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Editing, Interpreting and Performing George Frederick Pinto’s Duet in G major: A Case Study in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century English Performance Practice

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posted on 13.12.2019, 03:18 by Elizabeth Sellars
George Frederick Pinto was a brilliant violinist, pianist and composer whose early death almost certainly deprived Great Britain of one of its potentially great composer-performers. Pinto's creative genius was forged exclusively within London’s cosmopolitan environment at a time when Great Britain was a favoured destination for distinguished Continental musicians of various performance styles. Remarkably for a native-born musician, Pinto secured roles as soloist, leader and chamber musician and collaborated with visiting musicians of international standing.
   In addition to other works for voice and piano, Pinto composed nine duets for two violins and four sonatas for pianoforte with violin. As highlighted by Leonard Ratner in Classic Music-Expression, Form and Style, instrumental duets of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are a largely unknown and rich genre deserving of exploration and recognition. Pinto’s duets, as well as his sonatas for pianoforte with violin have scarcely been performed at all. A performance practice heritage has therefore not evolved for Pinto’s music in the way it has for Mozart or Beethoven for example.
   I used character informants gathered from violin treatises to identify the expressive implications of compositional components in Pinto’s Duet in G major. The duet's characters were then aligned with the harmonic and phrasal structure in three graphs which provide the basis for editing and interpretive decisions on tempo and tempo rubato, nuance and dynamics, rhythm, articulation, fingering, ornamentation and improvisation. I have investigated both editorial and interpretive performance issues with reference to modern research and eighteenth and nineteenth century violin treatises and my research decisions are based on a set of principles derived from this data.
   Using the above methodology, I have developed a new and systematic approach to the interpretation of Pinto’s violin repertoire that has also informed the development of a new, annotated edition of Pinto’s Duet in G major.


Principal supervisor

Margaret Kartomi

Additional supervisor 1

Kenji Fujimura

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Theatre, Performance and Music

Campus location



Faculty of Arts