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Faculty of Music


Text as script: the lyric model

Professor Amanda Glauert (Royal College of Music)

Monday 23 November 2015, 5.15 to 6.45 pm
Room 261, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1

The difference between actors and musicians in their attitudes to text has been summed up in the question they first ask of a performance: whereas musicians tend to ask 'is it right', actors ask 'does it work'.  In considering what emulating the actors’ approach might mean for musicians, the presentation draws on ideals and practices connected to lyric song.  According to the song theorist Herder a lyric is defined by its appeal for others to join in; it implies a shift in emphasis from creator to receiver, from a given creative intention to the experience of the moment. The freedom of aiming for a song to ‘work’ challenges the performer to take immediate account of listener responses.  The presentation will discuss how song practices of Goethe and Beethoven can be taken as performative models of how to work with the listener, taking as a practical example the poetic and musical ingredients offered in Beethoven’s four settings of Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt.

Amanda Glauert has worked for many years with performers, both at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music where she was until recently Director of Programmes & Research. She has been involved in seeking to develop masters and doctoral programmes that reflect the interdisciplinary nature of performers' lives and allow fresh perspectives on research processes. Her own research has revolved around the songs of Wolf and Beethoven, and the aesthetics of Goethe and Herder.  In addition to her book Hugo Wolf and the Wagnerian Inheritance she has contributed to the Cambridge Companions to Beethoven and to the Lied.  Her current writing concerns relationships between lyric song and 'lateness'. She is co-director with Kathryn Whitney and Paul Barker of SONGART, a performance research group of the Institute of Musical Research. 

Monday, 23 November, 2015 - 17:15 to 18:45
Event location: 
5.15pm, Room 261 Senate House, University of London