Redefining Early Recordings as Sources for Performance Practice and History
Redefining Early Recordings as Sources for Performance Practice and History was an AHRC-funded research network led by PI Dr Eva Moreda Rodríguez (University of Glasgow) and CoI Dr Inja Stanović (University of Surrey) and Dr Karin Martensen (Technische Universität Berlin, international partner). It brought together researchers, performers, curators, technicians and collectors from all over the world who use early recordings (roughly defined as pre-Second World War) as sources for the study of music history and music performance. The network ran from March 2021 to March 2023.
The first symposium of the network, Using early recordings in practice-led research, took place at the Phipps Hall of the University of Huddersfield on 12 September 2021. While practice-led research into early recordings as sources of performance practice has seen a substantial increase in recent years, researchers have enjoyed few opportunities to discuss and share methodologies and approaches. The symposium aimed at addressing this gap through the delivery and discussion of four papers/lecture-recitals covering specific case studies, as well as through a practical workshop which allowed performer-researchers to experiment with phonograph recording in real time.
Dr Inja Stanovic
Surrey Future Senior Fellow
Dr Inja Stanović is a Croatian pianist and a published author. Inja is a Senior Researcher at the University of Surrey, where she directs the Early Recordings Association, ERA. Her recent publications include co-edited volume Early Sound Recordings: Academic Research and Practice (Routledge, 2023), and a free-source research album Austro-German Revivals: (Re)constructing Acoustic Recordings (University of Huddersfield Press, 2022).
Dr David Milsom (University of Huddersfield) and Dr Inja Stanovic (University of Surrey). “Setting the Record Straight: Violin and piano in disc recording session“. The authors discussed their experience of performing together for the phonograph. Practical issues that came up included the preparation before the session (repertoire and organological choices, rehearsal process), during the session (conditions of the room: temperature, space, etc.) and after the session (the differences between what the musician thinks s/he is doing, then immediately listening to the recording on the phonograph, then listening to the digital transfers a few days later). These logistical issues raise some broader questions: for example, why do we do an acoustic recording, and what is it that we are trying to replicate? Stanovic commented that when she was playing she tried to recreate a general atmosphere of nineteenth-century performance practice, but not specific details; however, when listening to the recordings, it does become about specific details. In this respect, Milsom commented that these recording sessions underline that everything can be an expressive possibility, and – with the need to conduct research on various aspects of the context in which these recordings were originally made – the boundaries between “practice-led research” and “research-led practice” are blurred. Milsom and Stanovic demonstrated some aspect of their talk in a performance of the Larghetto from Nardini’s sonata in D.
Dr. George Kennaway (University of Huddersfield) presented on the topic "Why Bach? Why not Tartini? Early recordings of 18th century string music and the nineteenth century cannon'