Analysing over 100 recordings from 1945-1975, this book examines twentieth-century baroque performance practice as evinced in all the commercially available recordings of J.S.
Bach's Passions, Brandenburg Concertos and Goldberg Variations.
Dorottya Fabian presents a qualitative, style-orientated history of the early music movement in its formative years through a comparison of the performance style heard in these recordings with the scholarly literature on Bach performance practice.
Issues explored in the book include the availability of resources, balance, tempo, dynamics, ornamentation, rhythm and articulation. During the decades following the Second World War, the early music movement was more concerned with the revival of repertoire than with the revival of performance style which meant that its characteristics and achievements differed essentially from those of the later 1970s and 1980s.
Period practice techniques were not practised even by ensembles using eighteenth-century instruments.
Yet, as this survey reveals, several recordings of the period provide unexpectedly stylish interpretations using metre and pulse to punctuate the music.
Such metric performance and appropriate articulation helped to clarify structure and texture and assisted in the creation of a musical discourse - the pre-eminent goal of baroque compositions.