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Chamber Music on Period Instruments

On Monday I heard the Flemish cellist Roel Dieltiens playing Brahms and Schubert with his chamber music group Ensemble Explorations.  The two works featured were Brahms’ second sextet Op. 36 and Schubert’s string quintet in C. 

The musicians played on ‘original’ instruments – that meant, for example, gut strings, and no spikes for the cellos.  The resulting sound, especially for the Schubert, was triumphant (even if tuning was more of a problem than usual).  The clarity of the middle voices was particularly striking.

Although baroque chamber music is now almost always performed on period instruments, most chamber groups perform classical, romantic and modern music without changing instruments according to the repertoire. 

Why is this?  Is the chamber music world simply lagging behind, or are there other reasons to explain this phenomenon?  Is it because of practical difficulties created by the traditional mix of musical styles in a chamber music concert?  Or do we in some way still accept Haydn as the start of ‘modern’ chamber music?

Do you have another explanation? 

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