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Should pieces in DipARSM be kept strictly historically accurate?

piano mozart pedal

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#1 shyamal1308

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 12:57

I am planning to appear for DipARSM this year and one of the pieces that I have chosen is Mozart Sonata in C Major, K. 309. I have listened to the recordings of Mitsuko Uchida and Daniel Barenboim on Youtube and they both seemed to be using the pedal sometimes very sightly to produce a smooth tonal effect. But, from what I have read about this piece, it was composed at a time when no pedals were in use in pianos. Without the pedal, it is also sounding a bit dry. If I use the pedal, would my marks be affected for giving an historically inaccurate performance?


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#2 Wai Kit Leung

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 15:30

Mozart’s piano was a far cry from today’s pianos, so it wouldn’t be historically accurate in any case to play his works on modern instruments. For the exam, your best bet is to play at the currently accepted style on modern instruments.
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#3 Clovis

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 16:03

Whatever you decide, be prepared to justify your pedalling, or lack of it, in your viva. I also played Mozart (and Bach) and was asked about the differences between the instruments the composers knew and the one I was playing, and how I approached this in my interpretations. It’s really good to be aware of how the historical keyboards worked, but don’t feel you need to be historically accurate when performing on a modern grand - it’s a very different beast.


I used the damper pedal for both composers in order to create a legato effect where needed, and occasionally to add warmth to a chord.
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#4 shyamal1308

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 17:12

Whatever you decide, be prepared to justify your pedalling, or lack of it, in your viva. I also played Mozart (and Bach) and was asked about the differences between the instruments the composers knew and the one I was playing, and how I approached this in my interpretations. It’s really good to be aware of how the historical keyboards worked, but don’t feel you need to be historically accurate when performing on a modern grand - it’s a very different beast.


I used the damper pedal for both composers in order to create a legato effect where needed, and occasionally to add warmth to a chord.

If it is possible, could you mention some of the points you mentioned for either using or not using the pedals? It will be quite helpful.


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#5 The Land

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 14:24

Hi Shyamal,

 

You aren't required to adopt a 'historically informed' perspective on your performance. So long as your performance has musical integrity, you can adopt any approach to the music that you like.

 

As Clovis observes, you will very likely be asked about some of these issues in the viva. "How does your instrument differ from the one that would have been used in Mozart's day" is a common question. "How does that affect your performance? or "Did you choose to adopt a Classical or Modern approach?" would be a common followup. The more you can talk about the reasons behind your choices, the better you can do. There will potentially be loads to say on the subject, given that Mozart was a pianist-composer and the very fast evolution of the piano in the Classical period. 

 

How much reading are you doing? I strongly recommend getting the ABRSM's series of books "A performer's guide"... and then following up some of the further reading suggestions in those books and in the diploma reading list. :) I gather Hummel (Mozart's pupil) wrote a detailed textbook on 'how to play the piano' - see if you can track it down and read it :)

 

https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/1860961932

Good luck!

 

Chris


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#6 Clovis

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 15:24

There's a useful book on pedalling that covers Bach and Mozart/Haydn: Joseph Banowetz 'The Pianist's Guide to Pedalling'. I've only just come across it, so didn't have it for the dip.ABRSM

 

Charles Rosen's Piano Notes (selected chapters) was also useful generally.

 

I talked, I think, about the pedals (both sorts), sustaining power, dynamic range, different weights of bass/treble, and the touch of the modern piano compared with Mozart's and Bach's instruments. Pedalling was not specifically asked about, but if you used lots, or none at all, then you might get such a question.


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#7 shyamal1308

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 09:10

Thanks for the help!


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