Viennese chamber music with clarinet and piano, 1783-1827 : repertory and performance strategy
The thesis, in two parts, establishes a corpus of Viennese chamber music with clarinet and piano composed between 1783 and 1827 and develops strategies for the performance of this and other Classical music repertory. Extant evidence from both primary and secondary sources confirms that the clarinet was used in chamber music with piano in Vienna in advance of the rest of Europe. Much of that repertory has been located and inspected for the first time by the author. In Part I the corpus and its composers are examined, with emphasis given to hitherto unexamined contemporary reviews of the works and the role played by the clarinet within the varied duos, trios, quartets and larger configurations of instruments with piano. With works often being offered with instrumental options, the relationship between the clarinet parts and their string alternatives, most commonly the violin, is given special attention. By approaching works from differing analytical and historical perspectives a holistic overview is also presented. In that chamber music was largely pursued in the private sphere, few critical reports of performances of chamber music exist. No detailed review of a clarinettist's performance in a work of Viennese chamber music with piano has survived, so the reception of clarinet players in Vienna in other, more public genres is assessed in order to reveal the attributes of clarinettists most highly prized by Viennese commentators. In Part II the debates surrounding historically informed performance are surveyed, as are recent musicological developments in performer analysis. A multivalent strategy for the performance of this chamber music is proposed, derived from the topic theory of Ratner that is as contingent upon performer analysis as historical evidence of previous performance practice. This strategy is applied to three case studies from the repertory. A first appendix is a thematic catalogue of the corpus; a second appendix includes a performing edition of Eberl's Sonata in B flat major, Op.10 no.2 that is included in a recital of music from the corpus, submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree.