Issues of Narrativity in the Romantic Piano Opera Paraphrase

Title: Issues of Narrativity in the Romantic Piano Opera Paraphrase
Authors: Walton, Mathew
Date: 2012
Abstract: Although the opera paraphrase was once a cornerstone of the virtuoso pianist's repertoire, as a genre it has traditionally been neglected by a scholarship which prioritizes authenticity and original compositional thought. By approaching this repertoire from a critical standpoint concerned with the production of narrative, this thesis demonstrates the true value of the paraphrase. A review of the current literature on narrative, gesture, and the paraphrase reveals major gaps in the state of research, and this thesis addresses these issues by presenting analyses of several works, in both printed and performed forms. The chapter “Settling the Score” interrogates the score, and argues that through their choice, ordering, and setting of operatic themes in a paraphrase, composers can alter or recreate the narrative of the source opera. By analyzing and comparing by reading the narrative schemes of seven different paraphrases based on Mozart's Don Giovanni, the chapter highlights the agency of the arranger in the production of narrative. The next chapter, entitled “Playing the Part,” suggests that the creation of narrative also extends beyond the work of the composer to encompass the role of the performer. By comparing the use of physical gestures in two video-recorded performances of Liszt's paraphrase Réminiscences de Don Juan, the thesis postulates that a pianist's gestures can influence the audience's perception of narrative. In an attempt to centralize the voice of the performer, the chapter also includes reflective analysis of the author's own performances of Liszt's paraphrase. By employing analytical methods which focus on the production of musical narrative, this thesis demonstrates that the paraphrase is worthy of greater attention, both in scholarship and performance.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -