The Hanover Band
Ever since Caroline Brown founded The Hanover Band in 1980 its primary objective has been to enable audiences to gain a better feeling for what earlier music actually sounded like when heard in favourable circumstances.
Historical instruments are key to this; as one prominent conductor recently put it, “they have more colour, shape and less weight than modern instruments. They are more tangy, more piquant. We can play full out with the greatest passion, and still sound like Mozart.”
An earlier composer’s intentions (or even expectations) can be difficult to determine. The Hanover Band draws on a huge variety of historical evidence, including literary sources, archives, treatises, autographs, early editions and iconography. The Band’s ethos recognises that the use of period instruments must be complemented by musical understanding, an awareness of social and cultural context, acoustical considerations and concert-giving situations.
Over a decade ago one celebrated critic noted that “there is no worthwhile, thoughtful and intellectually stimulating and musically adventurous performance going on today that has not been touched by the period instrument movement.” The Hanover Band under its inspirational artistic director Caroline Brown has played a major part in bringing about this state of affairs; their distinguished players, who teach in the top music conservatoires in the UK, are committed to education work and passing on their enthusiasm and knowledge to the next generation of music lovers.
What are the special qualities of The Hanover Band? 35 years ago there was a general consensus that the ‘authentic’ musician aspired merely to act willingly in the service of the composer, denying any form of glorifying self-expression, attaining this by following text-book rules for ‘scientific method’ with a strictly empirical programme to verify historical practices. These were somehow magically transformed into the composer’s ‘intentions’. Yet Caroline immediately recognised that the craft of music-making must be held in equal balance with the art, even though historical evidence often seems heavily biased in favour of the former. In a pre-digital age, those precious interactions between composer and performer have been largely lost for ever.
In interpreting the past The Hanover Band has demonstrated an artistic integrity that has become all too rare within the realm of historical performance.
– excerpted from an article by Colin Lawson, Director of the Royal College of Music.
For more information about The Hanover Band, including details of forthcoming concerts please visit www.thehanoverband.com