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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Serving two masters : Hummel's arrangements of Mozart's Piano Concerto in C major, K. 503 (ca. 1828) Setiawan, Irene Margarete


Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837), once a pupil of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), made seven arrangements of Mozart’s Piano Concertos. Most studies of Hummel’s arrangements of Mozart’s Piano Concertos have focused on their reception history and Mozart’s performance practice. However, few have studied Hummel’s approach to piano arrangement, particularly his arrangement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C major, K. 503 (ca. 1828). To better understand Hummel’s approach to arrangement, I borrow concepts from translation theories. In this thesis, I adopt the concept “to serve two masters” from philosopher Franz Rosenzweig’s theory of translation. Similar to a translator who serves two masters (i.e., the original author and readers in the target language), an arranger who serves two masters pays equal attention to the composer of the original and the target audience of the arrangement. Using K. 503 as a case study, I investigate in this thesis how Hummel mediated between Mozart and the early nineteenth-century audience. I discover that Hummel added ornamentation to select themes and reinforced select closing passages. While he made the original more virtuosic in his arrangement, his ornamentation and modifications stay close to Mozart’s original thematic materials. As he used these techniques to satisfy the nineteenth-century audience’s need for piano virtuosity while adhering closely to Mozart’s intent, I argue that he served two masters. The implication of this thesis is that performers can take Hummel’s arrangement as a model that seeks not only to serve the composer but also to serve the target audience.

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