The Lyrical Style Project
Royal Antwerp Conservatory (AP Institute) 2014-2016
Horn playing in the lyrical tradition: exploring the loop between performers, repertoire, instruments and playing style in Belgium, 1860-1960.
The omnipresent French cultural influence determined much of Belgium's musical life during the 19th century. By 1860 however, a distinguishable school of horn playing was established at Belgian conservatoires and music schools. A considerable amount of trained horn players escaped from the miserable social circomstances of 19th century Belgium by migrating to France, Britain or the US, and contributed to the musical traditions of their new homelands.
The specific “lyrical” playing style of these pioneers inspired composers to write a comprehensive, particular repertoire of surprising quality. This music is mostly unknown and unavailable to the public of today. On top of this, the lack of essential research towards instrumentation, playing style and historical performance practice troubles exciting modern-day performances:
-musical instruments from that time can be quite commonly found in instrument collections, but are often not accessable; (research goal: rediscovery of ancient playing methods)
-phrasing, tonal colour, musical “taste” was completely changed over the last century due to international influences; (research goal: rediscovery of ancient playing styles and finetuning of knowledge on the field of historical instrumental practices)
-the historical framework of the particular repertoire is overall rather vague; (research goal: the creation of a referential framework trough fundamental research)
-the influences of this particular school of horn playing on the development and the international music scene is quite unclear in present days; (research goal: defining the exact impact of influences from the Belgian lyrical playing tradition on the development of musical style in modern days)
The key towards a better knowledge, performance and distribution of this unique repertoire is hidden in libraries, archives, period recordings and instrumental collections. Linking this information to playing practice can give back these works the appreciation they deserve.
I hope to be able to contribute to a more diverse knowledge on the horn, and musical culture in general, with this research project.
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