[Un]Knowing Brahms

Artistic experimentation and the deconstruction of canonic musical identities

Anna Scott


2008 - 2014

Practice-led attempts to wrestle with potentially destabilizing pieces of historical evidence (such as the recordings of the composer’s pupils) are rare; changing how Brahms sounds threatens our reassuring stories about what he means. I however wish to demonstrate how artistic experimentation with these most problematic pieces of historical evidence affords the emergence of a new style of Brahms performance – one that is as historically-informed as it is fundamentally ‘unBrahmsian.’  Only these authentic yet stylistically improper sounds have the power to instigate an elucidation of the gaps between pianists’ ethical intentions, performative acts and the historical ‘record’ – allowing us to finally decide how authentic any of us really wants to be.