The Performer's Voice: Performance and Analysis in Ravel's "Concerto pour la main gauche"
Janet Schmalfeldt, in her ground-breaking article "On the Relation of Analysis to Performance" (1985, 2), challenges analysts to develop "a comprehensive critique of the value and the limitations of analysis for performance." We wish to turn this goal on its head: to explore the value and limitations of performance for analysis. What can a performer's voice contribute to the analysis of a work? We take the opening cadenza of Ravel's Concerto for the Left Hand as a case study. Certain performance considerations--technical, visual, and affective elements--comprise warp and weft not only of the Concerto's execution and interpretation, but also of its structure and meaning. In addition, we are able to speak both from personal experiences of having performed the Concerto and from insights provided by historical recordings of the work. After a brief overview of literature on performance and analysis, we explore the cadenza: visual and kinesthetic aspects, rhetorical and tonal function, form and structure, rhythmic features and performance issues. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]