Alfred Cortot's response to the music for solo piano of Franz Schubert: a study in performance practice

Rakitzis, Vasileios (2015). Alfred Cortot's response to the music for solo piano of Franz Schubert: a study in performance practice. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

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Abstract

Alfred Cortot and Franz Schubert are two names that are rarely mentioned in the same context. Although Cortot was a renowned pianist and pedagogue of the first half of the twentieth century, his work on Schubert has remained obscure. This can be explained by the fact that his recordings of, and writings on, Schubert’s works comprise only a small sample of his affinity with this repertoire, in comparison to his affiliation to the work of other composers, such as Chopin. This degree of obscurity is also increased by the fact that, to a certain extent, Schubert’s works for piano remained neglected until early in the twentieth century, in contrast to his great reputation as a composer of Lieder. However, the study of Cortot’s recordings and commentary editions of Schubert’s piano music reveals that Cortot can potentially be a relevant source for the performance of this repertoire. Due to his educational background and the roots of his performance style, he can be a link to performance traditions of the late nineteenth century, which comprise important sources for the performance of Schubert’s work, especially given the notable lack of primary evidence specific to this music. Cortot’s editions discuss issues, which are still current regarding the performance of Schubert’s works, and provide answers, which are comparable with modern and updated approaches. On the other hand, Cortot’s editions and recordings of Schubert’s music cover a range of time within the twentieth century (1920-1960) that encompassed some of the greatest changes in performance styles that have ever been documented in writing and in sound. His work therefore also becomes a valuable source for the study of this evolution and the way it might have been realized and influenced by leading artists of the twentieth century. This thesis aims to present Cortot’s work as an inspiring source for the interpretation of Schubert’s music today, and as an important testimony to the history of performance practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: School of Arts > Department of Creative Practice & Enterprise - Centre for Music Studies
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/16965

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