UoN Lecturer Completes SAR Fellowship at the National Film and Sound Archives
Senior Lecturer in Music, Dr Ian Cook has returned from a seven-week Scholars and Artists in Residence (SAR) Fellowship at the National Film and Sound Archives (NFSA) in Canberra. His research analysed recordings of Mozart opera performances to examine the differences in interpretation of the music by performers and conductors in the context of historical informed performance (HIP) practices.
As part of the SAR Fellowship, Dr Cook compared over 180 recordings of Mozart opera performances in the NFSA collection to performances of Sir Charles Mackerras from the late 20th century.
"I wanted to identify trends associated with historical informed performance practice and to see if they existed in earlier periods of the 20th century," Dr Cook said.
"A problem that results in opera performances is when misinformed decisions of speed are adopted by a performer/conductor as it then directly impacts upon Mozart's dramatic intentions for the opera story. The balance and interconnection within the relationships of the speed is paramount in the final performance when all musical and dramatic elements are brought together," Dr Cook said.
The database of NFSA contained material covering a broad time frame of Mozart performances from 1906 to the present.
"Mapping the trends and discussing the comparison against the European/English counterpart was valuable in observing how HIP developed in context of Australian performances."
"One significant area of research that developed through the Fellowship was the work of Hector Crawford. Crawford was a musician and conductor and produced radio programs like Opera for the People and the Mobil Quest where Mozart repertoire was regularly performed," Dr Cook said.
In September Dr Cook will be presenting his research at a Conference, Training Early Musicians in the Age of Recording, at the Israel Conservatory of Music.