Symposium 1: Using early recordings in practice-led research (Huddersfield, 12 Sept 2021)

The first symposium of the network, Using early recordings in practice-led researchwill take place at the Phipps Hall at the University of Huddersfield, on the 12th of September 2021. The Phipps Hall is on the second floor of the Richard Steinitz Building, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH.

The event will also be streamed through your Youtube channel at

If you would like to attend the symposium in-person in Huddersfield, please e-mail Inja Stanovic at inja.stanovic(at) to book your place. If you are a PG student and would like to participate in the PG short presentations sections, please let us know.

9.00 – 9.15 – Welcome from Eva Moreda Rodríguez and Inja Stanovic

9.15 – 10.00 – George Kennaway (University of Huddersfield).  Why Bach? Why not Tartini? Early recordings of 18th-century string music and the nineteenth-century canon

10.00 – 10.45 – David Milsom/Inja Stanovic (University of Huddersfield). “Setting the Record Straight: Violin and piano in disc recording session

10.45 – 11.15 – Coffee break

11.15 – 12.00 – Jeroen Billiet (Royal Brussels Conservatory). “‘The instructive-pitoresque museum‘: The paradigm of instrumental tuition in Belgian belle époque horn studios, reflected in early 20th century recordings”

12.00 – 12.45 – Kate Bennet-Wardsworth (Guildhall School of Music). “Talking with your hands: early spoken-word recordings as a guide to string portamento

12.45 – 14.00 – Lunch break

14.00 – 17.00 – Workshop

17.00 – End of event; final remarks


Dr. George Kennaway, University of Huddersfield 

Why Bach? Why not Tartini? Early recordings of 18th-century string music and the nineteenth-century canon 

The ‘baroque’ (an anachronistic term here) composers of string music that are most familiar to us on recordings now are Bach, Corelli, Handel, and Vivaldi. The earliest recordings of this repertoire we know of are of works by Bach: Jules Conus recorded the E major partita’s minuet for Julius Block (1892), the cellist Aleksandr Verzhbilowicz recorded the Air on the G string in 1902, Joachim famously recorded two solo Bach movements in 1903, and Sarasate recorded one the following year. Of these composers, Bach easily predominates in the record catalogues until WW2 at least. Handel is overwhelmingly recorded as an oratorio and opera composer rather than a composer of violin sonatas. The earliest recording of a violin work by Vivaldi listed in CHARM is from 1922 by Renée Chemet; the first of a Corelli violin sonata (Follia variations) was made by the Serbian violinist Yovanovitch Bratza in 1929. That year also saw the earliest recordings of a cello work by Vivaldi (Bazelaire and Maréchal) and Volkmar Andreae’s recording of a Vivaldi concerto grosso. Here the recordings by Isolde Menges of Bach, Handel, Purcell, and Handel made in the 1910s and 20s are unusual. The lack of earlier interest in Vivaldi is predictable enough – there was little interest in him in the 19c as well. But the predominance of Bach – and for the violin, not the cello – while it seems obvious to us, was certainly not obvious if we approach the recording period from the previous century; the earlier nineteenth century shows respect mainly for Bach’s counterpoint. There is also a surprising lack of recordings of violin works from David’s Hohe Schule even though this was a very influential anthology used in conservatoires by many prominent teachers such as Auer. This presentation looks at the evolving canon of ‘baroque’ music in 19C printed editions and its relationship to early recordings. 

Bio: Dr. George Kennaway is a cellist, conductor, teacher, and musicologist, who studied at the universities of Newcastle and Oxford, the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Guildhall School of Music, and the University of Leeds. He now holds visiting research fellowships at the Universities of Leeds and Huddersfield. He was co-principal cello in the Orchestra of Opera North 1979-2008, and now regularly appears as a soloist and chamber music player, on modern, 19th-century, and baroque cello. He was a member of the CHASE research project in 19th-century music editions at the University of Leeds, Director of Music at the University of Hull, and lecturer in early music for the University of Newcastle. George is a member of the Meiningen Ensemble, a chamber group which explores practical applications of historical research to 19th-century repertoire. His publications include Playing the Cello 1780-1930 (Ashgate, 2014) and articles and book chapters on textual and theoretical aspects of 19th-century performance research. Forthcoming publications include John Gunn: Musician Scholar in Enlightenment Britain (Boydell, 2021) and book chapters on 19th-century concepts of musicality, aspects of early 20th-century tonality, and instrumentalists’ biographies. 

Dr. David Milsom and Dr. Inja Stanović, University of Huddersfield 

Setting the Record Straight: Violin and piano in disc recording session 

During Stanovic’s Leverhulme Research Fellowship project ‘(Re)constructing Early Recordings’ (2017-2021), Stanovic and Milsom recorded a number of acoustic recordings. This lecture-recital investigates a set of challenges involved in the acoustic recording process, both from the violinist and the pianist stand points. For both performers, the process of making new acoustic recordings resulted in vital new insights relating to the value of early recordings as a form of research evidence, specifically regarding pianistic and violinist techniques and expression. The findings presented in this lecture-recital highlights the need for experimental attitudes in scholarly research. 


