — and justifiably — savaged that, as a self-defensive tactic, the title was again changed in the mid-1970s to "Historically Informed Performance") has no doubt taught us much that is valuable and its influence has been widely and deeply felt across the world of classical music from solo instrument performance right up to and including the performance of full-scale staged opera. As with all such movements, however, there's always the danger of the doctrinaire and one must constantly be on guard against it, both as a performer and listener. What do we mean by that last? Well, let us not bandy words about but get right down to it. Here are two performances of the great Chaconne from Bach's Violin Partita No. 2 in D-minor (BWV 1004); perhaps the most profound single movement of music ever written for solo violin. The two performances are each by first-rate fiddlers technically but — Oh my! — what a huge difference between the two! One performance is in large measure doctrinaire HIP; the other, true only to the music itself. Do NOT WATCH the following videos. LISTEN to the audio only and you decide which is which.
(Chaconne begins at 15:42 in this first video.)
(Our thanks to The Music Salon for the link to the second video.)
Update (3:44 PM Eastern on 5 Sep): Um...we're not too embarrassed. It seems we posted the wrong video (the first of the two) when this entry first went public. It was a video intended for a future entry. That's now been corrected above. Our apologies.