Reinterpreting Beethoven: Contemporary Compositional and Performance Responses to the Violin Sonatas (1798–1812)

Tong, Daniel (2021) Reinterpreting Beethoven: Contemporary Compositional and Performance Responses to the Violin Sonatas (1798–1812). Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Daniel Tong PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Dec 2020_Final Award Jul 2021.pdf - Accepted Version

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Who is Beethoven today? This doctoral thesis seeks to address this complex question through the research development of a performance project entitled Beethoven Plus, which commissioned ten new works in 2014–15 to partner the ten Beethoven Violin Sonatas (1798–1812). It comprises a dissertation and two double CD recordings as theory-practice readings of the composite music, with these components exhibiting a nuanced, complementary relationship. The complete cycle of twenty works was performed extensively during the period of the study and commercially recorded by the author alongside violinist, Krysia Osostowicz.

Picking up on the theories of thinkers such as Harold Bloom and Michel Foucault, applied to music by Michael L. Klein and Lawrence Kramer (Chapter 1), analysis of the intertextual relationships between these new works and their Beethoven subjects reveals a multi-layered, contemporary image of the master (Chapters 3–6). Meanwhile, work by Janet Schmalfeldt, Nicholas Cook and others is used as a starting point to build an analytical framework with the performer at its centre (Chapter 2), highlighting the nature of musical form as process alongside consideration of the physical and performative intertextualities within the cycle.

Music analysis draws on intertexts from within and outside the cycle, allowing a variety of readings of Beethoven’s scores which are examined in detail in three case studies (Chapters 4–6), each focussing on one specific pairing and its recorded performance. These readings at once confirm conventional Beethovenian tropes/understandings, whilst drawing out new counterpoints that challenge his traditionally earnest and hypermasculine image. A variety of postmodern genres are revealed within the pairings, including musical narratology, feminist musicology, magical realism and recomposition (or ‘explosion’), signalling the potential for highly fruitful explorations of Beethoven’s lesser-known Sonatas. This study argues that the relationship between performer and analyst is one of symbiosis, in constant cyclic flow from the one to the other.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
December 2020Submitted
July 2021Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Beethoven, Violin Sonata, Piano, Violin, Intertextuality, Performance Research, Performance Analysis, Chamber Music, Humour, Gender, Beethoven Analysis
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2022 15:10
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2022 15:10

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