Projects of visiting scholars

Leah Kang: Orchestra in the salon: Piano chamber music arrangements of Beethoven's overtures

In this digital age, music is primarily accessed electronically. Rather than attending live concerts, most people go to their computer or one of many devices where music is just a click away. In a curious historical parallel, although Beethoven composed his works for the concert hall with specific instrumentation in mind, the public was most often introduced to his works through an arrangement.

Arrangements have long been considered derivative, trivial, and merely pedagogical, and as such, have largely been neglected by scholars and performers. Some of these works were arranged by close friends of Beethoven, other composers, and even the composer himself, and cover a wide array of compositional quality and prowess. The best of these arrangements deserve to be known as they are fascinating re-imaginings of canonical works that provide a glimpse into how music was heard and engaged with in Beethoven's time.

A recent resurgence of interest in arrangements has brought them to light, yet their historical impact and scores of music remain mostly unexamined. By combining historical contextualization with close musical readings, this project takes an in depth look the piano chamber arrangements of Beethoven's most famous overtures - Coriolan, Egmont, Leonore III, Fidelio, and Prometheus – as created by his contemporaries Ignaz Moscheles, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and Carl Czerny. Each composer's approach to the distillation of the orchestral score for smaller forces as well as the significant role arrangements played in the musical activities of the early nineteenth-century will be explored.

Project duration: 1st September 2018 - February 2020
Financed by Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst

Leonardo Miucci: The Classical Viennese Piano School: Its Reception in Milan and Northern Italy during the First Half of the 19th Century

The aim of this project is to trace Beethoven's influence on the keyboard tradition of North Italy in general, and in Milan in particular, during the first half of the 19th century. This investigation will explore Beethoven’s relationship with important figures in this piano world, among them Carlo Soliva, Francesco Pollini, Bonifazio Asioli, Giacomo Gottigredo Ferrari. The influence that Beethoven's piano repertory exerted on 19th-century Milanese pianistic style will also be examined.

Project duration: 1st September 2017 – 28th February 2019
Financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation