I posted below about Sir Christopher Hogwood and the rise of the historically-informed performance school. Well, poking about on U-toob, I came across a splendid example of what I was talking about, members of Cafe Zimmermann (one of my favorite current ensembles) performing Marin Marais’s (1656-1728), “La Sonnerie de Saint Genevieve”:
It’s certainly not the greatest piece of musick in the world, but I’ve always found the play of invention over the endlessly-repeating continuo to induce a nicely meditative frame of mind.
Anyhoo, I post this clip mostly to assert that this kind of performance was simply unpossible to find back in the day and that, if you heard the piece at all, it would likely be at the hands of a twenty-odd piece string section that could only get through it by playing both more slowly and more rigidly.
(Oh, and speaking of Cafe Zimmermann, if you haven’t got their collection of Charles’ Avison’s Concertos after Scarlatti, I certainly encourage you to snap it up instanter. I promise you won’t regret it.)