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The Art of Performance

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Art of Performance.pdf | Language: English

Heinrich Schenker's The Art of Performance shows this great music theorist in a new light. While his theoretical writings helped transform music theory in the twentieth century, this book draws on his experience as a musician and teacher to propose a sharp reevaluation of how musical compositions are realized in performance. Filled with concrete examples and numerous suggestions, the book will interest both music theorists and practicing performers.

Schenker's approach is based on his argument that much of contemporary performance practice is rooted in the nineteenth-century cult of the virtuoso, which has resulted in an overemphasis on technical display. To counter this, he proposes specific ways to reconnect the composer's intentions and the musician's performance.

Schenker begins by showing how performers can benefit from understanding the laws of composition. He demonstrates how a literal interpretation of the composer's indications can be self-defeating, and he provides a lively discussion of piano technique, including suggestions for pedal, sound color, orchestral effects, and balance. He devotes separate chapters to non-legato, legato, fingering, dynamics, tempo, and rests. In addition to the examples for pianists, Schenker covers a number of topics, such as bowing technique, that will prove invaluable for other instrumentalists and for conductors. The book concludes with an aphoristic and sometimes lyrical chapter on practicing.

After Schenker's death, his student Oswald Jonas prepared the text for publication from Schenker's notes, eventually leaving the manuscript to his stepdaughter, Irene Schreier Scott, who entrusted the work of organizing and editing the disparate material to Jonas's friend and student Heribert Esser. She later translated it into English. This edition is the first publication in any language of this remarkable work.


"We are most fortunate that Oxford University Press has published Heribert Esser's edition of The Art of Performance in a lucid translation by Irene Schreier Scott. This book is a first-hand account of what Schenker taught: it permits us to eavesdrop on his lessons, so to speak, putting us in the position of one of his student...[T]he book is an outstanding achievement."--Music Theory Spectrum Heribert Esser has had a long and distinguished career as a conductor. He was music director of the Braunschweig State Theater and has been a guest conductor on every continent, conducting a wide repertoire of symphonic music as well as opera. Irene Schreier is a pianist who has performed widely in Europe, Israel, and the Americas. She is Artist-Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music.

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Book details

  • PDF | 136 pages
  • Oxford University Press (March 23, 2000)
  • English
  • 5
  • Arts & Photography

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