Dr. David Milsom is a violinist, violist, violin teacher, scholar, and university lecturer, based in his home city of Sheffield. David was educated throughout at the University of Sheffield, gaining a 1st class degree and all available performance prizes in 1995, an MMus in historical performance in 1996, and a PhD in 2000, later published as Theory and Practice in Late Nineteenth-Century Violin Performance (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2003), which has become a well-known and standard text on the subject. David’s specialism in late nineteenth-century performance gained him a full-time academic career from 2006 to 2020: recent projects include Romantic Violin Performing Practices (Boydell, Woodbridge, 2020) which acts as a substantial handbook to nineteenth-century violin performing practices, which remains one of David’s dominant academic and performance interests. Currently a part-time member of academic and performance staff at the University of Huddersfield, David has performed and lectured internationally as a performer-scholar. A recent CD release for historically experimental record label Pennine Records is of Brahms’ op. 120 viola sonatas and op. 108 violin sonata. For modern instrument playing, David plays on a 2016 Stradivarius model violin made for him by Sheffield Luthier, John Cockburn, and a bow by celebrated French maker, Benoit Rolland. 

Dr. Inja Stanović is a Croatian pianist and researcher, born in Zagreb and currently residing in Sheffield, UK. As a pianist, Inja has performed in Croatia, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Mexico, the UK, and the US. She finished her PhD at the University of Sheffield, focusing on nineteenth-century performance practices relating to the work of Frédéric Chopin. Besides being an active pianist, Inja is a published author and has held various academic posts, including research fellowship at the Sydney Conservatoire and visiting lectureship at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Inja recently finished her Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Huddersfield, and currently conducts a research project which develops ways of repair of broken wax cylinders with 3M Buckley Innovation Centre in Huddersfield.

Dr. Jeroen Billiet, Royal Brussels Conservatory

The instructive-pitoresque museum: The paradigm of instrumental tuition in Belgian belle époque horn studios, reflected in early 20th century recordings 

In 1893, a group of influential Belgian architects and academics founded the collective ‘l’oeuvre de l’Art appliqué’ aiming to transform the public space of Belgian cities into a ‘pitoresque and instructive museum’. The idea that applied arts had to be strongly rooted into an -often augmented- historical reality was aided and abetted by the cultural establishment of the late 19th-century and also had a decisive impact on the development of the educational system in Belgium and abroad, and consequently also on performance practices in the late romantic era. This lecture will discuss a series of early twentieth century recordings in relation with tuition practices and other incentives, focussing on a successful training line of horn players in Belle Époque Belgium who were exemplary for the role of artistic education in Western Europe at the end of the long 19th Century. 

Dr. Kate Bennett Wadsworth, Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Talking with your hands: early spoken-word recordings as a guide to string portamento 

When learning to play in a 19th-century style, many string players find that the first major hurdle to overcome is an initial distaste for the portamento we hear on early recordings. This sliding effect when changing positions took on a fairly narrow range of meanings in the 20th century: the sentimentality or whimsy of a sigh, or the emotional heaviness of a groan. If we superimpose these meanings onto the almost constant sliding, we hear in early recordings of string players and singers, it can be a real challenge to take these musicians seriously – even in cases when the musician in question is renowned for their artistic seriousness and good taste (e.g. the violinist Joseph Joachim or the soprano Adelina Patti). This paper presents one way of gaining access to the older, wider range of meanings associated with pitch inflection by examining its use in the closely related art of spoken declamation. Building the work of Roger Freitas, Nicholas Cook, Matthias Nöther, and Jed Wentz, I will show through live demonstration how the multifaceted uses of pitch inflection in stylised speech might map directly onto early cellists’ audible shifts. 

Bio: Dr. Kate Bennett Wadsworth is a cellist and gambist devoted to historical performance of all periods, with a special research interest in 19th-century performance practice. In collaboration with Clive Brown and Neal Peres da Costa, she has prepared annotated editions of the Brahms Cello Sonatas and co-authored Performance Practices in Johannes Brahms’ Chamber Music, published by Bärenreiter in 2015. Her recording of the Brahms Cello Sonatas with pianist Yi-heng Yang, released on the Deux-Elles label in 2018, has been praised for its “narrative quality” (Gramophone) and its “ardor and depth” (Early Music America). Kate studied modern cello with Laurence Lesser at the New England Conservatory, baroque cello with Jaap ter Linden at the Royal Dutch Conservatory in The Hague, and 19th-century performance practice with Clive Brown at the University of Leeds, after completing a bachelor’s degree in Scandinavian studies at Harvard University. She is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her project focuses on the performance practices surrounding the Schumann Cello Concerto and is called “The flexible text: reuniting oral and written traditions in 19th-century music”. 

Workshop (led by Duncan Miller, Vulcan Records)

The workshop will be led by Duncan Miller with a help from Inja Stanovic. We will record using a phonograph, and two minute blanks to produce wax cylinders. During the workshop, there will be opportunities to discuss a range of technical and methodological issues.

The participants will be: 

Barbara Gentili (soprano)

Jeroen Billiet (horn)

Emily Worthington (clarinet)

George Kennaway (cello)

Kate Bennett-Wardsworth (cello)

David Milsom (violin)

All will be accompanied by Inja Stanovic (piano).

Workshop schedule

14:00 – 14:10 Introduction

14:10 – 14:35 Barbara Gentili

14:35 – 15:00 Emily Worthington

15:00 – 15:25 Jeroen Billiet

15:25 – 15:50 David Milsom

15:50 – 16:00 coffee break and a new set-up

16:00 – 16:25 George Kennaway

16:25 – 16:50 Kate Bennett-Wardsworth

The recorded repertoire includes:

F. P. Tosti: Che dici, o parola del Saggio? (Barbara Gentili)

C. M. von Weber: Concertino Op. 26 Mov I (Emily Worthington)

G. Puccini: Madama Butterfly, Act 2 Finale (Jeroen Billiet)

P. Nardini: Larghetto (David Milsom)

F. Thome: Simple Confession (George Kennaway)

G. P. Marie: La Cinquantaine (Kate Bennett-Wadsworth)