Harnoncourt’s highly stylised contribution to the evolving art of early music interpretation allowed us new-found access to Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Biber etc in terms of a uniquely fresh (and sometimes abrasive) sound-world. Not a calorie in sight, just numerous sonorities that told a very different story to the ones we already knew. NH once said to me (or words to this effect): ‘the idea with period instruments isn’t so much to play music the way it sounded then, as to hear music the way the composer himself heard it when he wrote it.” It was his view that the music sounds better on old instruments, plain and simple. That for Harnoncourt was the essence of authenticity, after years of playing, say, heavy-duty Bach Suites, Brandenburgs and Passions with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (as an Orchestra cellist). But what about Harnoncourt’s way with later music, from Mozart and Haydn, through Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, to Bartók to Berio? Again there were always sundry revelations to savour en route, but some wilful mannerisms too (I cite the rhetorical pauses in Mozart 40’s finale as an example). What do people think? Will Harnoncourt’s recordings be heard as provocative signals from his time, or as a starting point for new trains of interpretative thought for ours? Please discuss.