Advertisement

R. G. Collingwood, Historical Reenactment and the Early Music Revival

Chapter
Part of the Reenactment History book series (REH)

Abstract

As a young boy, Robin George Collingwood would steal from his bed and sit on the stairs with his sisters shrouded in darkness secretly listening to his mother playing the piano below. In this way, he remembered in his autobiography, he became familiar with all the Beethoven sonatas and most of Chopin’s music.1 Music, it turns out, played not only an important role in Collingwood’s personal life, but was also central to his preliminary formulations of historical reenactment. The circles in which his father moved brought him into contact with what came to be known as the Early Music Revival pioneered in England by the eccentric French émigré, Arnold Dolmetsch. The influence of this movement, which centres on a historically considered reconstruction of music from a distant past, can be detected in his early writings on reenactment.

Keywords

Performance Practice Musical Performance Original Instrument Historical Performance Musical Work 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    R. G. Collingwood (1970 [1939]) An Autobiography (London: Oxford University Press), p. 3.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    F. Neumann (1989) New Essays on Performance Practice (Ann Arbor; London: UMI Research Press), p. 3.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See L. Goehr (1992) The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music (New York: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    L. Dreyfus (1983) ‘Early Music Defended against Its Devotees: A Theory of Historical Performance in the Twentieth Century’, Musical Quarterly, 69:3, p. 298.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    W. M. Johnston (1967) The Formative Years of R. G. Collingwood (The Hague: M. Nijhoff), p. 29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 9.
    R. G. Collingwood (1994) ‘Outlines of a Philosophy of History’ in The Idea of History with Lectures 1926–1928, ed. Jan Van Der Dussen (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 438–95.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    In his study of Collingwood’s idea of re-enactment, William Dray notes that a ‘peculiarity of his presentation of it at that point [in 1928] is his reporting that the idea first came to him while asking himself how one understands the present performance of a piece of music composed at some earlier time’. See W. Dray (1995) History as Re-enactment: R. G. Collingwood’s Idea of History (Oxford: Clarendon Press), pp. 33, 138–9.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    D. H. Johnson (1994) ‘W. G. Collingwood and the Beginnings of the Idea of History’, in David Boucher (ed.), The Life and Thought of R. G. Collingwood, Collingwood Studies 1 (Swansea: R. G. Collingwood Society), p. 1.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    E. Pound (1954) ‘Arnold Dolmetsch’, in T. S. Eliot (ed.) Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (London: Faber), p. 434.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    Ezra Pound recommended this book for inclusion in the Little Review Bookshop. See T. L. Scott, Melvin J. Friedman and J. R. Bryer (eds) (1988) Pound/The Little Review: The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson: The Little Review Correspondence (New York: New Directions), p. 113.Google Scholar
  11. 18.
    M. Campbell (1975) Dolmetsch: The Man and His Work (London: Hamish Hamilton), p. 68.Google Scholar
  12. 19.
    D. H. Laurence (ed.) (1981) Shaw’s Music: The Complete Musical Criticism in Three Volumes, vol. 3 (London: Max Reinhardt, The Bodley Head), p. 62.Google Scholar
  13. 25.
    F. MacCarthy (1994) William Morris: A Life for Our Time (London: Faber), pp. 668–9.Google Scholar
  14. 27.
    H. Haskell (1988) The Early Music Revival: A History (London: Thames and Hudson), p. 29.Google Scholar
  15. 32.
    E. Pound (1985) I Cantos (Milan: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore), p. 1018.Google Scholar
  16. 34.
    J. Joyce, (1936) Ulysses (London: J. Lane), p. 1082.Google Scholar
  17. 36.
    G. Moore (1898) Evelyn Innes (London: T. Fisher Unwin), available at http://www2.cddc.vt.edu/gutenberg/1/3/2/0/13201/13201-h/13201-h.htm#CHAPTER_ONE.Google Scholar
