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‘Precisely marked in the tradition of the composer’: the performing editions of Friedrich Grützmacher

Wadsworth, Kate Bennett (2017) ‘Precisely marked in the tradition of the composer’: the performing editions of Friedrich Grützmacher. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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CD 1 Track 1 Mendelssohn op 45 mvt 1.mp3 - Supplementary Material
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Abstract

The mid-19th century saw the rise and fall of performing editions, musical scores which a respected performer has marked up with all of the advice considered necessary for a tasteful performance of the piece. This editorial goal gradually gave way to the competing ideal of preserving the composer's markings exclusively, which still guides editorial practice today and is seen as synonymous with good taste and respect for the composer's work. While performing editions can tell us an enormous amount about 19th-century performing practices, as well as about the notational choices of 19th-century composers, we cannot learn from them without first confronting the difference in taste, not only between our playing styles and the editors’, but also between the ideals that drove their editorial work and the modern ideal of a good edition. This is a practice-led study of the much-maligned performing editions of the cellist, Friedrich Grützmacher (1832-1903). Now derided as a musical vandal, Grützmacher was seen in his day as a serious and noble artist, respected as a performer and highly sought-after as a teacher. The first section of this thesis establishes him as a reliable model of good taste within a 19th-century German tradition of music making, referred to at the time as 'classical', that surrounds the compositions of Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms. The second part of the thesis explores the performing practice implications of his richly annotated editions and transcriptions for the cello, with research questions centred around the theme of 'decoding' Grützmacher's style: I wished to find the expressive grammar that directed his fingering choices (especially connected to portamento), his bowings and bow distribution, and his sense of timing. Research methods include statistical studies of Grützmacher's markings within specific editions, as well as comparisons of these findings with treatises, letters, memoirs, reviews, piano rolls, and early acoustic recordings from within the same musical tradition. In the third section of the thesis, I apply my new sense of Grützmacher's expressive grammar to a piece which he never edited, but was premiered by two of his students: the Brahms Cello Sonata Op. 38. In this final project, I aim to reconcile my new instincts as a Grützmacher student with the professional pressures on modern historical performers, and I argue that such a reconciliation is possible and worth pursuing.�

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: cello, Friedrich Grützmacher, performing editions, performing practices, 19th century, historical performance
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Music (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.737834
Depositing User: Kate Bennett Wadsworth
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2018 10:03
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:56
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19561

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