What is the Authentick Keeboard Recitall?

          by Florestan Imaginarius Mozart

Firstly, this recital IS in several ways a serious attempt at what a late 18th to 19th century audience would hear in a professional keyboard instrument recital.
Most of the great composers of this music were highly regarded as improvisers, and engaged in sometimes high-stakes contests with their contemporaries
involving improvisation. And there is evidence,
including a wax recording by Brahms [1], that the composers did not necessarily play their pieces as scored -
in fact, even changing pitches and rhythms - and such changes are never done in contemporary classical recitals - except now for mine.

The above issue naturally leads to: what sorts of pitch and rhythmic alterations are in fact authentic [articles] to the intention(s) of the composer? I assert that
if an interpreter today is well-grounded in the styles of the pieces on the concert program, and especially for pieces of music which have become all too familiar [2] -
it is in fact his/her duty as an artist, and not merely as a score-realizer, to make tasteful alterations which do not undermine the character of the composer's intent.
Perhaps the most obvious need for such improvised, pre-conceived, or improvised and pre-conceived departures from the score are in repeated sections -
for example in sonata-allegro form movements, typically the first movement of Classical era keyboard sonatinas and sonatas. Music teachers commonly ask students to
skip these (and other) repeats, while otherwise claiming to ask students to play "as the composer intended". I contend that these repeats were and are intended -
but that a truly artistic performance can only be rendered by making tasteful variations during the repeat as the composer-performer likely did himself -
more variation than say playing the entire repeat more quietly. You will enjoy hearing such variations in today's performance. And, furthermore,
I promise to play these same pieces in future performances with different alterations than I do today!

The question of instrument is also a serious topic of debate thanks to the Early Music movement. Some contend that playing music originally for harpsichord
or clavichord must not be played on a modern piano - for example the keyboard music of Bach. I have found over time that I can enjoy hearing even the same piece
of such composers either on a clavichord or harpsichord (which was intended by the composer was in fact never specified), or even on the modern piano
say in the hands of artists like the late Vladimir Horowitz. And like many Classical music listeners, I enjoyed many of the
recordings of Classical music made by Wendy Carlos [3]
made in the early 1970s, and I have enjoyed playing keyboard pieces at home on my electronic keyboards, which these days can be highly sensitive to the touch of
a skilled keyboardist. So, today I will play such pieces on the electronic clavier - and will use a variety of the available sounds.

Another aspect of authenticity is one's choice of clothing for a recital. As far as I know, there is hardly a Classical or Early Music performer (other than singers in staged or semi-staged
operas or oratorios) that dresses in a historically informed manner for his/her performances - and this must be even more true for men, who typically wear drab, dark tuxedos,
sportcoats, etc. Therefore I determined not to conform to these customs, but instead wear something from one of the eras of music I was playing - and given the great value
placed on the Classical period music, and especially on the works of W. A. Mozart, it seemed right to commission a 1780s-era gentlemen's outfit for these recitals. Today's costume
is mostly the work of costume designer Toni Elliott, also with help from Jeanne Keenan both from The Costume Company of Arlington, Mass., but also incorporating
my own design concepts.

Despite the choice of era for the costume, I do not feel compelled to specialize only in music from the 1780s or nearby decades - in fact, I am pleased to use the stage name
Florestan Imaginarius Mozart to honor not only the great W. A. Mozart, but also the great Robert Schumann, who invented the character Florestan as one who embodied his
music's more revolutionary tendencies - and I am pleased to include numerous Schumann pieces in this recital. And I reserve the right to perform in costume from other musical eras,
but choose to avoid typical modern dress for now.

Yet another facet of the Authentick Keeboard Recitall is the choice of concert repertoire. Today's professional Classical piano recitals seldom include anything except for the
most technically challenging pieces, too often played at speeds beyond even a tasteful Presto. For example, I have heard several performances of certain high-speed Chopin Etudes which,
while dazzling from as pure athletics, are so ultra-fast that they blot out the musical expression Chopin intended,
like this one from Leonid Egorov. [4] So, in contrast to this Olympic-style competition, I deliberately have
chosen pieces of easy to moderate difficulty. Also, I have chosen highly familiar pieces that are frequently part of piano lessons so that my tasteful alterations will easily be heard as
new interpretations, as intended.

Happy listening!

P.S.Last and in fact least: English spelling was not yet standardized in the 1780s (the era of my costume), so it clearly is more authentic to title the recital using spelling somewhat more
phonetic than modern spelling, yet recognizable to the modern eye.



[1] "..there are a number of instances where Brahms departs from the score, both by melodic insertion or alteration,
and by modification of the phrase structure to facilitate closure at a nonterminal musical point."
Berger, Jonathan. "Brahms at the Piano." 1994. Accessed August 17, 2016. https://ccrma.stanford.edu/groups/edison/brahms/brahms.html.

[2] John, Terauds. "Classical Music 101: To Realise or to Interpret?" September 22, 2013. Accessed August 17, 2016. http://www.musicaltoronto.org/2013/09/22/classical-music-101-to-realise-or-to-interpret/.

[3] "Switched-On Bach." Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, First Movement. August 13, 2016. Accessed August 17, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carlos_brandenburg_3.ogg.

[4] Egorov, Leonid. Chopin Etude No. 4 Op. 10 [Extremely Fast]. January 11, 2015. Accessed August 17, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDpHJ3sx4Wo.


"Authentic" in Classical/Early Music Performance

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