MPhil University of Queensland 2014 Pages:

Informed Performance Practice of Sonata for Viola and Piano, op. 147 by Dmitri Shostakovich: A Study of Interpretation

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Link to Thesis: http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:337734

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This critical commentary is an investigation into specific performance practice issues concerning the Sonata for Viola and Piano, op. 147 by Dmitri Shostakovich, composed in 1975. In developing an informed performance-practice approach, theories of interpretation and performer obligation from leading researchers were examined and applied, as were the circumstances of the Viola Sonata’s composition and key characteristics of the composer’s other late works. Nine recordings, from the period 1976-2005, were selected to provide a range of examples of interpretation across decades and nationalities, with the dedicatee Fyodor Druzhinin’s recording (recorded in December 1975 and released in 1976) considered to be the closest to an authoritative source due to his personal relationship with the composer. Close analysis revealed several areas of interpretation that could be examined, from which the performance parameters of tempo and phrasing through the use of rubato were selected for this study. Shostakovich provided clear indications in the score with regards to tempo and expression that form a framework for interpretation. These markings were considered in light of information about the composer’s process for finalising tempi, first-hand accounts from Druzhinin regarding each movement and close analysis of Druzhinin’s recording. Each recorded interpretation was considered against the printed score and against Druzhinin’s recording; close analysis of tempo and phrasing revealed a variety of approaches to performance, resulting in marked differences in interpretation, and it is intended that this study will inform the contemporary violist in these issues of performer obligatio

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