Research on nineteenth-century performance practice has become increasingly popular in recent years, and yet many areas in this field have remained unexplored. One such area is cello performance practice in late-nineteenth-century France, and this work will aim at shedding some light on it by placing the spotlight on one of the most prominent cellists of the period–Jules Delsart (1844-1900). Delsart was not only a central figure in the Parisian musical scene at the time, but also an influential teacher at the Conservatoire de Paris. Like many of his contemporaries, he published some music of his own, as well as a large number of arrangements for popular tunes, and these can provide invaluable information on his performance practice. Through an examination of his oeuvre, Delsart's performance style will be outlined thoroughly, and will eventually be used to facilitate a historically informed performance of music by his contemporaries.
Informed Phrasing will suggest a new way to incorporate analytical findings into musical performance. Focusing on phrasing, as one of the most important aspects of musical performance, the research will explore the influence of both the Schenkerian method of music analysis and the Temporal Gestalt Theory on the human perception of the phrase and subsequently, on the performance of the phrase. The general adjustment of musical performance according to a Schenkerian view on a piece of music has been discussed already by Heinrich Schenker himself, and later on by his successors. Nonetheless, the possibility and benefits of integrating the Temporal Gestalt Perception in this 'Schenkerian informed practice', so to say, is almost entirely unexplored. For that intent, my research will include side by side, the theoretical approach and the practical experience.
The Analytical-Reconstructive Process of the Reduced Orchestral Works in France from the Post-Lully Generation (1687-1744)
This research project is mainly focused on how to reconstruct the middle parts (videlicet haute-contres, tailles and quintes) from French orchestral pieces, which survived only in their reduced forms (featuring primarely dessus and continuo), according to historical examples. By analyzing orchestral excerpts which were edited or copied in both forms, a five voice reconstruction of these diminished works will be produced. Furthermore, there shall be an accompanying report on how those parts were added in the common practice at the time and its relation with current instrumentation (since the aforementioned instruments are not redily available today). In order to fully realize this, it is important to examine these filledout works in a 21st century performance setting. The period to be explored is the one after J.B. Lully’s death until the death of A. Campra, emcompassing the so-called post Lully generation, specifically from 1687 untill 1744.
Nowadays, transcriptions of Johann Sebastian Bach’s compositions form an integral part of the classical guitar repertoire. These works have been produced in relatively recent times, the first ones being composed by Francisco Tárrega about 130 years ago. Today we have complete works transcribed from the violin, cello and flute repertoire, as well as few harpsichord pieces. Still, even contemporary transcriptions are not much different from those done by Tárrega or, later, by Andrés Segovia. Although many guitar players do listen to historically informed performances of ancient music, and might sense something is not right in the guitar transcriptions, not enough research has been done on this issue. Furthermore, since guitar did not exist as such in Bach's time, there is not any ancient treatise including instrument-specific solutions for dealing with the issues of that music, as there is for example for flute (Johann Joachim Quantz) and keyboard (Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach). A modern 6-string guitar player, therefore, in spite of having Bach as a substantial part of her/his repertoire, does not have anywhere to look at in order to faithfully broach these compositions. The absence of a detailed guide leads to read the music "as it is", with little or no attention paid to era-specific notation practice. For example, although the bowing in compositions for strings, where written, crucially affects the interpretation, no study on the transcriptions of bowings on guitar has been made. Furthermore, guitar transcriptions of keyboard works is a relatively new phenomenon and its complexity asks not only for more research, using the keyboard related sources we have, but also for exploring and experimenting on guitar and developing its techniques.