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 "This brief work is the most illuminating guide to performance and interpretation I have read." --Richard Goode, pianist "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 "This volume where Schenker gives advice to performers in general, pianists in particular, on how to fulfil the demands inherent in those layers of musical material behind the foreground is a very helpful adjunct to his profound analyses. There are some very ingenious, unusual, and helpful ideas that can give life to, and must be used in conjunction with, his analytical visions." --Murray Perahia "Heinrich Schenker was the most influential music theorist of the twentieth century and one of the most original and profound musical thinkers of all time. This book is full of stimulating and provocative ideas, and it is one that will be a valuable addition to the library of every literate and thoughtful performing musician, every advanced student of performance, and every theorist and musicologist with an interest in performance." --Carl Schachter, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York "This brief work is the most illuminating guide to performance and interpretation I have read. It gives new life to essential, too often neglected principles of music-making, and points the way toward a flexible style of playing that grows directly out of the intrinsic qualities of the music. Properly understood, Schenker's liberating insights will inspire musicians to realize the composer's wishes in freer, more imaginative and meaningful ways." --Richard Goode, pianist
Number Of Pages: 136
Published: 1st May 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.37 x 16.05 x 1.52
Weight (kg): 0.41