Exposition

F. A. Hoffmeister Viola Concerto - Getting the inspiration for historically-informed performance. (2018)

Maria Kropotkina
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About this exposition

The main goal of this research was to figure out how can the study of the features of classical style give me more insight on how to make a faithful interpretation? Through the methods of content analysis I have found which topics were discussed and considered important from mid-18th century to mid-19th century. These topics were then systematized and placed in tables, compared and placed in one common table. Then scores were marked as close as possible to L. Mozart’s intentions, L. Spohr’s intentions and the score I used before (marked before my research). After that, these were practiced and recorded. Comparing the scores has brought me to some conclusions, differences between my playing and the requests of the masters. These were all the basic features of the classical style, which can be applied to my interpretation in theory. With the practicing and recording methods, I could choose more objectively which features of classical style, which I shall apply to my interpretation (the ones listed as an answer to the third sub-question). Theoretically speaking, regarding the tempo – I have always practiced perfect tempo keeping with the metronome and never even considered the fact of slowing down, let alone accelerating in furious passages. The dynamics marked in my score are similar to what is in L. Mozart and L. Spohr versions. I had never accentuated first of the slurred notes and then made a diminuendo, as L. Mozart asks. One difference, however, was in the dolce section in which I used to play a quasi- polyphonic setting in which both piano and forte was used. Mozart and Spohr would play dolce in a soft, ingratiating. The bowings in my version are more versatile and in a way continue L. Spohr’s tradition of slowly leaving behind the down beat down bow tradition so present in L. Mozart’s Versuch. Regarding the usage of my bow, through Spohr’s Violinschule I have rediscovered the upper half of the bow. For instance, I always played the detasche bowing in the middle part of the bow, unlike Spohr suggests (upper third). My fingerings version was almost the same as the L. Spohr’s version and quite different from L. Mozart’s version. Being able to use the open string and flageolets is truly helpful. Though, according to some, the usage of the harmonics when playing orchestra auditions with this concerto should be somewhat limited. (Kugel, 2014) Before analyzing the two violin schools, I have used different ornamentation, which was marked in my score. (Hoffmeister F. A., 1996) For example in bar 41 Music Well edition that I was using asks for a trill, while Henle edition only marks a turn. Also, it has before never occurred to me to even consider adding some embellishments myself. After reading L. Mozart’s Versuch, I am much more confident to add the embellishments, as well as to treat the vibrato (tremolo) as an embellishment, which should be added only on long notes. Practically speaking, I have made different choices for my interpretation. This new interpretation is a mixture of both violin methods and it represents the classical features that I shall apply to the performance practice because of their musical consequences.19 I have often found it somewhat hard to understand what exactly the classical style is. But, in my opinion, with such little improvements as mentioned earlier in this section, one can get closer to the style. As we know, playing in a correct style has gained more and more importance in the last century (Scherman, n.d.), and the audition setting asks for it as well. (Lebrecht, 2014) What still should be done to improve the clarity of the research is to apply the topics that I have extracted in the tables on the whole concerto. Also, there is definitely room for improvement in the embellishments section. In my research, there was no place for a thorough study of all embellishments that L. Mozart had stated. Such study and its application on the whole of Hoffmeister concerto would be of great importance to its understanding. Also, a study of the difference between the L. Mozart’s Versuch and L. Spohr’s Violinschule could bring great insight to how violin technique changed from mid-18th century to mid-19th century. I consider my common table as a good beginning of the study. To conclude, I hope my research will bring some clarity to the young colleagues who wish to have more information on the Hoffmeister Viola Concerto, as it did for me. Especially I wish it to be a guide for putting down bowings, choosing fingerings, adding and performing embellishments. If but one wondering violist is somewhat helped, I shall be pleased.
typeresearch exposition
date14/10/2018
published23/11/2018
last modified23/11/2018
statuslimited publication
licenseAll rights reserved
urlhttps://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/518412/518413
published inKC Research Portal
portal issue3. Internal publication


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