Previews 2014: Vibrato and Juicy Phrasing

C.P.E. Bach BMIIn an interview with Aston Magna Artistic Director Daniel Stepner, the Boston Musical Intelligencer brings a season-wide preview of the best in early music.

Here’s a snippet:

What’s your feeling about vibrato?

Vibrato — yes! but as a conscious ornament, ideally and not a constant sugar coating. There is reference to vibrato—both vocal and instrumental—in most method books from the 17th and 18th centuries. But often those valuable windows into performance practice warn against its excessive use. Today as well, vibrato is the performer’s option. Whether it seems appropriate is a matter of taste — both the performer’s and the listener’s.

And will we hear juicy phrasing?

Juicy phrasing? Not sure what this means, but I personally think that Monteverdi, Bach, Vivaldi and their peers call for the full range of intensity expression—swooning at times and with restraint at others. I think the label romantic is sometimes an unfortunate mitigator of expression in music not considered of the Romantic era. The problem in all music is to find the right degree of volume, vibrato, rubato, and other variables — so that the music seems natural and speaks to the listener in a convincing way. [Read more]