pre-authentic movement

April 19, 2009 at 11:59 PM ·

Hi, I ordered a very interesting collection and they said that the performer solidly belongs to the pre-authentic movement and almost never play music written before 1700.  Too curious (as usual :) about this sentence, I search on the net for the meaning of pre-authentic and pre-authentic movement but nothing really ansewered my question and I don't really understand the meaning of pre-authentic. I was wondering if someone here knew what it means. 

Thank you very much and a nice day to everyone!


Replies (30)

April 20, 2009 at 12:18 AM ·

I have never heard of it.  There is always someone trying to find a new niche in the music world.  However, it is possible that it simply refers to someone who does not accept the authentic performance/period instrument/A-415 crowd's view of how certain pieces should be performed.

April 20, 2009 at 12:38 AM ·


I felt the samething as Tom.  Its the kind of label that might be used disparagingly about a 20c performer who makes few cocnessions to authenticity research.  This does not mean they cannot play with good style ,  in my opinion;)

It may be a mispelling of pre-orthodontic and actually have soemthing to do with the development of moden dentistry.   After all ,  Paginini`s sunken cheecks actually ha dmore to do with having had his teeth pulled out by an incompetent Czech surgeon (not my friend Daniel Forro)  than a pact with the devil )possibly my frined Damniel Forro).



April 20, 2009 at 03:39 AM ·

Count on Stephen for a biting remark! I will fight tooth and nail to have him banned from this thread. His tongue-n-cheek comments have really decayed recently. Actually, I'm Crest-fallen. What could be the root of the problem? Maybe we should award him a nice plaque. 


I wouldn't be surprised if "pre-authentic" refers to how music was interpreted before all those crazy Dutch guys came along and told everyone to not vibrato, make wa-wa sounds with their bows, and buy expensive and fussy gut strings. Some violinists like Zuckerman are known to despise the whole movement.

April 20, 2009 at 03:57 AM ·


Scott, as chief propagator of canal knowledge you have no excuse.



April 20, 2009 at 04:51 AM ·


That might be your opinion, but 4 out of 5 violinists surveyed might beg to differ. Actually, in this economy, they might just be begging......


ps. stop that masticating--you might go blind!

April 20, 2009 at 05:43 AM ·


but 8 out of ten cat owners said they prefered good looking violnists.  Or am I confused?



April 20, 2009 at 06:27 AM ·

Sadly, it's down to 8 out of 9 cat owners; with the sad state of the economy, the other had to re-string his violin.

April 20, 2009 at 07:50 AM ·

Scott: at first read, I thought you were serious and being critical of Buri. But, after a second look it was clear that you were just flapping your gums. Actually, Buri's biting wit is often a CROWN-ing touch to many a thread.

April 20, 2009 at 08:38 AM ·

Would you count Harnoncourt's conducting style with eyes and mouth torn wide open authentic or pre-authentic? So far we couldn't discover any tooth gaps.

Another "Dutch" guy comes to mind, barefooted and vibratoless Lord Roger Norrington - authentic or pre-?

Or does pre-authentic refer to Bible times King David accompanying his own singing on harp?


April 20, 2009 at 08:49 AM ·

oh mi Lord, I'm sorry.

Roger Norrington was declared Sir, wasn't he? Probably for his authentic interpretations.


April 20, 2009 at 05:10 PM ·

Scott, you had me rolling on the floor laughing until I realized you hate baroque performance style.  I will sulk about this for a while.

April 20, 2009 at 06:12 PM ·

We should collect those imaginative musical terms: Russian Prodigy Bowhold, Pre-Authentic, and so on.

As to pre-authentic, a lot of those fancy prefixes are just a polite way to say not. As in semi-professional, deputy director, and so on.

And by the way, the proper Dutch terminology for "wah-wah with the bow" is messa di voce.

And now I'll go sulk with Marina.


JS Bach to one of his pupils: "Du sollst dieses Stückchen authentisch spielen, mein Junge." (You have to play this piece authentically, my boy).

April 20, 2009 at 07:47 PM ·


Who said I dislike period performance style? For several years I was concertmaster of a baroque orchestra here, and have done period performance in other places. I'd love to have a baroque violin & bow if I could afford it, and believe strongly that all string majors should take a course in baroque bowing with authentic bows.


Agreed--Stephen is the crowning touch. However, I find him just a tad mercurial for my taste. Must be an amalgam of different things in his personality.


April 21, 2009 at 12:30 AM ·

Hi, thanks!  Seems that everyone as a hard time to define it too!   By the way, I forgot to tell that the performer was Oistrakh so maybe it could help to find why they told this!  Yes, he bites to his music... but how beautifully!  I found this super Brillante label collection just by entering in a good music store and couldn't not prchase this chamber music edition!  It's full of sonatas and it also has Bach things and if I'm not wrong, Bach was born before (1700).  So they are liers! lol  By the way, I have never hear a recording of Oistrakh where he plays the Vivaldi four seasons.  I hope to find one one day:(  (One of my favorite piece but I have found very good versions by other players!) Could this be explained by this "pre-authentic" statement.   I wonder. But I did saw him on youtube doing a Vivaldi quartet with Kogan and their sons!!!  But this paper was full of things a little weird.  Not bad things but I feel they kind of caricatured (exagerate a little) a few of his tradmarks.  Maybe it's just my impression.  After all, they wanted to make a bitty paper for custumors!  Not to mention maybe it was not Oistrakh who decided that he didn't want to touch to works before 1700...

