Editing Brahms’ Sonatas: Reading between the Lines of the Notation
Lecture Theatre 1, School of Music
The speaker is Prof Clive Brown (University of Leeds)
Brahms’ scores appear to provide detailed instructions for the performance of the music, although the composer in fact often removed instructions from his manuscripts during the process of publication, concerned not to encourage exaggeration or to constrict the creative contribution of the performer. It is clear, however, that his notation, taken literally, does not provide adequate information for a performance that would have met Brahms’ expectations. As his close collaborator Joseph Joachim observed, a fine performance required the executants to be able to “read between the lines”. This talk will examine some of the ways in which conventional modern approaches to Brahms’ music fail to recognise the hidden messages in his notation and how, potentially, a critical edition might help to convey the composer’s expectations to contemporary performers.