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Towards a personal interpretation of Beethoven’s piano sonata in E major OP.109.

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This study analyses some of the intersections between the activities of an instinctive performing artist with those of a traditional musicologist. This is in line with a growing worldwide trend which views the examination of the process of preparation leading towards a performance as a form of research. The first chapter of this study reviews some of the literature on the approach I have adopted in preparing a performance of one of the great piano sonatas from Beethoven’s late period of composition, the Sonata in E major, Op.109. This work forms the centrepiece of the final examination recital presented as part of the requirements for the PhD degree in performance. The performance itself will thus be the culmination of the investigations presented in this study. Each of the central chapters of this study contains an analysis of various aspects of form and style in the Sonata, but the main focus is an analysis of the recorded performances of the work by eight eminent pianists. The interpretive issues raised by the various analyses are discussed, and the conclusions distilled into a preferred personal interpretation.


Doctor of Philosophy in Music. University of KwaZulu-Natal. Durban, 2018.