Beyond Werktreue: Ideologies of New Music Performance and Performers

Pace, I. (2014). Beyond Werktreue: Ideologies of New Music Performance and Performers. Paper presented at the Lecture, 14-01-2014, Royal College of Music.

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New music culture continues to be dominated by the figure of the composer and the 'work', in line with aesthetic and ideological developments which were consolidated by the mid-nineteenth century. New music festivals are frequently publicised primarily in terms of the composers featured, and whilst there has been a small amount of more critical thought concerning the nature of the role of performers in the process and ideologies of performance, I argue that in a broader sense a conception of performance as Werktreue, basically realising either the text or the conception of a work, is more tacitly accepted than other creative or critical approaches. Starting from a consideration of the role of notation, I offer an alternative model in terms of the score as a means for channeling performers' creative faculties, and question the whole viability of the work-concept even in the context of the most detailed contemporary scores. I offer a critical reading of some work in the field of performance studies, and argue for a revised view of performance, not least in light of the disjunction between mainstream performance (dominated by scores by dead composers) and contemporary performance which has also been a feature of concert life since the mid-nineteenth century.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music
Divisions: School of Arts > Department of Creative Practice & Enterprise - Centre for Music Studies

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