Style Brillante: Piano technique in Performance Practice of early 19th century. Critical reflection
Artistic production, Research report
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The goal with my project was to investigate different piano traditions of early 1800s, and to find out how the development of technique 1800s interacted with,- and probably influenced - musical language (or style), in light of evolution of piano mechanics. The project was based on the analysis of the pianistic principals employed by a number of performer-composers in the early 1800s, who used technical elements both methodically (as exercises collections and/or method books) and artistically (as elements of compositions and/or performance). They absorbed the predominant technical traditions of the previous stylistic period, and at the same time anticipated the next one, thereby creating a style that has been a binding links between two stylistic epochs (Classicism and High Romanticism). Additional attention will be paid to the influence of European piano tradition on the development of Norwegian keyboard tradition, which will be centered around main presenters of Style brillante in Norway: German-Danish (Norwegian) performer-composer Friedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832), Liszt’s pupil Agathe Backer Grondahl (1847-1907),and Chopin’s pupil Thomas Tellefsen (1823-1874). Research of the mechanical evolution will be realised in collaboration with national and international Instrument Museums. The Western Classical Piano style did not generally undergo sudden change, but rather, developed gradually. As a result of my research, I made a conclusion that the concept of the Classical and Romantic styles is an artificial construct that has been adopted in later times to frame the music into neat historical patterns. There are various sub-genres (or styles) both within Classicism and Romanticism, with discernible periods of transition between them.
The Norwegian Artistic Research Programme - The Norwegian Academy of Music (2006-2011). - Documentation of the project can be divided into three main groups: CDs, radio programmes, news-paper reviews, and written material. I regard the CDs as the most succesfull part of the artistic documentation. Concert and CDs were the form I could express myself pianistically, and I am quite pleased with the result. My intention was not to critizise the traditional way of playing and to demonstrate the right way, but rather to search for the alternative solutions and open the minds with the variety of choices. The audible result I achieved expressed my ideas as I planned it, and I regard these projects as a success. Radio programmes was an attempt to disseminate result of my research. I think I managed to convey my ideas and got a chance to exemplify them with some sound examples and pieces as a whole. The fact that NRK radio was so interested to follow up this project and made 3 radio programmes about different aspects of my project in 2 years, let me think that these programmes were successful. News-paper articles contented encouraging commentaries and some constructive critics, that as a whole made me more confident in my ideas. The part I am most concerned about is my written materials. The Artistic Programme does not allow a researcher to have a theoretician as a supervisor, this is why in the very start of my project, the goal was to concentrate on the performance display only. I think, absence of a theoretic specialist as one of supervisors, in my occasion, played an unfortunate role. My project was crossing the practical and the theoretical fields. Now, after completing my research, I have got quite a significant amount of written sketches and notes, that are asking for being transformed into the form of article of a conference paper, or even a separate PhD.
Has partsCritical Reflection - The Norwegian Artistic Research Programme - The Norwegian Academy of Music
The documentation of the project includes concerts, CDs, radio programmes, news-paper reviews, the critical report and other written material