Liszt as interpreter of Beethoven's piano sonatas: adopting aspects of an historical approach to contemporary piano performance
AuthorLee, Tristan Patrick
AffiliationMelbourne Conservatorium of Music
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2021-04-17.
© 2018 Dr. Tristan Patrick Lee
This integrated performance and written project comprises recordings of my performances of Beethoven piano sonatas and solo piano works by Liszt, alongside a thesis. I evaluate Liszt’s role in the performance, editorial, and pedagogical history of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, the impact of which has been largely overlooked by scholars and performers. My approach, which is influenced and inspired by Liszt’s interpretation, expands upon contemporary notions of Beethoven performance practice. Through recordings of three recital programmes and a written thesis, I address the following research questions: What was Liszt’s impact on late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century performance practice of Beethoven’s piano sonatas? In what ways can adopting aspects of Liszt’s interpretation of Beethoven’s piano sonatas expand upon our contemporary notions of Beethoven performance practice? The recital programmes consist of Beethoven Piano Sonatas Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight’, Op. 57 ‘Appassionata’, Op. 90, Op. 106 ‘Hammerklavier’, and Liszt Années de pèlerinage: Deuxième année: Italie (complete), Deux légendes, Sonata in B minor. The choice of Beethoven sonatas recorded for this project has been made from the works that Liszt performed frequently. The choice of music by Liszt has been selected from works that show an intrinsic link to the music of Beethoven and were frequently performed and recorded by Liszt’s pupils in the early-twentieth century. The research I have undertaken has influenced my interpretation of this music, and this is reflected in my recordings. Accompanying the recorded recital programmes is a 25,000-word written thesis. In the introduction I detail my methodology, conceptual framework and provide a review of relevant literature. Chapter One is an examination of the elements of fact and fantasy within Liszt’s highly complex relationship to the figure of Beethoven while Chapter Two analyses Liszt’s pedagogical influence on the interpretation of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. Chapter Three discusses Liszt’s editorial approach to Beethoven’s piano sonatas. It includes my critical response to Liszt’s editing of Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight’ and a comparison between Liszt’s and von Bülow’s editions of Op. 106 ‘Hammerklavier’. In the concluding chapter I describe the ways my research has influenced and inspired my approach to performing the music of Beethoven and Liszt, and provide some possible avenues for this research to be continued.
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