Musical Topics and Musical Performance  book cover
1st Edition

Musical Topics and Musical Performance

Edited By

Julian Hellaby

ISBN 9781032110851
Published January 31, 2023 by Routledge
270 Pages 81 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The principal purpose of topics in musicology has been to identify meaning-bearing units within a musical composition that would have been understood by contemporary audiences and therefore also by later receivers, albeit in a different context and with a need for historically aware listening. Since Leonard Ratner (1980) introduced the idea of topics, his relatively simple ideas have been expanded and developed by a number of distinguished authors. Topic theory has now become a well-established branch of musicology, often embracing semiotics, but its relationship to performance has received less attention. Musical Topics and Musical Performance thus focuses on the interface of theory and practice, and investigates how an appreciation of topical presence in a work may prompt interpretative thoughts for a potential performer as well as how performers have responded to such a presence in practice. The chapters focus on music from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries with case studies drawn from composers as diverse as Beethoven, Scriabin and Péter Eötvös. Using both scores and recordings, the book presents a variety of original and innovative perspectives on the subject from a range of distinguished authors, and addresses a neglected area of musicology and musical performance.

Table of Contents


Julian Hellaby

Chapter One

Topics and Music Performance: Some Reflections and a Proposal for a Theory

Eero Tarasti

Chapter Two

"Rhetorical" Versus "Organicist" Performances: A Pragmatic Approach

Joan Grimalt

Chapter Three

‘es brennt mein Eingeweide’: Agitato in Settings of Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt

William Dougherty

Chapter Four

Expanding the Parameters of Historically-Informed Performance: Topics in Nineteenth-Century Miniatures for Stringed Instruments

George Kennaway

Chapter Five

Piano Schools, Topics and Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor

Daniela Tsekova-Zapponi

Chapter Six

Narrative Analysis, the Sonata Cycle and Implications for Performance: A Reading of Brahms’s Piano Sonata No. 2 in F-sharp Minor

Janice Dickensheets

Chapter Seven

From Performer to Conjuror: Topical Performance in the Piano Works of Scriabin

Darren Leaper and Cecilia Xi

Chapter Eight

The Topic of the Gato in the Early Works of Alberto Ginastera and the Disambiguation of Pequeña Danza

Melanie Plesch

Chapter Nine

TopICS and Performance in PÉter Eötvös’s Violin Concerto Seven (2007)

Márta Grabócz

Chapter Ten

Romantic Performance and Gestural Topic

Lina Navickaitė-Martinelli

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Julian Hellaby has been Senior Lecturer and Associate Research Fellow at Coventry University and Programme Leader for Postgraduate Courses at London College of Music. His main publications include Reading Musical Interpretation (2009) and The Mid-Twentieth-Century Concert Pianist: An English Experience (2018) as well as journal articles on matters related to piano performance. As a pianist, Julian has played internationally and has released seven CDs.