The educational YouTube channel Singing Early Music explains how historical principles of expressive singing can bring mute scores to life in exciting ways. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, performers liberated music from the “confining rigidity” of its notation (Caccini, 1602), and the videos focus on the fundamental tools and techniques singers of the past used to communicate with audiences heart to heart – “either an air, or recitative, sung exactly as it is commonly noted would be a very inexpressive, nay, a very uncouth performance” (Corri, c.1781).
Robert Toft has published five books on historically informed vocal performance (notably Bel Canto and With Passionate Voice for Oxford University Press) and has given master classes on historical principles of singing at leading conservatories and universities in many countries. His production company, Talbot Records, released its first recording in 2017. Robert’s home base is in the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University, Canada.