November 5, 2011

The Badinerie Player's Philosophy: It's true that we play on "original instruments" - instruments of the Eighteenth Century, with later modernisations and "improvements" stripped away from them. It's true that we go to a lot of trouble to find original music prints and manuscripts or copies of them, and that we study old texts about performance practice. It's true that we do this for a reason: to meet composers on their own ground, where they are sure to sound best. However, this is only part of our philosophy. Far more important than scholarly correctness is the notion of authenticity in the widest possible sense: we want to recreate the spirit and emotional meaning of the music, and communicate this to our audience. In the Eighteenth Century, composers regarded music not just as nice sounds, but as a language with which they could reach the innermost feelings of the listener. The performance must certainly try to be true to the original, but it must also have brilliance, passion and intensity. It must mean something, and it should be fun. To quote Gustav Leonhardt, one of the great leaders of the early music movement: "if one strives only to be authentic, it will never be convincing. If one is convincing, what is offered will leave an authentic impression."