Even young meteors grow old: it's hard to believe that Trevor Pinnock - who has scarcely changed since he first hit the scene as a boy with a harpsichord - has turned 60. But with 100 discs to his name he's celebrating in style, beginning with a concert of the Brandenburgs in Sheffield.
That was to have been it, but as he collected an orchestra purpose-built for the occasion, he realised he might as well do a bit more. He and the European Brandenburg Ensemble will repeat the event three days later in Birmingham, and then take it to Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, and give master-classes in period Bach to conservatoire students in Hong Kong.
Pinnock, a period-performance pioneer, surveys the current musical landscape with great satisfaction. Not because anoraky period expertise is now ubiquitous, but because ordinary listeners have accepted old music played on old instruments as a routine pleasure. Nor is he doctrinaire about the piano-harpsichord debate, though he regrets that Radio 3 rarely opts for the latter in Baroque programmes.
"We have to beware of creating new styles of period performance, and believing that they are the only correct ones," he says. "We've got to keep questioning, since these are all modern interpretations."
Phrasing, instrumentation, ornamentation are all up for grabs. "And these are only the superficial elements. The deepest discussions go on when we ask the music what it wants."
Like what? "What sort of bass instruments we use - double-bass pitch, or cello pitch? In the first concerto, Bach is clearly writing for the former. In his time, everything was in flux with regard to pitch - he wouldn't have been particularly bothered either way."
The biggest buzz of Pinnock's life apparently came when he recorded his first disc on Gloriana's virginal. These concerts should run that experience close.
16 December (0114-278 9789); then at Symphony Hall, Birmingham (0121-780 3333) on 19 DecemberReuse content