Accenting the Classics

This is an AHRC-funded project exploring the music French publisher Durand’s major edition in its centenary year to deliver scholarly and educational outputs, whose outcomes have the potential to change practice in French music research.

The Édition classique is a significant, large, but little explored, collection of European piano music from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, supported by editorial prefaces, published by Durand in Paris from 1915 onwards.

Its repertoire comprises music by well-known and since-forgotten composers, which was edited by well- and lesser-known early twentieth-century French composers, together with musicologists and teachers at the Paris Conservatoire. Other fin-de-siècle editions (for example, Henry Expert’s edition, or Saint-Saëns’s Oeuvres complètes de Rameau) have been the subject of thriving research, but the contribution of the Édition classique to this forum is not yet known.

This timely project (with most music now in the public domain) will investigate the edition in its first fruitful decade (c. 1915- 25), as a prism through which to reinterpret the musical past. Three temporal positions are implied: the edition’s World War I setting; the earlier period(s) of the original music; our present day. Enquiries will focus on the ‘French accent’ given to these ‘Classics’, involving interplay between musical subject and object; attitudes relating to time and place; French heritage and internationalism.

Project Team

Professor Deborah Mawer (PI) – Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Professor Barbara L. Kelly (Co-I) – Royal Northern College of Music

Professor Graham Sadler (Co-I) – Royal Birmingham Conservatoire)

Dr Rachel Moore (Research Fellow) – Royal Birmingham Conservatoire/St Peter’s College, Oxford

Jointly authored publication under contract with Boydell, EUROPE’S MUSIC THROUGH DURAND’S ÉDITION CLASSIQUE, 1915–1925, co-authored by Deborah Mawer, Barbara L. Kelly, Graham Sadler and Rachel Moore

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