Doctoral Colloquium (Music): Thomas Posen, PhD candidate in Music Theory



The Doctoral Colloquium is open to all.


"Hearing Beethoven’s Eroica Sketches through Reconstruction, Analysis, and Performance"

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Thomas Posen, PhD candidate in Music Theory
2020-21 Research Alive Student Prize competition finalist

Abstract: Gustav Nottebohm characterized Beethoven’s early sketches to the Eroica as “very ordinary and conventional.” But if you were Beethoven’s apartment neighbor listening to him compose the Eroica, you might have a different impression entirely. In this presentation, I reconstruct Beethoven’s first three continuity sketches of the first movement to the Eroica symphony into symphonic piano reductions by realizing the harmonies, counterpoint, and texture that the single-voice sketches imply. I then analyze the sketches with form function theory (Caplin 1998, 2013) and perform the reconstructed sketches on the piano. By reanimating the continuity sketches through reconstruction, analysis, and performance, I invite an audience into Beethoven's compositional workshop. I demonstrate that the early drafts are far from ordinary or conventional—they are aesthetically viable designs worthy of study, even if he decided on a different plan for the final piece





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