Instructive editions of J. S. Bach’s “Wohltemperirtes Klavier”: an Italian perspective

Bertoglio, Chiara (2012). Instructive editions of J. S. Bach’s “Wohltemperirtes Klavier”: an Italian perspective. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis defines the theoretical, sociological, historical, cultural and practical framework of “instructive editions” (IEs). The approach adopted evaluates, for the first time, the most significant discussions found in previous literature, realising a comprehensive overview of the issues involved. The principles expounded in the theoretical chapters are
verified in practice through application to the specific case of Bach’s WTK and its role in Italy: here, in particular, the thesis dissects the “myth” of Thalberg’s edition and introduces a hitherto overlooked edition by Lanza. Careful comparison of a sample of Italian IEs identifies “genealogies” in performance traditions and their correspondence with the aesthetic trends of their era: the presence of an “Italian” attitude to Bach’s WTK, inspired by prevailing neo-Idealistic values, is shown in the coexistence of a sentimentalist approach with the fascination for structural objectivism. It is demonstrated that musicological studies in aesthetics, performance practice and the history of reception benefit from the analysis of IEs, and from their comparison with other written and recorded documents of performance: IEs are a vehicle for both preserving and transmitting interpretive aesthetics.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Music
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music


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