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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.


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.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
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