Lorenda Ramou

Analytical Insights into the Performance of Nikos Skalkottas’s Piano Works (Lecture Recital)

Nikos Skalkottas’s piano works constitute an important, but largely unknown, corpus in twentieth-century piano literature. Contemporary performers face several challenges when approaching this repertoire, not least the complete lack of information concerning its interpretation from pianists who collaborated with the composer. Consequently, they can rely only on their personal research in order to comprehend and reveal the specificities of Skalkottas’s piano style. This lecture explores two complementary but equally necessary approaches. The first concerns the use of graphic analysis as a performance oriented tool, investigating the relation between Skalkottas’s 15 Little Variations and Suite No. 3 with Beethoven’s 32 Variations in c minor and Sonata Op. 26, which will be discussed here for the first time.
The second is an investigation into the aesthetics of interpretation that prevailed in the inter-war Berlin. Skalkottas’s remarks, which function as an introduction to his cycle of 32 Piano Pieces, will be compared with texts by pianists of his time, and related to the Schoenbergian circle, particularly Eduard Steuermann. Reveal the relations between Skalkottas’s piano music and the music of other composers, while being aware of the aesthetics of piano performance of his time, can provide a framework towards the  research and interpretation of this repertoire. The lecture will be followed by a recital, including the 15 Little Variations, the Suite No. 3 and the Kurze Variationen auf ein Bergstema.

Piano recital:
Nikos Skalkottas
- 15 Little Variations (1927)
- Suite no. 3 [Minuetto, Trio, Thema con Variazioni, Marcia Funebra, Finale] (1941)
- Kurze Variationen auf ein Bergsthema (1940)