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Studies in pianistic sonority, nuance and expression: French performance practices in the piano works of Maurice Ravel

Llewelyn-Jones, Iwan 2016. Studies in pianistic sonority, nuance and expression: French performance practices in the piano works of Maurice Ravel. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

This thesis traces the development of Maurice Ravel’s pianism in relation to sonority, nuance and expression by addressing four main areas of research that have remained largely unexplored within Ravel scholarship: the origins of Ravel’s pianism and influences to which he was exposed during his formative training; his exploration of innovative pianistic techniques with particular reference to thumb deployment; his activities as performer and teacher, and role in defining a performance tradition for his piano works; his place in the French pianistic canon. Identifying the main research questions addressed in this study, an Introduction outlines the dissertation content, explains the criteria and objectives for the performance component (Public Recital) and concludes with a literature review. Chapter 1 explores the pianistic techniques Ravel acquired during his formative training, and considers how his study of specific works from the nineteenth-century piano repertory shaped and influenced his compositional style and pianism. Chapter 2 discusses Ravel’s implementation of his idiosyncratic ‘strangler’ thumbs as articulators of melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and textural material in selected piano works. Ravel’s role in defining a performance tradition for his piano works as disseminated to succeeding generations of pianists is addressed in Chapter 3, while Chapters 4 and 5 evaluate Ravel’s impact upon twentieth-century French pianism through considering how leading French piano pedagogues and performers responded to his trailblazing piano techniques. It will be shown that through his activities as teacher and performer, as well as composer, Ravel took control of every detail pertaining to his piano works with his meticulously notated scores, piano roll recordings and interpretive guidance imparted to other pianists, thus catalysing performance practices that promulgated a distinctively French twentieth-century pianistic tradition.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 May 2017
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:50
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/100830

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