Clara Wieck-Schumann's Piano Concerto Op.7: An historical network

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I have spent the last three weeks researching Clara Wieck-Schumann's Piano Concerto (1835) and I thought I would reflect on my time doing so. I have certainly changed my research proposal since I started, mainly because my whole approach to this piece of research has changed; I am now considering Clara Wieck-Schumann's Piano Concerto at the centre of an historical network, rather than trying to compare it to only a select few works. This decentres the notion of 'the canon' and instead take a more nuanced look at how this specific work has been influenced by Wieck-Schumann's career as a pianist, her relationship to other composers and musicians, and her musical upbringing. I will also posit the notion that there is a small sub-genre of piano concerti which follow in the tradition of concerti conceived by Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870), John Field (1782-1837), Frederic Chopin (1810-49) and Clara Wieck-Schumann. 

My research thus far has resulted in my completely changing my approach to this project which has actually allowed me to germinate new thoughts and create an approach founded on current research. I will be deconstructing the notion of the canon by looking at this piece in its context using Julian Horton's theory as a basis. This theory is to look at a work not as a purely analytical project but to understand where it comes from and what has influenced it. I will also be using the work of Benedict Taylor, Claudia Macdonald and my own thoughts on informed performance history to combat the problems created by the biography by Nancy B. Reich, the recent thoughts on 19th-century concerto form by Stefan Lindemann and the much problematised work of Hepokoski and Darcy, particularly their concept of Deformations.

I feel that I am now in a good position to start writing and working towards my end goal of an article. I hope to have this finished before October so I can refocus back on my undergraduate degree and academic advancement.

Benjamin Alexander Southwick (he/they)

Student, Durham University

I'm an undergraduate student at Durham University, UK reading Music at Stephenson College. I have a research interest in those who are underrepresented in music, mainly focussing on women and LGBTQ+ people. I am currently working on decolonising the music curriculum at Durham University alongside my undergraduate degree.