Refiner's Fire

Richard Bratby


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Elliott & Thompson Limited
19 October 2023
ISBN: 9781783967605
256 pages

From the publisher

Financial Times - BEST BOOKS OF 2023

'This superb account of how that glorious institution came into being will give you deep and abiding pleasure' Stephen Fry

When harpsichordist Christopher Hogwood and record producer Peter Wadland founded the Academy of Ancient Music in 1973, their mission was to create Britain's first orchestra devoted to recording baroque and classical music on period instruments. They went on to change the musical world. Their success brought the AAM global fame - bringing historically informed performance into the mainstream and putting Vivaldi into the pop charts. But then the orchestra faced a new challenge: reinventing itself to survive and thrive in the world its own success had created.

For the first time, Richard Bratby tells the story of this trailblazing orchestra and the people who shaped it: fifty years of innovation, exploration and musical adventure, from the pioneering days of the early 1970s to new directions - and new triumphs - in the 21st century.

'An uplifting, anecdote-packed account of the Academy of Ancient Music [...]' Lucie Skeaping

'The refiner's fire of AAM still burns brightly: this book tells us why. From the Marquis of Granby to the Hollywood Bowl; an illuminating account of a musical revolution.' Catherine Bott

'Using a mass of archival material and many interviews, Refiner's Fire is a lively account of the orchestra's history, of Christopher Hogwood himself and of the other essential players (literal and figurative).' Emma Kirkby