Wednesday 25 June 2014, 4.00PM
Speaker(s): Victoria Bernath (University of York) / Simone Spagnolo (Trinity Laban)
The turn of the twentieth century saw a new surge of interest in the viola with an awareness of how the ‘middle fiddle’s’ unique timbral properties might be married with a virtuosic technique. This is in contrast with the Victorian era, when both British composers and musical society at large were late to adopt the viola as a virtuosic voice. Three viola concerti were composed in Britain during 1901-1910: Sir John Blackwood McEwen’s Viola Concerto (1901), Cecil Forsyth’s Viola Concerto in G minor (1903) and York Bowen’s Viola Concerto in C minor Op. 25 (1908). A score of lighter chamber works featuring the viola were also written during this period, bolstering the fledging profession of violists in Britain.
Current scholarship typically attributes this increased recognition solely to violist Lionel Tertis. However, by examining the social contexts of the aforementioned concerti alongside a brief analysis of each work, this paper argues that the causes for a growth in the viola's popularity in Edwardian Britain are more complex. Discussion will reveal the existence of a fraught relationship between British and lesser-known foreign talents alongside an increased sense of nationalism in British conservatoires and the press.
Simone Spagnolo (Trinity Laban PhD)
This seminar will examine two main concepts: the non-linearity of the dramaturgy and openness to a plurality of interpretations. I will discuss how Italian experimental post-WWII operas such as Luciano Berio’s Opera and Sylvano Bussotti’s La Passion selon Sade are based on the above concepts and the philosophical idea that art works are open to multiple interpretations. Also, I will explore such topics in relation to my work 'It Makes No Difference', a self-composed multi-narrative work that aims to encapsulate the concept of openness to a plurality of interpretations within the various levels of the composition. It was was performed in December 2013 as part of Trinity Laban Postgraduates Opera Scenes and in August 2012 at Tete-a-Tete: the Opera Festival. This presentation of 'It Makes No Difference' will provide an overview of both its narrative structure and notational system whilst highlighting how its musico-theatrical parameters aim to epitomise Umberto Eco’s concept of opera aperta (open work).