Musical practice is exercise, exercise and exercise. But the technical mastery obtained after many years of education, and matured through professional life can result in a self-obsessed performance practice that provides a well-rehearsed set of (practical) solutions, regardless the particular musical challenges presented in the work. As an apparently translucent and versatile practice, its strength is professionalism; its weakness is standardization.
An unmistakable connection with colour permeates the works of Olivier Messiaen. His synaesthesia inspired colour complexes in his mind, which in turn became decisive for his compositional output. Although he never asked for the colours to be revealed explicitly to the audience, he did approve of the idea when asked directly by Håkon Austbø. In this article, this celebrated pianist and interpreter of Messiaen’s works amply explicates his groundbreaking work of doing just that: visualizing the visions of Messiaen’s colours.
Mozart’s piano concertos, in the chamber music arrangements of J. N. Hummel, have long been an underestimated source to the performance history as well as the editing history of these works. In fact, the inseparable connection between these two aspects of a work’s viability is crucial to consider in this case: partly owing to the practice of improvisation and partly due to unfortunate circumstances in the editing processes, an often overlooked aspect is the incompleteness of text, as handed down from the composer. The first modern edition of Hummel’s arrangements hopes to challenge the sterility of approach formed by several ‘Urtext generations’.
by Sarah Callis, Neil Heyde, Zubin Kanga, Olivia Sham | Read Full Text
This article explores the idea of ‘resistance’ in the performance of Western art music, with resistance defined as the kind of creative energy that confronting obstruction can bring. Borrowing terminology from Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman, the discussion considers how resistance can be both found and made, and explores its role – using evidence from a documented collaboration – in the dynamic process of invention that emerges at the borders between players, composers, instruments and materials. This process is then investigated in case studies involving music by Fauré, Liszt and Brahms, where resistance becomes a tool in the active remaking intrinsic to composer/performer-generated works.
The classical avant-garde of the mid twentieth century fostered a new breed of performers. Emerging first as multi-tasking percussionists within the classical orchestra, performers of the works of European and American experimentalists from the 1940s onwards became co-creators of a new instrumental practice, and developed skills that were unparalleled in classical music: using all imaginable sound-producing objects as instruments. This article examines the role of the percussion performer in recent contemporary music through three case studies by composers Simon Steen-Andersen, Michael Pisaro, and Marko Ciciliani. In the investigation, I have drawn on my own experience as a percussionist who has performed these works.
During my field study of balafon music in the region of the Bobo and Bamana tribes of West Africa, I observed that this oral culture pertains to an embodied practice: musical concepts like rhythm and melody are embodied in forms of bimanual coordination and spatial distance of the two-arm striking movements. Through the method of participant-observation – in this case learning and rehearsing with local balafon musicians – my artistic views as a classically-trained marimba performer in a tradition depending on symbolic representation of the music, have been challenged and enriched.
This report is an initial attempt to investigate the long and complex processes involved in a practical and experimental approach to one of the many stage works for female voice composed in the twentieth century, Recital I (for Cathy), conceived by Luciano Berio for Cathy Berberian in 1972.
Among all the master students graduating from The Royal Conservatory of The Hague 2014, we picked up on Kristen Huebner’s research and worked with her on presenting it in the current article; it examines the terms Empfindsamkeit and Sturm und Drang respectively, and continues with an exploration of their musical expression and characteristics in the quartets for keyboard, flute, viola and bass by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach.