Editing, Performing and Re-Composing the Musical Past – The Emergence of French Neoclassicism (1870–)

The French Music Research Hub at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University, is very pleased to announce this international conference, to take place in the Recital Hall of the new Conservatoire across 5–7 September 2018. The conference forms part of the culminating phase of the major AHRC-funded project: ‘Accenting the Classics: Durand’s Édition classique (c. 1915–25) as a French Prism on the Musical Past’.

We are delighted to confirm that there will be an international keynote address delivered by Professor Steven Huebner (James McGill Professor, McGill University, Montreal), together with a public piano recital presented by senior Conservatoire performers. The languages of the conference will be English and French. We welcome a full range of scholarly approaches: musicological, editorial, analytical, critical and performance-based.

Proposals are invited from established scholars and research students for individual papers (20 minutes, plus 10 minutes for questions); lecture-recital format (30 minutes, plus 10 minutes for questions); or panel sessions (3 or 4 x 20-minute papers, each with 10 minutes of discussion/questions). Proposals are welcome on any relevant topic, but we are especially interested in the following themes and questions:

 

  • The later 19th-and early 20th-centuries witnessed a wealth of French and other Francophone editions (e.g. Heugel, d’Indy’s Nouvelle Édition française, Henry Expert) of European music by composers including Bach, Couperin, Rameau, Mozart, through to Berlioz, Schumann and Liszt. How do music editions of this kind represent the past or create a dialogue with it, whether nationally or transnationally?
  • Which composers and periods proved of special interest to French editors and why?
  • How might we explore the notion of the ‘classic’, as employed in many editions?
  • What are the performance implications of such music editions, in relation to early and mid-20th-century recordings, or for performance today?
  • How did individual French composers of the late 19th- or early 20th-century engage with earlier music for their own compositional purposes?
  • What roles do ‘classical’ models (e.g. pavanes, menuets) play in late 19th- or early 20th-century French composition, from Fauré and Saint-Saëns through to Debussy and Ravel?
  • What are the relationships between an increased interest in the musical past in fin-de-siècle France and the acknowledged rise of neoclassicism in the early 20th century?

Abstracts (max. 300 words), together with a short biography (max. 150 words), accompanied by an introductory rationale for panel proposals (max. 300 words), should be submitted by email to Deborah.Mawer@bcu.ac.uk by the deadline of Friday, 29 December 2017.

Programme Committee: Profs. Deborah Mawer, Graham Sadler and Dr Rachel Moore (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University), Prof. Barbara Kelly (Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester), Prof. Denis Herlin (IReMus, CNRS, Paris).

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