A Turbulent Accelerando into the Stretto

Martha Argerich Plays Chopin’s Prelude op. 28/4 in E minor

Olivier Senn, Lorenz Kilchenmann, Marc-Antoine Camp
Just over twenty years ago, Eric F. Todd and Neil Clarke suggested that performers of Western art music use expressive devices in order to clarify their own perspective of the structure of a composition. Performance analysis can study the characteristics of a performance in order to discover those structural features of the composition which are highlighted in the interpretation – an analytical approach that can be called “inverse interpretation”. This article presents an inverse interpretation of Martha Argerich’s expressive timing during bars 13-16 of Chopin’s Prelude op. 28/4 in E minor on her 1975 Deutsche Grammophon studio recording. The authors focus on a few seconds of music in order to analyze them in detail, and they demonstrate that Argerich shapes her accelerando in bars 13-16 in response to certain structural features of Chopin’s composition.

by moxi