Text and Act

Text and Act : Essays on Music and Performance

4.32 (49 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Gathers together for the first time Taruskin's influential and insightful essays and articles on musical performance practice written over the past decade. Links issues in musical performance with wider cultural scene. Author's highly respected and controversial viewpoints and reputation will spark intellectual debate in the musical field. Text and Act, a collection of essays and reviews, published over the last dozen years, offers a brilliant evaluation of the early music movement, transforming the debate about "early music" and "authenticity". Demolishing the argument that the movement to revive period instruments and performance practices represents the recovery of an ancient truth or a reinstatement of a lost tradition, these writings show that the movement actually represents the triumph of a modernist esthetic - and consequently that "period" performances are in fact the only truly modern performances of classical music on offer. Yet far from impugning the movement's claim to authenticity, Taruskin argues that as the only truly contemporary performance practice, "early music" is authentic in a much more profound and relevant sense than a mere historical verisimilitude could ever be. These essays cast fresh light on many aspects of contemporary music-making and music-thinking, with lighthearted debunking taking its place alongside impassioned argumentation. A wide-ranging, newly written introduction explores the relationship between issues surrounding musical performance and other areas of contemporary intellectual ferment in the humanities and the social sciences, including philosophy, law, history, and anthropology. Bringing his considerable skills as a scholar and a performer to bear on the situation, Taruskin's essays, ranging from theoretical speculation to practical criticism, cover a repertory that includes Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Stravinsky.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 390 pages
  • 148 x 224 x 28mm | 598.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous music examples
  • 0195094581
  • 9780195094589
  • 350,040

Back cover copy

Over the last dozen years, the writings of Richard Taruskin have transformed the debate about "early music" and "authenticity". Text and Act collects for the first time the most important of Taruskin's essays and reviews from this period, many of which are now classics in the field. Taking a wide-ranging cultural view of the early music phenomenon, he shows that the movement, far from reviving ancient traditions, in fact represents the only truly modern style of performance being offered today. He goes on to contend that the movement is therefore far more valuable - and even authentic - than simple historical verisimilitude could ever be. These essays cast fresh light on many aspects of contemporary music-making and music-thinking, mixing lighthearted debunking with impassioned argumentation. Taruskin moves fluently from theoretical speculation to practical criticism, and covers a repertory ranging from Josquin des Prez to Stravinsky.show more

Review quote

Another one from Taruskin, 'the most devastatingly acute of the growing band of critics and philosophers who question the whole idea of authentic practice. A splendid and heartening book' * BBC Music Magazine * ...the most devastingly acute of the growing band of critics and philosophers who question the whole idea of authentic performance practice. Taruskin has been engaged in a war of words, every blow and counter-blow of which is recorded in this entertaining and wonderfully stimulating book. I found this a splendid and heartening book. * BBC Books * A splendid and heartening book. * Music Magazine * He is the most devastatingly acute of the growing band of critics and philosophers who question the whole idea of authentic performance practice. * Music Magazine * Superlative value...presents virtually all Taruskin's major writing on performance criticism. * Early Music *show more

Rating details

49 ratings
4.32 out of 5 stars
5 47% (23)
4 43% (21)
3 6% (3)
2 4% (2)
1 0% (0)
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