HIPsters? No, not what you’re thinking, but a word – I’m rather proud(?) of it – that I’ve coined myself. HIPsters are people who favour Historically Informed Performance (aka ‘authentic’ performance or period performance).
Notice the inverted commas around the word ‘authentic’. They’re there because, as critics of the term point out, before the invention of the wax cylinder, 78, LP and CD, we really have no way of knowing what original performances sounded like and, consequently, no real way to claim authenticity for our present day reconstructions: Historically Informed Performance is a much safer term.
Take conductors, for instance, their very presence in a concert of pre-nineteenth century music (unless they’re directing from the keyboard) is seemingly inauthentic; so to mention them and HIP in one breath is a bit of a paradox…
Me? True to my pinko-liberal roots, I’m not doctrinaire about this. But there’s some company in which the merest whiff of a concession to the modern would lead one straight to the tumbril and a, no doubt ‘authentic’, guillotine.
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