Horng Kent Tham, Interpretation and Performance: An Investigation into Franz Schubert's Piano Sonata in A major D959 (DMusPerf, Royal Irish Academy of Music, 2016)

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 Author:  Tham, Horng Kent 
 Title:  Interpretation and Performance: An Investigation into Franz Schubert's Piano Sonata in A major D959 
 Degree, institution:  DMusPerf, Royal Irish Academy of Music 
 Status, year:  accepted, 2016 
 Volumes, pp.:  1 vol (114pp.) 
 Supervisor(s):  Denise Neary  
 Repository:  Royal Irish Academy of Music Library .   http://www.tara.tcd.ie/handle/2262/77471 
 General specialism:  Musicology: Performance Studies  
 Content, key terms:  Persons:
Genres, instruments: 
Franz Schubert
Piano Sonata
 Abstract: 

The investigation is based on the understanding of the role of the performer as narrator in the performance of early nineteenth-century piano music in general and Schubert’s Piano Sonata in A Major, D959, in particular. In addition to considering aspects of the musical and cultural context as well as piano construction in Schubert’s own time, this dissertation highlights and examines two general areas. The first area contains three central themes – tempo, articulation and dynamics. The second area will shed light on a ‘paradigm shift’ between what Lawrence Zbikowski termed ‘static form’ and ‘dynamic form’. The traditional sonata-form represents the ‘static form’ which consists of balanced structure built from regular sub-units with clear harmonic connections between each other. The ‘dynamic form’ was conceived as ‘form as process’ where the emphasis was given to a performer in defining the musical structure throughout a piece. This creative role of a performer in giving shape to music suggests the idea of narration and Schubert’s Piano Sonata in A Major, D959, particularly in the first and second movements, presents an interesting example for musical narration in early Romantic music.

There appears to be no consensus as to a ‘stylistically correct’ rendition of Schubert’s Piano Sonata in A Major, D959, and it possesses some unique musical features which invite performers and researchers to conduct an investigation of the sonata. Hence, a consequence of this investigation would be a deeper understanding and awareness of the problems of interpretation in this work as well as the unique characteristics of the sonata.