Excellent piece, thanks very much for that. He's beautifully and amusingly articulated what I've often felt listening to contemporary recordings/performances. Loved these excerpts:
There's a speed sweepstakes going on. Six years ago in Boston I heard a Bach "B Minor Mass" from which slow tempos had been essentially banished. No more grandeur, no more sublimity, no more sweetness, no more tragedy—all qualities in which the "B Minor" is incomparably rich. Or used to be. In this performance the speeds were brisk, brisker, breakneck. In the "Crucifixus" movement, Christ trotted all the way to Golgotha, pumping his cross.
Gardiner takes the chorus of lamentation at near-gigue tempo. Jesus is crucified, his performance cries. Let's dance!
Lol! But he really nails it here, I think:
There's something more troubling going on here, beyond tempos in classical music. I think people don't want any music to be serious anymore. It's all rock 'n' roll now. Many people know mainly dance music, and that's all they want to know—even in classical pieces. There's an increasing disconnect between music and meaning.
The article is a decade and a half old, and maybe the pendulum is starting to swing back the other way... at least there seem to be some signs of this in the guitar world.