This research project approaches the piano music of Peter Benoit through the lens of nineteenth-century storytelling. Benoit wrote most of his music for piano in the 1860s, his main works being the cycle ‘Contes et ballades’ and the ‘Symphonic poem for orchestra and piano’. This instrumental repertoire corresponds to the literary genre of the folk tale that belongs to the so-called oral tradition, and thus finds a place in the broad aftermath of the work of early folk song collectors such as Johann Gottfried von Herder.
This project explores the subtleties of storytelling in Benoit's piano repertoire, by confronting elements of the score with spoken poetry from the same time frame. What is at stake here is not the content, but the form of the text, and the directions that the text carries in terms of the spoken presentation. In relation to the score, the following key question is addressed: how is the balladesque way of storytelling in Benoit's oeuvre constructed?
Image: Library Royal Conservatoire Antwerp