1st Edition

Vital Performance Historically Informed Romantic Performance in Cultural Context

By Andrew Snedden Copyright 2021
    272 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Historically Informed Performance, or HIP, has become an influential and exciting development for scholars, musicians, and audiences alike. Yet it has not been unchallenged, with debate over the desirability of its central goals and the accuracy of its results. The author suggests ways out of this impasse in Romantic performance style.

     In this wide-ranging study, pianist and scholar Andrew John Snedden takes a step back, examining the strengths and limitations of HIP. He proposes that many problems are avoided when performance styles are understood as expressions of their cultural era rather than as simply composer intention, explaining not merely how we play, but why we play the way we do, and why the nineteenth century Romantics played very differently. Snedden examines the principal evidence we have for Romantic performance style, especially in translation of score indications and analysis of early recordings, finally focusing on the performance styles of Liszt and Chopin. He concludes with a call for the reanimation of culturally appropriate performance styles in Romantic repertoire.

    This study will be of great interest to scholars, performers, and students, to anyone wondering about how our performances reflect our culture, and about how the Romantics played their own culturally-embedded music.

    CHAPTER 1 HIP Hype or ‘Yawning Chasm’?         
    CHAPTER 2 Ghosts in the Machine: Cultural Exegeses of Modernism and Romanticism
    CHAPTER 3 Letter and Spirit:  Culture and Performance Practice

    CHAPTER 4 Enigma: Deciphering the Past      
    CHAPTER 5 The HIP Rosetta Stone?
    CHAPTER 6 Too Much Is Only Just Enough: Pianistic Romanticism 

    CONCLUDING REMARKS - An Unfinished Journey


    Andrew Snedden is an international scholar-musician and educator. He has worked as performer, university tutor and lecturer, as school music teacher, and as theatre and church music director. As pianist, he studied with close associates of Claudio Arrau, and is noted for his lecture-recitals, applying historically-informed performance practice to create entertaining performances of intelligence and passion. Most recently, in 2011 he marked the bicentenary of Liszt’s birth by a series of lecture-recitals performing the composer’s quintessential piano cycle The Years of Pilgramage. As scholar musician, he researches 19th century Romanticist performance practices as evidenced by the earliest recordings and textual sources, with a particular focus on Franz Liszt. He has recently completed a Ph.D., entitled Vital Performance: Culture, Worldview, and Romanticist Performance Practice with Application in Franz Liszt’s Consolations and Années de Pèlerinage Première Année, which included ground-breaking Liszt recordings in a newly reconstructed nineteenth century style. He has completed the first of two books based on this research.