Paul Wittgenstein in Great Britain

Wong, Wendy H.W. (2016) Paul Wittgenstein in Great Britain. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Most of the existing research on Paul Wittgenstein (1887–1961) focuses on his performing career in central Europe as a left-hand pianist and his commissions from the most prominent composers of the 20th century such as Richard Strauss and Maurice Ravel, and his favourite composer, Franz Schmidt. His British performing career and the compositions Ernest Walker, Norman Demuth and Benjamin Britten composed for and dedicated to him, however, remain relatively unexplored. By examining a variety of primary sources that are disclosed here for the first time, this thesis offers the first scholarly research into Wittgenstein’s performing activities in Great Britain in the 1920s–50s and his British commissions in order to fill a major research gap in Wittgenstein studies.

Chapter 1 explores Wittgenstein’s self-recognition as a member of the Viennese aristocracy and the shaping of his musical identity, conception and taste, followed by an overview of the related primary sources that are currently located in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, a detailed summary of his performing activities in Great Britain and a discussion of the British reception of him as a left-hand pianist. Chapter 2 focuses on Walker and the three compositions he wrote for piano left-hand, two of which he composed before meeting Wittgenstein and one after, and the pianist’s attitude towards them. Chapter 3 brings to light the much-neglected composer Demuth and the two works he composed for Wittgenstein and discusses possible reasons why the pianist never performed them. Chapter 4 examines Wittgenstein’s first and only official British commission, the Diversions, Op. 21 by Britten, and investigates the interaction between composer and pianist in the compositional process and their differing conceptions of the work.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Cooke, Mervyn
Keywords: Paul Wittgenstein, Music for Piano Left-Hand
Subjects: M Music and Literature on music > ML Literature of music
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 33743
Depositing User: Wong, Wendy
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2016 06:40
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 05:14

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