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Title: Towards a hermeneutic understanding of Schubert's 1825 piano sonatas : constructing and deconstructing interpretation from expressive opposition
Author: Gardner, Cameron
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2006
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Scholars in the last fifteen years have engaged with Schubert's late instrumental music with greater sympathy and rigour than earlier generations. Of the different genres to have benefited from this engagement, the sonatas for piano have received most attention, particularly the trilogy from the composer's last year, 1828. By comparison the response to the three sonatas of 1825 has been less committed: outside general stylistic studies and biographies, discussion is often limited to a single sonata and rarely stretches beyond a movement. From this perspective of relative neglect, and building on a personal familiarity with the sonatas from performance, the thesis offers a detailed analytical scrutiny. Each work is addressed in separate chapters with interpretative criteria derived from older reception. The criteria, in turn, is deconstructed with analysis that groups a wide range of musical components into patterns of opposition. For each sonata the analytical reading is from left-to-right: for D850 and D845, from the beginning of the first movement through to the end of the fourth for D840, from passages where there is a build-up through to a retreat from an expressive peak. From tracing an interpretative trajectory, hierarchical shifts between opposition are revealed and significance is drawn from how the sonata or passage ends. Although topics, gestures, and narrative contexts are identified in the main analytical discussions, a more specific hermeneutic reading is reserved for the concluding commentaries to each sonata. The final chapter addresses in detail, and in the context of Schubert reception, issues of tension, resolution and gesture raised in earlier discussion. To conclude, Robert Hatten's theoretical discourse on gesture will offer principles applicable to the expressive opposition and interpretative trajectories identified in the thesis. Drawing upon some of the recent reception of other Schubert works will help the 1825 sonatas to emerge from their relative isolation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available