Archive for March, 2010

performance versus research

March 9, 2010

The nice thing about a funded research project at a new university is the possibility of an exchange of experience with a whole new set of colleagues. So I am, for instance, learning that it is not everyone’s cup of tea to write blog posts about one’s research. I see the point, up to a certain level. There is surely no need to publish snippets of one’s first efforts, and only little need to communicate one’s mid-project struggles in any detailed way. At the moment, still in the middle of a mixed collecting and text-accumulating phase (and side-tracked, I admit, by some specialties of modern British life, such as recurring incorrect energy bills), I feel that it is not helpful for anyone if I publicize what I haven’t yet properly thought out. Otherwise, I find it totally excusable, even commendable, to blog about snippets, gems, side-thoughts or meta-musings that would otherwise find no real place in one’s work.

Whether to admit that good research takes time (as I did above) is something that should be withheld from the critical eyes of potential search committees (and hence not be blogged about), as people try telling me, is another matter. I am writing blog posts in order to demonstrate how my particular branch of the trade works for me. This can only be a good thing for the community. I would have liked to have access to similar resources when I was studying. One all-too-often thinks that the problems one encounters are exclusively one’s own. They’re not. (more…)


news from the shrieking shack

March 8, 2010

The reference to Harry Potter’s shrieking shack is, of course, not serious or deep. What I hear from my downstairs neighbors may occasionally be called shrieking, but my temporary flat is otherwise no shack. It actually has a lovely view over Southampton, and in the weekends, I sometimes can see historic steam trains puffing along the river Itchen.

News, then. The most important one – about time I learn honking my own horn – is the looming publication of the book Beethoven the Pianist at Cambridge University Press. Various websites announce its release for 31 May 2010. The official description is here.

Beethoven the Pianist is a completely re-worked and updated version of my PhD thesis about Beethoven’s playing, our views (as well as his own) about his instruments, and finally, about legato notation and trill interpretation. Although I am writing from the perspective of an early-piano-person, this is no work in defense of one or another type of instrument. I’m trying to be neutral and informative; I concentrate on the biography and the sources, on Beethoven’s works (including the very early ones) and sketches, and a selection of previous discussions about the chosen topics.

Compared to the original text, all the lengthy German citations in the footnotes are gone, while the translations got another critical makeover. I took away a lot of side thoughts that upset the flow of argument. I also eliminated a number of typos, and was shown by my amazing proofreader that there was another ton of them. The end product is leaner and, I believe, more readable than my first effort.

For me, it was a Must-Read, needless to say.