Performing Beethoven’s musical dynamics

Mine Doğantan-Dack, University of Cambridge, UK

Music Performance Research ISSN 1755-9219
Vol. 11, 1-35
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, December 2020
Twentieth-century musicology frequently invoked the music of Beethoven to validate its work-centred, textualist and structuralist agenda. This article re-orients Beethoven’s music towards the performance studies paradigm, which places the music making body and material contexts of performing at the centre of its disciplinary epistemology, by weaving a novel discursive context around the composer’s unusual dynamics markings. Through a historical case study of the premiere of his Op. 70 No. 2 piano trio, I explore the connections between the performance experience of Beethoven’s dynamics and some of the philosophical and cultural discourses emerging in Europe during the early nineteenth century on the body and the self, and thereby construct novel meanings for his expressive performance practice. By bringing together interdisciplinary historical scholarship, phenomenological reflection, analytical thought and practice-based enquiry, I open up a neglected area of research that lies at the intersection of the performance experience of musical dynamics, sensory history and somatic musical archeology
Beethoven’s piano trio Op. 70 No.2
embodied cognition
Maine de Biran
musical dynamics
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