The masterclasses will focus on the differences between how we understand Beethoven’s notation today and the messages he expected it to convey to the musicians of his own time. Historical sources show clearly that many things, which Beethoven did not indicate in his notation, were expected to be understood by the performer. Many of these things could only be fully understood by hearing performances by great musicians of his time, but much can nevertheless be learned from the writings about performance by Beethoven and his contemporaries. Although we can never fully know how Beethoven may have conceived an ideal performance of his works, we can be absolutely certain that many aspects of performance that he regarded as inherent in the notation are no longer an integral element of contemporary performing practices, even on period-instruments. Clive Brown will work with chamber ensembles to explore how these largely forgotten practices might be effectively reintegrated into performance.
Clive Brown was a member of the Faculty of Music at Oxford University from 1980 to 1991 and is now Emeritus Professor of Applied Musicology at the University of Leeds and Guest Professor at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (University of the Arts), Vienna. Monographs include Louis Spohr: A Critical Biography (Cambridge, 1984; revised German edition 2009), Classical and Romantic Performing Practice (Oxford, 1999; Chinese translation 2012), and A Portrait of Mendelssohn (Yale, 2003). He has also published numerous articles on historical performing practice and, as a violinist, pursues practice-led research. His critical, performance-oriented editions of music include Brahms’ and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concertos, and Brahms’ complete Sonatas for one Instrument and Piano jointly authored with two of his former PhD students Neal Peres Da Costa and Kate Bennett Wadsworth, together with a separate publication: Performing Practices in Johannes Brahms’ Chamber Music (Bärenreiter); Beethoven’s 1st, 2nd, and 5th symphonies, Choral Fantasia, and Violin Concerto, as well as a performing edition of Mendelssohn’s Die Hochzeit des Camacho (Breitkopf und Härtel); Franz Clement’s D major Violin Concerto (AR-Editions); and Elgar’s Music for Violin (Vol. 37 of the Complete Edition). He is currently working on an edition of Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas and, also with Neal Peres Da Costa and Kate Bennett Wadsworth, Performing Practices in Viennese Classical Chamber Music from Haydn to Beethoven, both for publication by Bärenreiter in 2020.
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