Parry Society Dr Nicholas Prozzillo (Harris Manchester College, Oxford), ‘Authentic? Historically informed? What is all the fuss about?’

The Parry Society were pleased to host Dr Nicholas Prozzillo, Director of Music at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. Meeting as usual at Ballards, the audience of about 20 were treated to a discussion of authenticity and the Early Music movement.

The talk featured a discussion of the history of the Early Music movement, suggesting that the ideas it supports, those of the playing of music from a certain historical period in the way it would have been played at its first performance, began as early as the time of Prince Albert. The main force of discussion was whether to play a piece in an historically informed way is enough to make it a good performance, or can contribute to making the performance good, or is of no value, and the audience were divided on this. Towards the end of the talk, five different recordings of the first Goldberg variation, by J S Bach, were played. The first four were on the piano, but all from different decades and in different styles, and the fifth was a modern performance on a piano accordion, which delighted and shocked in equal measure. The Parry Society is extremely grateful to Dr Prozzillo for an involving talk, which the audience engaged with throughout, and will be helpful to many in preparing their own performances.

John Clark-Maxwell OS MS (GRP)