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In 1912 Heinrich Schenker contracted with the Viennese publisher Universal Edition to provide an 'elucidatory edition' (ErlAuterungsausgabe) of Beethoven's last five piano sonatas. Each publication would comprise a score, newly edited by Schenker and using the composer's autograph manuscript as principal source, together with a substantial commentary combining analytical, text-critical and performance-related matter. Four of the five editions appeared between 1913 and 1921, but that of the 'Hammerklavier' Sonata, op. 106, was never published. It has generally been assumed that this was simply because Schenker was unable to locate the autograph manuscript, which remains missing to this day. But as Nicholas Marston shows in a detailed history of the ErlAuterungsausgabe project, other factors were involved also, including financial considerations, Schenker's health concerns, and his broader theoretical ambitions. Moreover, despite the missing autograph he nevertheless developed a voice-leading analysis of the complete sonata during the years 1924-1926, a crucial period in the development of his mature theory of tonal music. Marston's book provides the first in-depth study of this rich analysis, which is reproduced in full in high-quality digital images. The book draws on hundreds of letters and documents from Schenker's NachlaAY; it both adds to our biographical knowledge of Schenker and illuminates for the first time the response of this giant of music theory to one of the most significant masterworks in all music.
In this book on Beethoven's Piano Sonata in E, Op. 109, Nicholas Marston combines source studies and a Schenkerian analytical approach to produce one of the most extensive and detailed studies of a Beethoven piano sonata ever published. The study is based on a complete transcription of all the surviving autograph musical sources: the sketches, a fragmentary Urschrift, and the autograph score. Early printed editions and manuscript copies are also discussed and the text is handsomely supported by extensive transcription from the sources. After an introductory chapter in which previous work - notably that of Heinrich Schenker himself - on this sonata is reviewed, chapter 2 draws upon Beethoven's letters, conversation books, sketchbooks, and other sources to build up a detailed 'biography' of Op. 109. The middle chapters form the core of the analytical study: the sketches for each of the three movements are analysed both to reveal aspects of the genesis of the movement and to build up a particular analytical approach to the final version. The discussion embraces all levels of detail; even Beethoven's previously misunderstood notation of final barlines in the autograph score is shown to be musically significant. In the concluding chapter the notion of 'sketch' is extended beyond Op. 109 and the results of the whole study are summarized. The book might be read as a study in the extension of conventional Schenkerian analysis. Marston argues that individual movements of Op. 109 are structurally incomplete and that satisfactory closure is achieved only at the level of the entire work. The concluding theme-and-variation movement is crucial, and Marston offers a rare Schenkerian perspective onlarge-scale coherence in this genre. But in combining these analytical perceptions with an understanding of Beethoven's sketches more as valid proto-compositions in their own right than as wrong turnings en route to a 'perfect' finished work, Marston also offers a unique and compelling interpretation of this profound and beautiful masterpiece of late Beethoven.
Schumann's Fantasie, Op. 17 is one of the finest examples of Romantic piano music. In a rounded picture of this major keyboard work, Nicholas Marston first traces the fascinating history of its composition, drawing on many of Schumann's letters to Clara Wieck and to his publisher, and examining the few surviving sketches: To whom was the work really dedicated? Was the celebrated opening movement perhaps intended as an independent composition? Schumann's own critical writings provide vital insights into his ideas on genre and the relationship between the Fantasie and the many generic and descriptive titles that the composer gave the work before publication. Every aspect of the work is covered, providing the performer, the listener or the student with an understanding not only of the Fantasie, but of Schumann himself as a composer.
Schumann's Fantasie, Op 17 is one of the finest examples of romantic piano music. Aiming to provide a rounded picture of this major keyboard work, Nicholas Marston first traces the fascinating history of its composition, drawing on many of Schumann's letters to Clara Wieck and to his publisher. Schumann's own writings also provide vital insights into the relationship between the Fantasie and the many generic and descriptive titles Schumann gave the work before publication. The role of allusion to, and quotation from, other works is also considered, preparing the way for an analytical study of each of the movements of the Fantasie. The book concludes with an overview of the reception and performance of the Fantasie from 1839 to the present day.
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