Thanks and I'm anxious to learn more.  In the meantime, if your boloved violin bites you, tell it NO! and put it in the corner for a while.  If it steel does, put it in his cage until tomorrow.  He will realize it's fault and should wag its tailpiece happily the next time he sees you to be forgiven! 


April 21, 2009 at 01:38 PM ·

Anne-Marie - interesting that the performer was Oistrakh.  Bach, although born in 1685, did not write any music Oistrakh would perform until the early 1700s.  However, aside from Bach, I have never heard a recording he made of anything from that period, although I have not heard all of his recordings.   He may have recorded some Vivaldi, although not the Four Seasons.  I do know that he recorded the Bach sonatas for violin and continuo with a harpsichordist rather than a pianist.  If he were truly "pre-authentic", I am not sure he would have done that.  "Pre-authentic" paints him with a rather broad brush and misses his genius as a violinist.  I would rather hear his wonderfully beautiful and insightful performances of any piece of Bach (or any other composer) than most A-415ers' "authentic" performances.

April 22, 2009 at 04:19 PM ·

Scott, that was the impression I got by the way your described it.

Thinking about the word pre-authentic again I have come to the conclusion that it means the performers who way back when performed baroque music without regard to how the composer might have intended it.  It is a specific style of playing baroque music in a very romantic sort of way, with lots of slides and vibrato and trying desperately to make it sound like Wagner.

April 22, 2009 at 04:42 PM ·

Poor Anne-Marie, she just wants an answer to her question and is getting dental jokes instead! I have to say, though, Scott, your reply to Buri's post was funny funny funny. How long did it take you to create that paragraph?! 

I also got a kick out of the fact that in place of some of the Google violin advertisements that border this page, there were now advertisements for dentists and dental work. Love that Google; so quick to catch onto which way a thread has gone.

April 22, 2009 at 09:08 PM ·


I`m afraid if we use the expression `old` violin we will get adverts for hemarrhoid  cream



April 23, 2009 at 12:48 AM ·

Thanks! Interesting and the dental jokes don't bother me at all!  There are pretty funny!  What is the worst bite you had from your violin lol    I prefer symbolic bites than authentic ones!  

I understand better each day what pre-authentic means!

Thanks : )*)


April 23, 2009 at 01:24 AM ·


>I understand better each day what pre-authentic means!

That means you have moved from pre-pre-authentic to post-pre-authentic in a very short time span.  You may need a medical check up.



April 23, 2009 at 09:04 PM ·

Yes but find me an authentic doctor.  I wouldn't trust those of Grey's anatomy!!! (or Dr House)!!!


April 23, 2009 at 10:29 PM ·


perhaps oyu need Dr. Phil.  At least you have Dr. Scott on tap.



April 27, 2009 at 07:51 AM ·

Anne Marie and Tom: Oistrakh did play (and record) many works by Vivaldi, Tartini, Locatelli, Leclair, Bach. Unfortunately he only recorded one solo Bach sonata(n°1), and used to say that he didn't feel he was yet ready to record the 6....and I am pretty sure he didn't mean he still had to acquire the "appropriate" bowing for performing pre romantic music.

Stating that he(and others masters of that era) made Bach sound like Wagner means that you don't know much about Wagner either...after all, who would want a Strad to sound like a tuba played in a bathroom by a flu stricken musician? (besides that, they didn't have bathrooms in Bach's Zeit).

About Oistrakh, a new cd just came out with a complete recital given in Paris(1959) that included Tartini's G minor sonata (Didone abandonnata), and, as an encore the andante from Bach's sonata in A minor (from a recital in L.A.)

April 27, 2009 at 02:39 PM ·

Daniel - thanks for all the info on specific recordings.  I do have his Devil's Trill and know he recorded some Vivaldi.  It was not his primary interest, I don't think.  But whatever he played, he did so divinely, IMHO.

April 27, 2009 at 02:55 PM ·

Perhaps we could bridge Authentic and Pre-authentic with Post-Authentic. IMHO Paganinni was no-ones in-dentured servant..... just a genius. }:^D


April 27, 2009 at 03:39 PM ·

That was snide.

April 27, 2009 at 04:45 PM ·

I think it was rather more toothsome than snide.

April 27, 2009 at 06:43 PM ·

"Stating that he(and others masters of that era) made Bach sound like Wagner means that you don't know much about Wagner either"

I think it's the word "either" that bothers me.

April 27, 2009 at 08:28 PM ·

1 vote for "unnecessarily snotty and inadvertently self-incriminating." 

April 27, 2009 at 10:06 PM ·

Daniel, thanks for the infos!  Could you give some titles if you know some recordings he made of Vivaldi? And the labels of these recording also because I love very much Vivaldi's music!   Thanks! I don't know ennough to pronounce myself on the Wagner's question.  I just like the way Oistrakh played and this is marvelous ennough for me. (even if it is important to understand composers, of course)!


This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine