Franz Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor: An Interpretive Comparison of the Lehman Manuscript with the Friedheim, Joseffy and Cortot Editions
AuthorTang, Yi Qing
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Sonata in B Minor of Franz Liszt (1811-1886) is one of the more significant works in the piano repertoire. Although this masterpiece attracted many researchers’ attention, the current literature lacks a through comparison of various historical editions of this work. In this study, I chose and compared four historically important editions of the Sonata in B Minor from over ten published editions. They are the only complete manuscript source that survives today- Lehman Manuscript; editions by two of Liszt’s favorite students, Arthur Friedheim (1859-1932) and Rafael Joseffy (1852-1915); and the edition of the French pianist Alfred Cortot (1877-1962), into whose hands the original manuscript passed in the mid-1930. The primary focus of my study involves Liszt’s articulation signs and his comments concerning dynamics, fingering, phrasing, and pedaling, as each of the four editions provides useful information regarding specific performance directions for this sonata. Secondary comparisons address historic and contemporary recordings of the sonata by six representative pianists. Two such historical recordings have been recently discovered: a 1905 roll recording by Friedheim—the only pianist known to have both studied the work with Liszt and to have made a roll recording of the sonata; and a 1929 live performance recording by Cortot. These recordings are the best demonstrations of the annotations from their respective editions. Four modern recordings of the sonata were also included in my analysis: those of Martha Argerich (1972), Vladimir Horowitz (1977), Yevgeny Kissin (1998), and Yuja Wang (2009). Tertiary comparisons address the relevant writings of this sonata by additional pupils of Liszt. Many of his students wrote down their memories of him and his teaching after his death, and these writings shed light on Liszt as a composer, performer, piano teacher, and father. Lastly, four frequently used signs serve specific functions in Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor. Each of these signs instructs the player to play the notes with specific length, force, color, textural layering and imaginative orchestration. The comparison of these four principal editions of Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor informs a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the work’s expressive potential and demonstrates how a work can evolve once it leaves the composer’s hands.
Degree ProgramGraduate College