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Musing on the Past: Historical Recordings as Creative Resources of Piano Performance

Volioti, Georgia (2017) Musing on the Past: Historical Recordings as Creative Resources of Piano Performance In: New Thoughts on Piano Performance. London International Piano Symposium, pp. 65-84. ISBN 978-164007055-4

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Within the performance tradition of Western art music, legendary interpreters and inspirational performances invariably play a special role in enthralling listeners and nurturing musicians’ creativity. The notion of creativity for the artistic domain of Western classical music performance entails striking a balance between searching for novelty and attracting sufficient cultural recognition within specific social and historical settings (e.g. Bowen, 1993; Clarke, 2005; Williamon et al., 2006). Recordings can exert particular influence as salient historical documents of performance practice by apprising musicians of the originality and worth of past performances as cherished products of creativity. It would be almost unthinkable to discuss the interpretation of Beethoven’s piano sonatas without acknowledging, in part at least, Artur Schnabel’s contribution to the performance history of this repertoire. Similarly, Glenn Gould’s recordings of Bach, Alfred Cortot’s or Arthur Rubinstein’s renditions of Chopin, Walter Gieseking’s performances of Debussy, Wilhelm Backhaus’s interpretations of Brahms, or Percy Grainger’s celebrated recordings of Grieg’s works, are only a few examples of historical landmarks of piano performance now easily accessible from recordings.1 Given the hundred-year-long history of recorded music (e.g. Philip, 1992; Day, 2000), recordings offer a rich reservoir of interpretative possibilities for teachers, students, scholars or amateurs to explore in developing further their musical knowledge.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Music and Media
Authors :
Editors :
MacKie, Cristine
MacKie, Laurin
Date : 27 July 2017
Copyright Disclaimer : Chapter - © G. Volioti. Book - Copyright © London International Piano Symposium 2017
Related URLs :
Additional Information : New Thoughts on Piano Performance (2016) is a London International Piano Symposium publication, which presents interdisciplinary research, the overarching goal of which is to expand the frontiers of knowledge in the field of piano performance, by exploring the interface between skilled artistry and scientific research. It is a work of central importance to those musicians who are seeking to achieve elite performance, as well as researchers, pedagogues, clinicians, and all those who are passionate about the piano and its future development. In this collection of fifteen essays by distinguished international researchers and performers, issues which have rarely been addressed, and which should be a vital part of the education of pedagogues and performers are presented here. Among these issues are: that the value of musical training, is a powerful source of intellectual stimulation and cognitive development in children; that the role of the body is foremost in the production of sound at the piano, yet remains the most neglected issue in the education of performers; that obsessive practice is not the way forward; that the memory may be enhanced by developing a mental map in the course of preparing a work for public performance; showing that recordings can exert particular influence as salient historical documents of performance practice; that understanding the correlation between a particular musical work and the visual art that inspired it, may bring greater understanding of the meaning of, and deeper insight into the work for the pianist who is preparing to perform the piece; defining issues such as sound, touch and timbre, which are a phenomenon with both a subjective as well as physical dimensions; that musical performance is shaped more by the mind and body behind the instrument than by the score in front of the person; and last, but not least, ways in which technology can be used to increase our understanding of the body as the instrument, and the conveyor of expression.
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 12 Sep 2017 15:28
Last Modified : 05 Mar 2019 10:13

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