Style and Sonority in Wagner String Performance

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The question of what constitutes a 'Wagner string sound' is an interesting one, not least because Wagner's works seem still to be inextricably linked to modern, post-Romantic performance practice. Extensive studies of performance practice in written documents and on record by scholars such as Clive Brown, Robin Stowell, Robert Philip and the present writer have shown beyond reasonable doubt that sonority was very different in the 19th century. Joseph Joachim was implicated in Wagner's denunciations of the so-called 'classical' school mainly by association, and for his part he had at an early stage distanced himself from the new music and the school of Liszt. The 'classical' nature of Mendelssohn's music, with its sparer textures and conscious embodiment of the heritage of 18th-century models of phrasing, style and structure, makes historically informed experiments with his music somehow less controversial from today's viewpoint, than a similar treatment of Wagner.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClassical and Romantic Music
EditorsDavid Milsom
PublisherAshgate Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781315095653
ISBN (Print)9780754628590
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2011

Cite this