Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The piano music of Sterndale Bennett in the context of nineteenth-century pianism: a practice-based interpretive study with critical commentary

By David Graeme Mawson


Sterndale Bennett (1816 - 75) made a significant contribution to piano music and pianism in London during the nineteenth-century, as evidenced by his substantial\ud work list (see Appendix A). The aim of this thesis is to show how a knowledge of the performance practices of his time and of his own approach to style and interpretation can illuminate the performance of this repertoire. A secondary aim is to set this study within a clear historical framework and hence to make a strong connection between contextual and textual studies. An examination of his piano music and contemporary accounts of his piano playing reveal a conservative approach compared to other performers. The picture is amplified by an account of\ud practices described in nineteenth-century writings on performance and of the differences between English and Viennese pianos.\ud \ud In the recordings, music by Sterndale Bennett is juxtaposed with music by selected predecessors and contemporaries, not only to show how his music relates to the nineteenth-century continuum, but also to present in sharp relief his special stylistic qualities. Some of the recordings reflect the work of members of the London Pianoforte School. The justification for this twentieth-century grouping is discussed in Chapter 1 in the context of London musical life and pianism in the nineteenthcentury, with reference to contemporary opinion-formers. The influence of Mozart\ud and of the revival of Baroque keyboard music on Sterndale Bennett are also discussed.\ud \ud Publishing practices of the period are examined in Chapter 2, leading to a survey of Sterndale Bennett's sources and publications. Chapter 3 investigates approaches to nineteenth-century pianism, drawing on contemporary documents and secondary sources, comparing them with the preserved evidence we have regarding Sterndale Bennett's own stance on these matters. This process reveals, in many cases, that Sterndale Bennett represented a more scholarly and less commercial approach to piano playing than was prevalent among contemporaries such as Kalkbrenner,\ud Thalberg and others.\ud \ud Finally, this study offers a paradigm for reinvigorating an historic but largely moribund repertoire incorporating it into contemporary practice

Publisher: School of Music (Leeds)
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. 1. `The London Pianoforte School. '
  2. (2002). 24 Presto leggiero 3.17 Capricciosa 3.18 Agitato assai 5.23 Alla Fantasia 4.37 Presto agitato 2.30 Lento - Bravura 4.46 Recording Sessions CD 1: Tracks 4,7,8 and 11; CD 3: Track 5; CD 5: Tracks 1,2,3,4,5 and 6; recorded
  3. 5 3.13 124 Track: CD 4. Sterndale Bennett - The Piano Music. Sterndale Bennett Three Musical Sketches Op. doi
  4. in A minor 2.07 Track: CD 2. Composers Studied by Sterndale Bennett at the
  5. Mozart Andante con moto Allegro Andante Presto Quasi allegretto Presto Sonata in B flat major K.
  6. Preludium Track: CD 5. Sterndale Bennett - The Piano Music. doi
  7. The Fountain Sterndale Bennett Fantasy in A major Op.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.