Aspects of Authenticity

Aspects of Authenticity (Gresham College). Professor Christopher Hogwood's first series of lecture for Gresham College covers the topic of Authenticity. Through examination of recordings, and adjusted manuscripts, through additions, forgeries and uncompleted work, Professor Hogwood seeks to answer the question, what is authenticity in music?

Christopher Hogwood CBE was a world-renowned conductor, keyboard player, musicologist, writer, editor and broadcaster. As well as being the Gresham Professor of Music between 2010 and 2014, he was the founding director of the Academy of Ancient Music for over thirty years, before holding positions at the Royal Academy of Music, the University of Cambridge and Cornell University. (from

Image: Aspects of Authenticity

The Past is a Foreign Country
In its passage from manuscript composition to audible performance, a musical work passes through the hands of editors, teachers, interpreters, recording engineers and many others, all of whom make decisions, often based on personal choices, and have to satisfy the tastes and needs of a changing public.

St Cecilia and Music: True or False?
Why does music require a 'patron saint'? What are the qualifications of such a person, and how has the praise of a non-musical heroine contributed so much to our poetic and musical heritage.

Fakes, Completions and the Art of Borrowing
Although Mozart's unfinished Requiem is the most publicised composition requiring a helping-hand, there are many similar incomplete may-be masterpieces which have been assisted in some way, plus a number of well-loved classics which have very little connection with their supposed author.

The Authenticity of Genius
Although Mozart is the usual example of genius that springs to mind (a combination of youth and perfection), in this lecture Felix Mendelssohn is proposed as a more precocious example of the same qualities, with an even greater range of abilities.

From Composer to Printed Page
Musical notation is both inexact and changeable; the assumptions of one period may be lost on following generations, and the greater part of written music still remains unpublished at the present day.

From Printed Page to Performance
When so much in music education is formulated on the principle of imitation, and the passing down of received 'traditions' from teacher to pupil, it is important to readdress the significance of original and informed opinion in performance.

Related Links
The Great Composers
This is a BBC documentary series narrated by Kenneth Branagh, presenting the lives and works of some of important figures in Western music.
The Making of a Masterpiece
Professor Christopher Hogwood presents a how-to guide and discusses the key features of the greatest musical works in history.
Music in Context
An analysis of key pieces in the classical music canon, considered within the context in which they were created.
Listening to Music
This course fosters the development of aural skills that lead to an understanding of Western music.
Howard Goodall's Story of Music
This is a BBC documentary presented by Howard Goodall, tracing the story of music from the ancient world to the modern day.