Research Masterclass Abstracts:
‘Investigating Contemporary Persian Piano Repertoire and its Performance’
Kiana Shafiei (Royal Northern College of Music)
In my research I look into the performance and interpretation of piano solo and concertante works by three significant Iranian composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who have explored the potential of Persian music in a ‘Western’ paradigm.
The lack of analytical and performance studies on this repertoire raised two immediate questions: what musical links with Persian music can be drawn out in this repertoire, and to what extent can this study influence its performance? These questions were addressed with a combination of score analysis, piano practice, literature on Persian music and my own insight as a musician familiar with Persian music.
In this lecture-recital I will discuss various connections with Persian music and their performance implications. I will also bring forth examples from mainstream repertoire that have informed my research and methodologies when addressing performance issues in pieces inspired by folk music. Moreover, I will compare my own performance with existing recordings of other pianists to discuss how my knowledge and understanding of these composers can result in a different performance.
‘The 24 Etudes-Caprices of Emile Sauret (1902) – A First Recording'
Nazrin Rashidova (Royal Academy of Music)
While the nineteenth-century violinist, composer and pedagogue Émile Sauret carved an enviable reputation for himself during his lifetime, he is little known today, although he is probably recognised by many violinists for the spectacular cadenza that he wrote for Paganini’s First Violin Concerto (published in 1896). Composed during his professorial tenure at the Royal Academy of Music, the 24 Etudes-Caprices are a testament to his technical finesse and are dedicated to his student, the great British virtuoso Marjorie Hayward. I have begun work on a complete recording which will span four discs and which will be released by Naxos. The first volume has already been recorded and is due for release in June 2017.
In the process of making the recordings I aim to explore the following research questions. My talk will focus on the first two practical questions.
Who was Emile Sauret and is it possible to build a picture of his work that transcends the purely biographical?
What kinds of programmes did he play and how did his work fit into the larger picture of European and British musical life? Are these etudes-caprices representative?
What kind of virtuosity is being advocated in these etudes-caprices?
To what extent is this embodied in character, structure, and detailed descriptions of technical execution?
How does a recording offer me a window into understanding the distinctive possibilities and qualities of these etudes?
Is recording a set of ‘studies’ a different kind of exercise to making a ‘programme’ disc or series?