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Title: The revision of Rachmaninoff's second piano sonata, Op. 36
Author: Tamura, Atsushi
ISNI:       0000 0001 3497 0396
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2008
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This project focuses on Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Sonata no. 2 and the revisions it underwent over a period of some 70 years. Rachmaninoff's works are central to the piano literature; the second sonata is particularly popular because of its dramatic musical content. There is, however, another reason for interest in the piece: Rachmaninoff composed it in. 1913 but, 18 years later, dissatisfied with his early compositional style, he overhauled it extensively. It was not the only work for piano revised by the composer (some early, shorter pieces were also re-worked), and, needless to say, many other composers are well known for revising their music, but what makes the second sonata distinctive is the role in its evolution played by the composer's closest friend, the famous pianist Vladimir Horowitz. He frequently performed Rachmaninoff's works, including the second sonata. Nevertheless, he disagreed sJfongly with the 1931 revision, so much so that he appealed directly to the composer, requesting permission to combine the two versions to make a third. Rachmaninoff apparently gave his consent shortly before he died. Subsequently, Horowitz performed the sonata regularly in his own version, but its identity did not become any more fixed, for Horowitz's spontaneous performance style resulted in constant changes to the musical text. The core of this project is an examination of this constant change as demonstrated in the materials Horowitz used in the ongoing preparation of his version (preserved in the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University) and in the various recordings he made. By approaching the revision of the second sonata (a familiar subject in Rachmaninoff studies) from the perspective of a uniquely privileged interpreter, the aim is to shed light on how the sonata changed in live musical situations, and thus on the relationship between its performance and (re-) composition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available