Thursday, 4 June 2015

Historically Informed Composition

On the launch of Music Haven's new publication of a completion of Mozart's oboe concerto, K.293, William Drabkin considers the issues of originality in the process of reconstructing music from the past.

To some extent, I’m here on false pretences. My formal tuition in composition ceased nearly half a century ago and was replaced by training in musicology; at best, I can call composition one of my ‘private passions’. I have maintained a life-long interest in the compositional processes of the great Austrian composers of the late eighteenth and early 19th centuries, and have devoted much time to transcribing and interpreting the sketchbooks of Beethoven. Through my study of Classical-period music, I have come into contact with unfinished works the completion of which I have been unable to resist.