The Indiana University Department of Music Theory is thrilled to share that Prof. Emeritus Robert S. Hatten (University of Texas, Austin) will be retuning to IU to present a lecture-recital. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Hatten’s arrival at Indiana University to begin his master’s degree in piano performance with Menahem Pressler. The lecture-recital is dedicated to his memory.
Robert S. Hatten, “The Expressive Interpretation of Texture in Bach’s Partita no. 4 in D Major, BWV 828”
Thursday, September 7, at 5:00 pm
Ford-Crawford Hall (2nd floor, Simon Music Center)
Bach published his six keyboard Partitas individually from 1726 to 1730 in Leipzig, then collectively in 1731 as his Opus 1 (and volume one of an eventual four-volume set, the Clavierübung) They present a wide-ranging synthesis of musical styles and textures, incorporating compositional strategies explored in his earlier, unpublished sets of six so-called “English” suites (after 1714, Weimar) and six “French” suites (c. 1722, Cöthen). The Partitas were sophisticated keyboard works in which Bach blended contrapuntal (learned) textures with homophonic (galant) textures to a far greater extent than ever before. And rather than consistent blends, we find a remarkable variety of textures in each movement, implying expressive motivations that far exceed the textbook assignment of a “single affect,” amounting to what one is tempted to call “developing textural variation.”
I will demonstrate how dispositions of texture in selected dances from the Partita in D Major not only cue more immediate expressive meanings but also direct longer-range expressive trajectories, with implications for more nuanced performances. Along the way, I will present new ways to theorize musical texture with respect to gesture, topics, virtual agency, and emotion. I conclude with a performance (on the piano, without repeats) of the complete Partita.
ROBERT S. HATTEN is Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Holder of the Marlene and Morton Meyerson Professorship in Music at the Butler School of Music, The University of Texas at Austin, where he taught music theory from 2011 to 2022. He served on the theory faculty at Indiana University from 1999 to 2011, and received his doctorate in music theory at Indiana in 1982. Dr. Hatten has served as President of Society for Music Theory (2017-19) and President of the Semiotic Society of America (2008). His first book, Musical Meaning in Beethoven: Markedness, Correlation, and Interpretation (1994) was co-recipient in 1997 of the Wallace Berry Award from the Society for Music Theory. His second book, Interpreting Musical Gestures, Topics, and Tropes: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert (2004) helped launch the book series “Musical Meaning and Interpretation” (Indiana University Press), for which he served as general editor until 2020, shepherding the publication of over 35 books by theorists and musicologists. His third book, A Theory of Virtual Agency for Western Art Music, appeared in the series in 2018. He is currently working on a book exploring textural innovations and their expressive roles in selected solo keyboard works of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms.