Structuralist performance, regarded by theorists, psychologists, and aestheticians as a general paradigm of how performance should be, is in reality a historical style. How then might we approach the early twentieth-century performance style that the chapter calls rhetorical? Focusing on issues of topic and genre, the chapter outlines a quite different way in which performances signify, and the chapter explores it by comparing early twentieth-century approaches to the performance of Mozart’s sonatas, in particular Carl Reinecke’s, with those of present-day fortepianists. As well as laying the foundations for a semiotic approach to performance, this extends the argument of the previous chapter by situating Schenker within an intellectual world based on premises and values quite different from those of post-war modernism. Fundamental to this difference, the chapter argues, are contrasted understandings of musical time.
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