  18. 44.
    Wimsatt and Beardsley’s concept of the intentional fallacy has been used by those problematizing this approach. See for example, L. Treitler (2003) With Voice and Pen: Coming to Know Medieval Song and How It was Made (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  19. 46.
    J. Kerman (Winter 1992) ‘The Early Music Debate: Ancients, Moderns, Postmoderns’, Journal of Musicology, 10:1, p. 113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 47.
    N. Kenyon (August 2004) ‘The Historical Imagination’, Early Music, 32:3, p. 459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 48.
    See N. Kenyon (ed.) (1988) Authenticity and Early Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press)Google Scholar
  22. P. Kivy (1995) Authenticities: Philosophical Reflections on Musical Performance (Ithaca: Cornell University Press).Google Scholar
  23. 49.
    R. Taruskin (1995) ‘Last Thoughts First’ in Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance (New York: Oxford University Press), p. 5.Google Scholar
  24. 50.
    Ibid., p. 6. His ferocity has coloured his titles. See for example, R. Taruskin (1984) ‘The Authenticity Movement can become a Positivist Purgatory, Literalistic and Dehumanizing’, Early Music, 12:1, pp. 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 53.
    J. Kerman (1985) Musicology (London: Fontana Press), p. 200.Google Scholar
  26. 57.
    A. Dolmetsch (1969) The Interpretation of the Music of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, 3rd edn (Seattle: University of Washington Press), p. vii.Google Scholar
  27. 58.
    W. Landowska (1924) Music of the Past (New York: Alfred A. Knopf), p. 175.Google Scholar
  28. 59.
    T. Livingston (1999) ‘Music Revivals: Towards a General Theory’, Ethnomusicology, 43:1, p. 76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 63.
    J. Rockwell (Winter 1992) ‘The Early Music Debate: Ancients, Moderns, Postmoderns’, Journal of Musicology, 10:1, p. 123.Google Scholar
  30. 64.
    Kenyon embraced these ‘postmodern’ performance for offering ‘new freedoms for the way we absorb, internalize and re-create historical information’ and identified them as ‘a fruitful subject for the next decade of research. In 2007, Nancy November identified ‘a newer attitude’ in historical performance, one that ‘recognizes that the task of “cleaning away” performance traditions is impossible and that such an attempt is even undesirable’. In the same year, Bruce Haynes devoted a monograph to historically informed performance with a similar thesis at its core. See Kenyon, ‘The Historical Imagination’, p. 459–60; N. November (2007) ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes?: “Period” Beethoven and Performance Traditions’, Early Music, 35:3, p. 488; B. Haynes (2007) The End of Early Music: A Period Performer’s History of Music for the Twenty-First Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 66.
    D. Fabian (2001) ‘The Meaning of Authenticity and the Early Music Movement: A Historical Review’, International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, 32:2, p. 159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. S. Burstyn (1986) ‘Authentic Listening?’, Orbis musicae, ix, pp. 141–9Google Scholar
  33. S. Burstyn (1998)’ Music as Heard’, Early Music, 26:3, pp. 515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. S. Burstyn (1998) ‘Pre-1600 Music Listening: A Methodological Approach, Musical Quarterly (Special Issue: ‘Music as Heard’), 82:3/4, pp. 455–65.Google Scholar
  35. L. Botstein (1998) ‘Toward a History of Listening’, Musical Quarterly (Special Issue: ‘Music as Heard’), 82:3/4, pp. 427–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 68.
    See U. Eco (2004) ‘Lingue Perfette e Colori Imperfetti’, in Dire Quasi La Stessa Cosa (Milan: Bompiani), pp. 345–53.Google Scholar
  37. 69.
    Haskell, The Early Music Revival, p. 43. Michael Morrow suggests widening this approach, believing that ‘by reading the classics, looking at paintings and sculpture and attending theatre... we can share — though in a limited manner — the feelings, emotions and ideas of men of other ages and other civilizations’. ‘But’, he hastens to remind us, ‘we must never forget that in any age the artist is addressing himself to his contemporaries, and his language is composed of a system of familiar conventions — musical, visual or literary. If we don’t or can’t learn these languages, the conventions will be as meaningless to us as the hand gestures of an Indian dancer are to the average western audience’. See M. Morrow (1978) ‘Musical Performance and Authenticity’, Early Music, 6:2, p. 233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 71.
