Perspectives on the Performance of French Piano Music offers a range of approaches central to the performance of French piano music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The contributors include scholars and active performers who see performance not as an independent activity but as a practice enriched by a wealth of historical and analytical approaches. To underline the usefulness of contextual understanding for performance, each author highlights the choices performers must confront with examples drawn from particular repertoires and composers. Topics explored include editorial practice, the use of early recordings, emergent disciplines such as analysis-and-performance, and traditions passed down from teacher to student. Themes that emerge demonstrate the importance of editions as a form of communication, the challenges of notation, the significance of detail and of deeper continuity, the importance of performing and teaching traditions, and the influence of cross disciplinary frameworks. A link to a set of performed examples on the frenchpianomusic.com website allows readers to hear and compare performances and interpretations of the music discussed. The volume will appeal to musicologists and analysts interested in performance, performers, students, and piano teachers.
Scott McCarrey is Professor of Piano at Brigham Young University-Hawai’i. His doctorate at York University, UK, was focused on the performance and analysis of Ravel, an interest which led him to co-organize, along with Lesley A. Wright and Roy Howat, the 2007 conference entitled ’French Music: Performance and Analysis’. Lesley A. Wright is a Professor of Musicology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Throughout her career she has focused on Bizet, Massenet and their contemporaries, French opera, the Parisian press, and the institutions that supported the careers of French musicians.
’ ... a significant achievement that provides a number of penetrating insights into the performance practice of the French piano tradition... a timely reminder that scores rarely give us all the information that we need to create music, and that, as musicians, we always need to seek creative solutions to musical (and notational) questions. The collection draws together an impressive roster of pianists, performer scholars, and musicologists, each with a specialist insight into aspects of the French piano repertory and tradition ... this collection also usefully reminds us that a thorough examination of all the evidence available to us reveals that more than one interpretation may be valid (and exciting!) in performance. The real significance of this new volume, however, may lie in its potential as a pedagogic text. Despite the specific focus on French repertory, the book could be used within a teaching context to introduce students to a wide range of issues pertinent to contemporary Classical Music Studies and Performance Studies, including editing, approaching historical sources critically, using early recordings, and the application of analysis to informed performances’. Music and Letters