Observing and establishing a performance practice for George Enescu’s mature piano works

Alexandra Vaduva

Enescu’s musical scores have been characterised by Pascal Bentoiu as ‘wondrous jungles’. This thesis explores the challenges encountered in navigating these jungles, aiming to communicate and document aspects of the observation and discovery of a performance practice appropriate for Enescu’s published piano works with an opus number (the ‘mature piano works’).

The centre of this project is a recording portfolio which embodies the outcome of the investigations. Critically, each item was recorded in a single take to capture the relationships between all aspects of an individual journey through the pieces. The accompanying documentation comprises five case studies which include self-experiments with specific layers of information on the scores, as well as an exploration of the discography, which provided vital ‘literature’ for the research. Part One of the thesis establishes the key perspectives in play and sets up the portfolio. Part Two contains the case studies, which explore challenges that appeared during the preparation of the portfolio.

The research aims to help facilitate the learning process for pianists who feel hindered in approaching these pieces because of their notational intricacy, with the aim of encouraging a wider appreciation and more frequent performance of this repertoire outside Romania.

The Royal Academy of Music represented the best environment for me to work on my thesis, due to my history with this institution (as I had completed here my Bachelor of Music, Master of Arts, and Advanced Diploma courses) as well as the invaluable advice which I received from my tutors Neil Heyde and Sarah Callis, my former piano professor, Diana Ketler, and lastly, the regular seminars which provided me with constant inspiration on how to best approach this type of work.


If you would like to find out more about this project, please don't hesitate to get in touch:

Alexandra Vaduva

Neil Heyde (Supervisor)