Transcendent Mastery: Studies in the Music of Beethoven

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					546                                                                  Notes, March 2010

position within which being a central con-     interpretation” (p. 279). The upshot is that
cern of Wolff ’s essay on individuality in     the composer him- or herself is granted the
Bach’s music (Christoph Wolff, Bach: Essays    possibility of a metaphorical action that
on His Life and Music [Cambridge, MA:          may transcend the musical work.
Harvard University Press, 1991], 146–65).         The closing essays in this volume take up
Eric Chafe’s analytical essay on the tonal     issues of interpretation and pedagogy, of-
designs, the theme of hypocrisy, and the       ten challenging time-honored tenets in
mass parodies of Cantatas 136 and 179 dis-     both musicology and performance. First,
plays the rich detail and rewarding conclu-    Christopher Hogwood proposes that we
sions we admire in Wolff’s own analytical      jettison the “ ‘style-free’ early grounding”
studies. And Thomas Christensen’s linking      (p. 369) performers today generally receive
of Bach’s compositional practice to the im-    in favor of a period-specific pedagogy. For
provisations of Conrad Paumann relies on       the performer of eighteenth-century music,
Wolff ’s own work on the manuscripts of        this would mean adopting the teaching
the Nuremberg organist’s Fundamentum or-       strategies used by instrumental tutors of the
ganisndi (Christoph Wolff, “Conrad Pau-        time. Largely ignoring the “landscape
manns Fundamentum organisandi und seine        view,” the performer would thus focus
verschiedenen Fassungen,” Archiv für           more on local details and smaller units—
Musikwissenschaft 25 [1968]: 196–222).         phrase inflection, articulation, graded
   Neal Zaslaw, on the other hand, re-         tempo changes, and the like. Robert Levin
sponds to Wolff’s Mozart scholarship.          then challenges one of the fundamental
Indeed, he engages in direct dialogue with     goals of historical musicology—that a pri-
Wolff ’s work on the cadenzas of Mozart’s      mary objective of the scholar is to “establish
piano concertos. Whereas Wolff has             a text that reflects the composer’s ultimate,
claimed that Mozart “jealously guard[ed]       final version, the so-called Fassung letzter
his personal performance materials”            Hand ” (p. 403). Through an examination
(Christoph Wolff, “Cadenzas and Styles of      of Mozart’s drafts, sketches, and auto-
Improvisation in Mozart’s Piano Con-           graphs of the piano concertos as well as cer-
certos,” Perspectives on Mozart Performance,   tain habits of Mozart’s compositional
ed. R. Larry Todd and Peter Williams           process, Levin demonstrates that, at least in
[Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,        the case of these works, there is no final or
1991], 230), Zaslaw suggests that Mozart       definitive text. As the sources reveal,
taught his cadenzas to talented students,      Mozart’s piano concertos were continu-
gave them away, or perhaps even sold them      ously altered by the composer in perfor-
along with the concertos themselves.           mance, leading Levin to argue persuasively
Zaslaw’s case also argues for an important     that “the opportunities provided by this
aesthetic point—that cadenzas are sup-         rich set of alternative readings deserve to
posed to be exciting, surprising, witty, and   be known and performed” (p. 406).
even risky. “If the same cadenzas are used        These last contributions provide a fitting
over and over, [this] important aesthetic      conclusion for this honorary collection of
feature is devalued” (p. 249).                 essays so diverse in topic, methodology,
   Among the other contributions, two in       scope, and disciplinary grounding. Not
particular stand out. Elaine Sisman demon-     only are their ideas applicable to the entire
strates compellingly how each work in a        century of Bach and Mozart, however
multi-work opus may have an individual as      whole or divided it may be, but they also
well as a 
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: First is its reliance on LaRue's (and Churgin's) symbolic language of letters and numbers. Churgin presents detailed timeline analyses as tables for each work's movements, but also continues to employ LaRue's symbols within the descriptive prose, often without including measure numbers for the passage, making for some awkward reading and confusion.
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