Studies in the Arts (SINTA)

Dissertation of Camilla Köhnken

«In the Spirit of Liszt» – Musical Arrangement Ideals of the «Liszt Tradition» as Reflected in Text Sources, Editions of Instructional Works, and Early Audio Documents.

The aim of this dissertation was to undertake a detailed analysis of the interpretive strategies of Franz Liszt and his students. This topic is considered on the basis of numerous text and sound sources such as transcripts of Liszt's piano courses, memoirs, educational sheet music from his students, and a rich catalog of historical recordings. A special case among these various sources is the piano manual titled "Tradition and Craft in Piano-Playing" from the 1940s. This has only become available recently and provides an insight into how a grand-disciple perceived the "Liszt tradition" from a viewpoint further removed in time (and therefore less narrow). The results of the text and recording analyses should provide a more precise definition of the oft-cited "Liszt School" – as distinct from the "academic" tendency of the period depicted by Clara Schumann or Carl Reinecke. A concurrent objective is to develop a deeper understanding of the prevalent stylistic devices within musical interpretation towards the end of the nineteenth century, which often strike modern listeners as very strange.


Prof. Dr. Anselm Gerhard, Universität Bern, Institut für Musikwissenschaft
Prof. Dr. Kai Köpp, Hochschule der Künste Bern HKB, Organisationseinheit: Forschung, Musik, Klassik