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The past never gives us direct access to the past

'Nevertheless, Early Music is potentially this kind of performance practice or listening experience which doesn't believe in the so-called original, authentic experience of the contemporary moment, but affirms the crucial impact of time passing, of the importance of repetition, of the remake, of the retention of memory. Time and past are still crucial. We are not talking about the pseudo-possibility of doing whatever. The situation is much more exciting and complex: the past never gives us direct access to the past, so to speak; only by a strange detour can one eventually get to it, and even then it is like a novelty we hardly recognize: the truly new appears directly from the grave! It is not surprising that the most ridiculous reaction to an artwork is: "I've seen this before, it has already been done!" This stresses the impossible demand of the experience of the so-called 'new' and denies the idea that the 'new' might appear out of the folds of past experiences. The truly 'new' triggers what we thought we knew and makes it appear in an unseen or unheard perspective. Therefore the 'new' is not at all a monopoly of Contemporary Music, but probably even more fundamental in the practice of Early Music'

Björn Schmelzer, Margarida Garcia 'Time Regained (A Warburg Atlas for Early Music)'.

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