I’m presently finishing a book, and am otherwise busy with going through a student’s thesis. However, I’ve been listening in whatever breaks I can get to Beethoven S3, Hogwood/AAM. I don’t like their BS8 – brutal tempi, even if the metronome markings may call for them. BS3, though, is done very well. The tempi are much closer to what you get from Bohm/Klemperer/Karajan. The performance is generally civilised and well-balanced, and also exciting. What I particularly like is that I can hear the scoring, which is something you often don’t get with c20 mainstream performances.
John Kersey – to whom I defer in the main for his greater learning and his practical experience and distinction as a performer – assures me that authenticity is a mirage. We cannot hear LvB free of the context that has grown about him in the past 200 years. We don’t and cannot have early c19 ears. There is also the fact that he was creating a sound world that it took the rest of the c19 to explore and begin to understand, and that recreating an early performance, even if it is technically correct, is like prefering an early draft to a finished work. John speaks of a “thin, parsimonious sound,” and tells me to go back to Karajan if I want to hear the composer’s intentions had they been fully informed.
I take these points. I also agree that the moralistic tone of some original performance people is often irritating. Even so, LvB did write for a few dozen players raised on Haydn. It is interesting to hear what he may have been expecting and what he may have got. And I do like this performance. I may not like it so much after another dozen hearings. For the moment, though, I strongly recommend it. On Friday, I will make time to listen to the Hogwood/AAM BS7.