Author Identifiers

James Huntingford
ORCID:0000-0002-8972-6953

Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Performing Arts)

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Professor Geoffrey Lancaster

Second Advisor

Dr Victoria Rogers

Third Advisor

Stewart Smith

Abstract

In recent decades, British solo piano repertoire of the Classic era has attracted increasing interest from researchers. A number of scholars have sought to identify the compositional elements that comprise late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British piano music. Despite this interest, there has been little research into the conventions of performance with which this repertoire is inextricably associated. Moreover, scant attention has been given to the notions of taste that are so often encountered in contemporaneous music treatises and philosophical writings. This thesis addresses these gaps in the existing literature by examining tasteful piano performance in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain. The thesis provides a survey of contemporaneous British writings on the subject of taste—first, the broad notion of taste in British culture during the period, then the notion of taste in music performance in general, and finally the notion of taste specifically in relation to piano music. This survey includes a comprehensive investigation of selected performance practice issues, again as discussed in contemporaneous British primary sources. The study shows that taste was a vital aspect of music performance in Classic-era Britain. Furthermore, the thesis reveals that tasteful performance was intimately connected with issues arising from performance practice, and that decisions made in relation to these issues involved a degree of freedom on the part of the performer. The findings of the study are manifested in annotated scores of selected contemporaneous repertoire, then performatively applied by the author in a recorded performance of the repertoire using an early nineteenth-century English piano.

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