Blog / Pioneers of the early music movement

Pioneers of the early music movement

Posted on 29 Mar 2017 by Cristina Maldonado

Richard Tognetti. Photo credit Anthony Browell.

Richard Tognetti grew up listening to the pioneers of the early music movement at a time when Karajan was the Emperor. “They were radical misfits some of whom made ambit claims of knowing what the composer intended, whereas the attraction was a new and vibrant way of playing this great and little explored music from the baroque,” he explains.

Tognetti soaked up performances by Dutch, English and Austro-German pioneers. “Anner Bylsma the first cellist to convincingly record the Bach Suites on period instruments; the great Frans Brüggen, who conducted my first performances of Mozart’s last symphonies with the ACO; and Christopher Hogwood who I worked a great deal with and who forged a strong relationship with the ACO – he was the pioneer of the early music movement. Hogwood once said, ‘You can play things stylishly on the wrong instruments or unstylishly on the right instruments’. So although much of the early music movement was based on dogma (spurious at that), there was also something liberating about it: we had the gate open to an earlier age, whilst forging a new and exciting path.” He adds, “Bach was, in many ways, like Shakespeare – he wanted his art to evolve and not be set in stone. Arguably, more than just about any other composer, you can adapt, transform and really experiment with Bach’s music – it’s like clay.”

To this day Richard meets people who define Bach’s genius in terms of mathematic precision and technical mastery, but for him Bach’s timeless appeal lies in the sheer aesthetic beauty of his sound world. 

2 - 12 April 2017
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Richard Tognetti Director & Violin
Helena Rathbone Violin
Satu Vänskä Violin
Timo-Veikko Valve Cello

BACH (arr. Richard Tognetti) Preludio from Violin Partita No.3 in E major
BACH Violin Concerto No.2 in E major
BACH Sarabande from Cello Suite No.4 in E-flat major
HAYDN Symphony No.22 in E-flat major The Philosopher
BACH Concerto for Two Violins in D minor
BACH Concerto for Three Violins in D major
HAYDN Symphony No.27 in G major