Guignon’s Folies D’Espagne, Op. 9 | Juilliard William Christie Historical Performance Master Class

November 12, 2019

WILLIAM CHRISTIE: So, we’re going
to start out with Guignon . Chloe, why don’t you…you know… Why don’t you tell us a little bit about
Monsieur Jean-Pierre Guignon? CHLOE KIM: Yes…So, we can’t
talk about Guignon without speaking about Le Claire, of course. They were bitter rivals, or at least characterized to be in all of the histories. Both of them…they were separated by five years and they were both actually… Sorry Guignon was a native Italian. He was born in Turin and he studied
with the same teacher as Le Claire. Louis XV hired them both to be
concert master of his orchestra. And, actually, Le Claire retired within one month because he wouldn’t want to play second to Guignon. CHRISTIE: Yeah, so the essential
sort of information is that he’s not French, he’s Italian, but he lives in France and he’s under royal patronage. In fact, he was a very close friend of the Queen. And what did he write? KIM: Guignon? CHRISTIE: Yes. He’s essentially what? [inaudible] CHRISTIE: Yes, yes, yeah he was the
incomparable violent sort of master at the time and we’re going to hear what? KIM: This is Folies D’Espagne… It’s based on the famous folio. CHRISTIE: Yeah and where does that come from? KIM: Sorry? CHRISTIE: Where does
that piece come from? That folio? Is it French? No, it’s a base, isn’t it? KIM: Yes.
CHRISTIE: Yeah. [inaudible] Very famous, yes? KIM: Yes.
CHRISTIE: Yeah. How would you describe…
this particular kind of music? KIM: Wild and madness. CHRISTIE: Wild. That’s synonymous
on the violin with popular appeal, yeah? Wild gypsy playing, yeah? Sort of…yeah. Yes. And what is it exactly? It’s for two violins? For harmony? KIM: For two violins, but there’s an option, actually. Guignon writes that a third violin
could join us and play the baseline. CHRISIE: Important because in these three pieces we’re going to listen to, the Guignon and Telemann and the Couperin, the options
are multiple in terms of how many instruments or what kind of instruments are playing and what
would the third instrument played? If she or he were not here? KIM: He actually specifies the violin– CHRISTIE: Yes, he talks about what?
What part? It’s an essential part. [CHRISTIE speaks in a foreign language] That means he plays what? He plays the bass, yeah? Good. So, on we go. ♫ ♫ ♫
[Baroque string music] [applause] CHRISTIE: There wasn’t enough. [laughter] We could have heard some more. This is the kind of piece, if you played this on the street corners anywhere in New York, you’d have a lot of people listen to it. It’s easy to listen to– it’s popular music essentially because
there’s nothing much aside from virtuoso violin playing and/or a very simple
harmonics of the bass and it just gets as, you said, wilder and wilder. It says a lot about France, it says a lot about how the violin has been sort of evolving
since the early part of the 17th century. A few things to talk about are just information. What is it…is this a manuscript, is it an engraved edition, is it published? [inaudible] CHRISTIE: It’s engraved, yeah, which
means that it’s going to be sold, yes? Yes! And it’s gonna be sold to a lot of people. Yes, yeah, and this is something we’re going to be able to tie into Telemann and to Couperin as well. Why do you engrave an edition in the 1730’s? Well, it’s to make money, but also
to provide happiness to a greater number of people and they’re called
amateurs, essentially, they say. Did amateurs try to play this music? Yes–probably not as well as you did, so it was not only used by professionals
but it was used by a very large number an increasingly large number in the
18th century of non-aristocratic so not simple folk by any means, but I mean
you know it wasn’t court music this is very important this was probably all his
stuff that he published was because essentially this music has a very wide
appeal. Now let’s talk about your performance. Are you happy with it? Yeah. There’s a fair amount of input found in
your part isn’t there I mean what I was looking at didn’t correspond all
together with the notes that I was looking at or the rhythm that I was
looking at or the rubato playing that I was looking at so yeah these were
decisions as to you two made, yeah. I liked them…I like them because they essentially it gives more personality to the piece and
it also is something which I think all now especially students at the jury
hardened when in early music should understand that the personal input your
input is far more important then let’s say a piece of Shostakovich or…
what have you you know when I was teaching a while back I would
take a piece…a print of sixteen hundred and seventy artists and
then pull out one page of Pierre Boulez There were 70…I think 72 indications
of tempo phrasing dynamics on one page of the Boulez and zero for Lily, which means it you know and it’s the same thing here. Do we have dynamics? KIM: Very few.
CHRISTIE: Very few– Just loud and soft stuff yeah, yeah. What else? KIM: Occasionally, articulation. CHRISTIE: A few articulation patterns,
yeah, but that’s a pretty small technical note…. Yeah, yeah, so, yes. What I thought your input was very, very effective, yeah. Do you play it differently every time? KIM: It’s been different most of the time…[laughter] CHRISTIE: That too, of course, is something which is an important part of the early music aesthetic in the 18th even in the
17th century–essentially spontaneity. If this piece can sound like it was written the day before yesterday, you’ve won. If it starts to smell of archaeology or musicology, it starts to smell a little bit musty as if you know… Yes, I remember that treatise back in
1687 that says you must, you must, yes. That kind of thing you know it can go
very far in this and that’s one of the nice things about early music, you can
pretty much do what you want, in a sense. By the way, so I talked about with
Ben [Sosland] a couple of days ago we were talking about the fact
that there are a lot of visiting artists, specialists and I say to myself and I
said to Ben, “It’s a good thing even you know because essentially there is many
ways of playing this piece as there are people who you know interpreters or people who are gonna coach you in it, you know?” Yes. And that’s important to
spontaneity is individuality know your personality and what you’ve
got to have a framework of course… You can’t just do anything you know, but the
within those limits there’s a lot to do. Yeah, I know, Chloe, because she played
with me this summer and we played actually an extraordinary sonata
of Handle a while back at the… Morgan Library, which was I think one
of my most favorite moments in 2018. Don’t know you as well,
but it’s a very nice duo. Do you have anything to say? Aside from appreciation? Yeah, yeah, you’re setting a
very high standard right now. Are you gonna stick around? KIM: Of course. CHRISTE: Good. Okay. Let’s go on. [applause]

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