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Inside Early MusicConversations with Performers$
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Bernard D. Sherman

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169454

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169454.001.0001

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At Home with the Idiom

At Home with the Idiom

(p.257) 14 At Home with the Idiom
Inside Early Music

Bernard D. Sherman

Oxford University Press

According to The New York Times, William Christie is chiefly responsible for reviving interest in French Baroque music. After studying the harpsichord with Ralph Kirkpatrick at Yale University, Christie moved to Paris in 1971, where he immersed himself in the available documentation on French Baroque music, culture, and performance practices. From this he extracted not only a wealth of details but also the essence of a living style. He has managed to share that style with a pool of young musicians, many of them his students at the Paris Conservatoire, where he was the first American ever to be given a professorship. This chapter presents an interview with Christie on the French Baroque music, why the French Baroque is the most difficult style for modern performers to master, the importance of stressing certain syllables for comprehension of the text, historical information, French instrumental music, the distinction between the Italian and French style of Baroque singing, vibrato, early music, and ensemble.

Keywords:   William Christie, French Baroque music, instrumental music, vibrato, ensemble, syllables, early music

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