Performing Music in the Age of Recording


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Robert Philip

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Listeners have enjoyed classical music recordings for more than a century, yet important issues about recorded performances have been little explored. What is the relationship between performance and recording? How are modern audiences affected by the trends set in motion by the recording era? What is the impact of recordings on the lives of musicians? In this wide-ranging book, Robert Philip extends the scope of his earlier pioneering book, Early Recordings and Musical Style: Changing Tastes in Instrumental Performance 1900–1950. Philip here considers the interaction between music-making and recording throughout the entire twentieth century.

The author compares the lives of musicians and audiences in the years before recordings with those of today. He examines such diverse and sometimes contentious topics as changing attitudes toward freedom of expression, the authority of recordings made by or approved by composers, the globalization of performing styles, and the rise of the period instrument movement. Philip concludes with a thought-provoking discussion of the future of classical music performance.

Robert Philip is lecturer in music, The Open University. He has extensive experience as a music performer, critic, broadcaster, and writer.

Performing Music offers the uninitiated a useful introduction to historical recordings and the sophisticated thoughtful and original reflections on the aesthetics of performance. The wide-ranging illustrative material Philip has compiled should interest everyone, bringing together as it does the insights of living performers with those of the greater and lesser musical lights of the past.”—American Record Guide

“An engrossing guide. . . . Unputdownable.”—Julian Haylock, Classic FM Magazine (A ‘Best Buy’)

"Robert Philip's new book is a really important and exciting landmark. . . . The book is a highly readable narrative, full of entertaining sidelights on 100 years of music-making, but it can also be seen as a first step towards scoping and codifying a vital area of academic research."—Nicholas Kenyon, Classical Music


"A brilliant analysis. . . . The best account I know of how musical life in general has changed since the introduction of vinyl and long-playing records. . . . The book is full of fascinating detail cogently presented. . . . Philip is large-minded, tolerant, and sympathetic to various positions, and consistently judicious."—Charles Rosen, New York Review of Books

Performing Music in the Age of Recording advances a potent thesis about how the phonograph transformed classical culture.”—Alex Ross, New Yorker

“A mind-opening examination of how deeply recording has changed attitudes to music-making since the start of the 20th century.”—Alan Hollinghurst, Sunday Times (London) (bedtime reading choice)

Finalist for the 2005 ARSC Awards for Excellence in the best research in recorded classical music category given by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections
ISBN: 9780300215267
Publication Date: December 4, 2014
304 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4