AHRC 19th- early 20th-century String Chamber Music Project 2008-2012



CONFERENCE June 23-24, 2010, Cardiff University:

'Music for Stringed Instruments: Music Archives and the Materials of Musicological Research in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries'

This conference was extremely stimulating, with a strong international presence - delegates came from New Zealand, Australia, Germany and the USA as well as from Britain. Updated abstracts and photos will be posted here soon, so you can see the range of current researches in this field.

Brief summary:

The conference attracted speakers from the UK, New Zealand, Australia, the USA and Germany, who gave papers on an impressively wide range of topics using an equally wide range of methodologies. The call for papers resulted in a full programme (14 papers plus a performance), and since we were able to avoid having parallel sessions it meant that most people heard every paper and found much to stimulate their own research. Several students also attended, and we were fortunate to have the support of the Music & Letters Trust to assist with their costs.

A group of speakers from the Royal Academy of Music contributed fascinating presentations focussing on the interaction between performer and printed score, with reference to Fauré’s approach to writing for string instruments (Neil Hyde), Skalkottas’s background as a violinist and its influence on his compositional technique  (George Zacharias), W. H. Squire’s use of portamento (Oliver Gledhill), and a recreation of Joachim’s performance style on his own ‘long pattern’ Strad (Peter Sheppard Skaerved).

Among the more diverse topics discussed were Russian avant-garde viola compositions by Roslavets and Vasilenko from the 1920s (Elena Artomonova, Goldsmiths), and editions and performance practice relating to the César Franck violin sonata with special reference to Ysaye (Dr. Ilias Devetzoglou, Leeds). Both of these papers included extremely impressive demonstration by the speakers in their own recorded performances. Prof. Nancy November (Auckland) discussed the evidence of early recordings of Beethoven quartets and showed that on the whole recorded performances are not tending towards the uniform and the homogeneous, as is often asserted. Bonnie Jane Smart (Melbourne) gave a delightful paper on the great 19th-century English cellist Robert Lindley, a particularly thoroughly researched paper delivered with charm and humour.

A significant number of papers concentrated on aspects of German editions in the 19th century: Prof. Clive Brown (Leeds) spoke with infectious enthusiasm about a recently discovered collection of music bearing substantial handwritten annotations by Ferdinand David; Dr. David Milsom (Huddersfield) showed how aspects of Joachim’s performance practice could be inferred from  editions prepared by his pupils Schnirlin and Auer, and illustrated his talk with excellent demonstrations; Dr. George Kennaway (Leeds) compared four quite different 19th-century editions of Mendelssohn’s cello sonatas; Peter Collyer illuminated the concept of a ‘Leipzig school’ of publishing and editing, the subject of his PhD research at Leeds, with reference to the violist Friedrich Hermann. Prof. Robin Stowell (Cardiff) gave a fascinating demonstration of what can be gleaned from a comparative study of David’s edition of Mozart’s violin sonatas, which stimulated lively discussion about the interpretation of earlier sources for these works;  Marie Sumner Lott (Pennsylvania state) shared her recent researches in German publishers’ archives, which cast an entirely new light on what amateur musicians actually played through the 19th century, and suggested many possible avenues for future research into the mechanics of music publishing. Prof. Robert Pascall (Nottingham) gave the conference keynote lecture on aspects of Brahms editing – a remarkable presentation which drew on his unrivalled experience in this field and his close association with the Neue Brahms Ausgabe, and characterised equally by his modesty and enthusiasm.

The LUCHIP (Leeds University Centre for Historically Informed Performance) quartet (Clive Brown, David Milsom, Duncan Druce and George Kennaway), now renamed the FERDINAND DAVID QUARTET, performed Brahms’s quartet op. 51 no 1 in the classic German style which prompted much interested discussion of issues such as the use of portamento.
The conference dinner, organised by Robin Stowell was also a great success, and indeed the entire event was extremely well organised by him and his very able team of assistants.


We are pleased to announce the recent discovery of a substantial quantity of music from Ferdinand David's own collection. This was found by Prof. Clive Brown at Uppingham School, where Ferdinand's son Paul taught in the later 19th century. Among many interesting finds, this collection - which has been most generously lent to us by the school - contains a fully marked-up set of parts for Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 4, with David's markings in several different colours, a fully annotated copy of Beethoven's Romance in G op 40, and a set of parts for quartets by Cherubini which bear detailed markings and the indication of substantial cuts in one movement. This material can be viewed in the research area of the website; a sample page can be viewed here. This is from the 2nd solo flute part of Brandenburg 4 (Dehn's edition c. 1850), which shows that David intended it to be played on the violin. The 1st solo flute part is missing, but the annotations on the other parts (including ripieni) are so detailed that this can easily be reconstructed.



It transpires that C. F. Peters published 2 engravings of Beethoven's violin sonatas edited by David in the 1860s, with plate numbers very close together (4899 and 4926) but with German and French title pages respectively. Plate 4899 appears to have been the copy-text for a later reissue (plate 6531), but plate 4926 contains many annotations not found in 4899 and which did not make it into the later re-engravings (it also leaves out a few annotations from 4899). This shows that one can never assume that there is a direct line of textual transmission where frequent re-engravings are concerned.

Recent review:

Prof. Clive Brown's review of several recordings of 19th-century chamber music has appeared in Early Music, vol 38 issue 3, pp. 476-480.



The project’s outcomes will also be disseminated through workshops and lecture-recitals. In 20009-2010, the LUCHIP ensemble performed at these venues: email us for more information.
Please note that from now on the LUCHIP ensemble has been renamed the
Ferdinand David Quartet.

In 2009, we performed at the universities of Bristol, Bangor, Cardiff, Manchester and Leeds.

In 2010-2011, we will be performing as follows:

  • 30 September 2010: University of Huddersfield (lunchtime): Brahms, Mendelssohn
  • 8 October 2010: University of Hull (lunchtime): Brahms, Cherubini
  • 27 November 2010: Institute of Musical Research, University of London: Eberl
  • 14 January 2011: University of Leeds (lunchtime): Schumann
  • 10 February 2011: University of Huddersfield: Schumann
  • 10 March 2011: University of Newcastle upon Tyne: Mendelssohn


From time to time we try to find particular editions and draw a blank. Currently we are looking for:

  • the edition of Beethoven's violin sonatas edited by Jacob Dont (Wiener-Neustadt: Edouard Wedl, 1883). This is not the same thing as Dont's arrangement of some of Beethoven's quartets for violin and piano. As well as being listed in Hofmeister, it is also mentioned by J. Matthews, The Violin Music of Beethoven (London: The Strad Office, 1902), p. 44, where he says that violin part can be bought separately from the piano part. The Hofmeister entry makes it clear that the violin parts for each sonata were published separately, without piano. This may partly explain the difficulty in finding them now.

So far no major library appears to have this, so if you know of one, or can suggest a promising source, please contact us. Many thanks.