Prokofiev 7 Analysis

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    Freedom in Interpretation and Piano Sonata No. 7

    by Sergei Prokofiev

    -A comparison of two approaches to piano interpretation-

    Nikola Markovi

    Supervisor

    Knt !"nsberg

    This Masters Thesis is carried out as a part of the education

    at the University of Agder and is therefore approved as a part

    of this education. However, this does not imply that the

    University answers for the methods that are used or the

    conclusions that are drawn.

    #niversity of Agder$ %&'%.

    Fac(ty of Fine Arts

    )epartment of *sic

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    Table of Contents

    A+S!,A!............................................................................................................................

    AKN/012)32*2N!S.......................................................................................................

    ' Introdction....................................................................................................................4

    '.' Abot the topic........................................................................................................4

    '.% ,esearch 5estion and aim for the pro6ect ............................................................4

    '. *ethods..................................................................................................................7

    '.8 Strctre of the thesis.............................................................................................9

    % !he composer$ the performers and what (ies between....................................................:

    %.' Prokofiev ; (ife and creation...................................................................................:

    %.% Sviatos(av ,ichter and 3(enn 3o(d ....................................................................'

    %.%.' Sviatos(av ,ichter ; tragedy and power...................................................'8

    %.%.% 3(enn 3o(d ; ecstasy and inte((ect.........................................................'4

    %.%. Abot the recordings.................................................................................'9

    %. Interpretation and freedom...................................................................................':

    Ana(ysis of Sergei Prokofievposition?opening.....................................................................%7

    b= )eve(opment..............................................................................%9

    c= ,ecapit(ation............................................................................&

    d= oda..........................................................................................%

    .%.% Ana(ysis of the performances....................................................................

    a= !he time ; tempo and agogics...................................................

    3

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    b= !he sond ; dynamics$ po(yphony$ artic(ation and peda((ing....7

    c= /verview and conc(sions..........................................................:

    .%. Performer

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    1 Introduction.

    1.1 About the topic

    Serei Pro!ofie" /01/%/1-32 was one of the most interestin composers in the

    Twentieth century. is piano sonatas are the main part of his creation for the piano, and

    amon them, the Se"enth Piano Sonata is one the most interestin and most successful wor!s.

    It is a fa"ourite amon performers and audiences ali!e.

    lenn ould /135%/1052 and S"iatosla" 6ichter /1/-%/1172 are amon the reatest

    pianists since the in"ention of sound%recordin technoloies. They represent two "ery

    different approaches to classical music performance.

    Interpretation is a widely%discussed area. The field of hermeneutics and the fields ofcommunication and lanuae music lanuae and notation, in this case2 are enormous, and

    the research and discussion in this paper will ha"e a narrower approach to piano performance

    itself, with no ambition to dwell much deeper into these and other wider fields.

    1. Re!e"rch #ue!tion "nd "i$ %or the pro&ect

    I ha"e decided to contribute to the important uestion of freedom in interpretation by$

    a2 presentin a demonstration of my own analyses of performances by two renowned

    pianists, ascertainin the elements of correlation and disparity between the performances and

    the score and drawin certain conclusions from their playin2,

    b2 presentin the findins of these analyses in a systematic way, and discussin the

    reasons behind the differences, and

    c2 explainin my own choices in interpretation of this piece. I belie"e that my own

    findins while researchin and practisin the piece are a "ery "aluable tool for any research

    on the topic that I may conduct.

    8hat I aim to disco"er by performin these actions is insiht into the different ways

    of approachin the written text, and moti"ation in different performers for the interpretati"e

    chanes of the written text.

    There are many challenes in this process. 9ne of the main ones in uncertainty of any

    "erbal interpretation of a musical content. #"en the simplest and most basic elements are

    always up to discussion and re%interpretation, and it is "ery difficult to ma!e any final

    :

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    decisions. The other main difficulty is the complexity of Pro!ofie";s lanuae and multitude

    of modes of expression.

    I chose this topic because it enables me to connect areas of my reatest expertise,

    which are$

    a2 piano performance and its aesthetics. I am currently in my final of the

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    1.( Structure o% the the!i!.

    The thesis consists of four main parts. The first one, Introduction, brins an o"er"iew

    of the topic, research oals and tools of research, as well as the moti"ation for the choice of

    topic. The second part lays the round for better understandin of the composer, the pianists

    and the process and challenes of interpretation. The third part consists of data collection and

    presentation, throuh analysis of music form and music interpretation, and personal

    obser"ation of the interpretation problems. The fourth part brins an o"er"iew of the findins

    with "isual representation, and the discussion about these findins and their meanin. The

    fifth part consists of a summary of the whole thesis and some end mar!s, includin personal

    experience of this research, and some other personal "iews, as well as some possibilities for

    future research.

    0

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    The co$po!er) the per%or$er! "nd *h"t +ie! bet*een.

    .1 ,ro-o%ie / +i%e "nd cre"tion

    Serei Pro!ofie" was a prolific composer. e was eually adept in composin ballets,

    symphonies, concertos for different instruments, and solo piano wor!s.

    Pro!ofie" was born in >pril /01/ in the "illae of Sontso"!a, which is in =!raine

    today, but was a part of the 6ussian #mpire at that time. e was raised in a musical

    en"ironment$ his mother was an ambitious amateur pianist, and she planted the lo"e for

    serious music, and disreard to say the least2 of any !ind of ClihtD music she also tauht

    him elementary music theory, as well as basic piano playin techniue2. This seed too! root

    in him "ery early, so he wrote his first music piece at the ae of -, and he started reular

    piano lessons with his mother at the ae of se"en. Still, e"en thouh he ob"iously was a

    wunderkind, his parents still tried to i"e him a normal childhood, and a"oid ma!in a

    fachidiot out of him. Throuhout his childhood, he continued de"elopin musically at an

    astonishin rate, which led to his admittance to the St. Petersbur Eonser"atory in /1F4, as a

    student of composition, with >natoly 'yado" as his composition teacher. e was only /3 at

    the time, and he had already composed a number of pieces, includin a sonata, a symphony

    and e"en an opera/.

    is musical spirit thri"ed in the en"ironment of cultural abundance that St. Petersbur

    had to offer, and he impro"ed reatly, both as a pianist and as a composer. ere he ot in

    contact with some "ery important influences, includin >lexander Scriabin and Serei

    6achmaninoff, which were, contrary to popular belief, not Pro!ofie";s stylistic arch%enemies.

    e differed from 6achmaninoff more than from Scriabin, but only in treatment of the piano

    as an instrument, and in musical lanuae, while bein connected to him throuh the 6ussian

    type of lyricism, which he used in many of his wor!s. e e"en stated to 'yado" that one of

    his fa"ourite composers was Tchai!o"s!y, the epitome of 6ussian musical lyricism. >nother

    important influence is Nicolai 6ims!y%+orsa!o", e"en thouh Pro!ofie";s position towards

    him was somewhat ambiuous and fluctuatin.

    Burin his composition studies, Pro!ofie" continued impro"in as a pianist, and he by

    the time he raduated, he was eually ac!nowleded as a composer and as a performer. =pon

    / The biblioraphic facts about Pro!ofie" in this and other pararaphs unless stated differently2 are from

    6obinson;s bioraphy of the composer 6obinson, 5FF5.2

    1

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    finishin his composition studies, Pro!ofie" continued studyin piano and conductin. e

    started stud