    V. Agnew (2007) ‘History’s Affective Turn: Historical Re-enactment and Its Work in the Present’, Rethinking History, 11:3, p. 299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 72.
    C. Dahlhaus (1983) Foundations of Music History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), p. 63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 73.
    For an elucidation of this idea of estrangement, which has much in common with the Brecht’s concept of Verfremdung, see V. Shklovsky (1990) Theory of Prose, trans. Benjamin Sher (Elmwood Park, IL: Dalkey Archive Press).Google Scholar
  41. 74.
    R. Norrington (February 2004) ‘The Sound Orchestras Make’, Early Music, 32:1, p. 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. R. Philip (1992) Early Recording and Musical Style, 1900–1950 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. E. Ornoy (2006) ‘Between Theory and Practice: Comparative Study of Early Music Performances’, Early Music, 34:2, pp. 233–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 75.
    N. Temperley (February 1984) ‘The Movement Puts a Stronger Premium on Novelty than on Accuracy, and Fosters Misrepresentation’, Early Music, 12:1, p. 18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 76.
    Haskell, The Early Music Revival, p. 176–7. See also D. Leech-Wilkinson (2002) The Modern Invention of Medieval Music: Scholarship, Ideology, Performance (New York: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  46. 77.
    R. Wistreich (2007) ‘Lost Voices’, Early Music, 35:3, p. 457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 80.
    Haskell, The Early Music Revival, p. 177. Later in the 1980s, Taruskin still warned of the dangers of ‘time-travel nostalgia’. See R. Taruskin (1982) ‘On Letting the Music Speak for Itself: Some Reflections on Musicology and Performance’, Journal of Musicology, 1:3, p. 342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 82.
    Dreyfus, ‘Early Music Defended against Its Devotees’, p. 305. Robert Morgan, a specialist in twentieth-century music, understands the rejection of new music for new ways of looking at the past as expressing a general anxiety about the state of contemporary art music. Historical performance movement, he believes, has in effect usurped the place of new music. See R. Morgan (1988) ‘Tradition, Anxiety, and the Current Musical Scene’ in Kenyon (ed.), Authenticity and Early Music, pp. 57–82. Joshua Kosman also believes that historical performance has,’ substituted archaeology for new creation’. See J. Kosman (Winter 1992), ‘The Early Music Debate: Ancients, Moderns, Postmoderns’, Journal of Musicology, 10:1, p. 119.Google Scholar
  49. 83.
    L. Treitler (1990) ‘History and Music’, New Literary History, 21:2, p. 318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 84.
    B. D. Sherman (2003) Inside Early Music: Conversations with Performers (Oxford: Oxford University Press), p. 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 85.
    Kenyon notes that historical performance has ‘infiltrated mainstream performance’ and broadened its expressive and timbral palette. See Kenyon, ‘The Historical Imagination’, p. 450. Stanley Ritchie makes a similar observation that mainstream performers have been, ‘influenced by the revelation of earlier esthetic principles, and although it might not always be practical for them to play on original instruments, they are often open to revising certain interpretative ideas, such as tempo choice, phrasing style and use of the long-forgotten art of embellishment’. See S. Ritchie (Autumn 1984) ‘Authentic Reconstruction of Musical Performance: History and Influence’, The Drama Review, 28:3, p. 73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 87.
    C. Price (November 1997) ‘Early Music: Listening Practice and Living Museums’, Early Music, 25:4, p. 561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kate Bowan 2010

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations