Music can be both deeply expressive and highly academic. One can create beautiful music by intuition alone, using both what is written on the page and their own musicality to produce a unique version of any musical work. A musician can also create beautiful music by utilizing research and analysis of a work to determine proper performance practice, reveal composer intentions, and inform musical decisions for a piece of music. By using both analytical and expressive methods, the performer can effectively produce art, giving a piece the potential to exist in versions varying in detail but authentically communicating the message intended by the composer. This document contains information relevant to my graduate clarinet recital, providing me with the tools necessary to present a historically-informed version of each piece. The program of the recital is as follows: Carl Maria von Weber’s Clarinet Concerto no. 1 in F minor, George Gershwin’s Three Preludes for Clarinet and Piano, the first movement of Johannes Brahms’ Clarinet Trio in A minor, and Aaron Copland’s Concerto for Clarinet. The following document consists of four chapters, each focused on a specific piece from the recital program. Chapter 1 examines Weber’s Clarinet Concerto, describing common performance practices of the Classical era, Weber’s common compositional techniques, and the performance style of Heinrich Baermann, the clarinetist for whom the work was composed. The second chapter contains research on Gershwin’s Three Preludes, including how the piece was arranged from its original piano score, common techniques used in Gershwin’s era, and a comparison of editions of the clarinet work. Chapter 3 is a collection of research of performance practices of the Romantic era, clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld’s influence on Brahms’s work, and common chamber music practices. The fourth and final chapter contains a description of performance practices during the Swing era (c. 1935-1946) when Copland’s Concerto for Clarinet was written. It also contains information regarding the clarinetist who commissioned the work, Benny Goodman.
Through the process of collecting and organizing this information, I was able to apply it to the learning and performance of each piece. The identification of common performance practices of each era assisted me in making stylistic decisions based on the time period each piece was written. In studying the clarinetists for whom pieces were written, I was able to identify aspects of their performance style, how those clarinetists would have interpreted the music, and how their performing style influenced the composers. The comparison of different scores of the Weber Concerto and the Gershwin Preludes provided insight into the possible ornamentations and inflections that are commonly used in each piece. Gaining understanding of various aspects of these pieces outside of the written music provided me with the tools to enhance my performance through making informed decisions based on the research collected in this document. By choosing pieces with different genres, time periods, and composers, I was able to explore a broad range of topics regarding each aspect of important works in the clarinet repertoire.
Dr. Barry Kraus
Dr. Daniel Lochrie
Dr. Virginia Lamothe
Music, School of
Music and Performing Arts, College of
Master of Music (MM)
Brewer, Sarah, "Enhancing Performance Through Research and Analysis" (2021). Recital Papers. 12.