Book Launch & Masterclass: Joe Davies and UCI Piano Students

  • Gothic

In this launch and masterclass Joe Davies, author of The Gothic Imagination in the Music of Franz Schubert, will work with UCI pianists Isabella Cao and Kathryn Lau on Schubert’s late piano works. Performances will be interspersed with readings from the book – in the spirit of opening up new ways of performing, thinking about, and listening to Schubert’s music and the wider gothic imagination. This event is free and open to the public.


About the book 


This book illuminates Franz Schubert’s engagement with gothic discourse at the intersection of music, literature, and the visual arts. Ideas of the gothic provide a framework for contextualizing the myriad ways in which Schubert’s music evokes the blurring of past and present, life and death, and for situating strangeness in relation to a cross-disciplinary phenomenon that captivated the imagination of the time. The study traces the gothic from Schubert’s early songs, where its presence is well established, to the instrumental music of his final years. These dialogues speak to shifting associations across chronological boundaries; their traces undergo change, returning in altered contexts – from fleeting disturbances, a rhythmic shudder or a tremolo figuration, to prolonged outbursts and disjuncture. The gothic is at times linked explicitly to death, as in Schubert’s graveyard settings, and at other times implied through doubles and distortion, nocturnal imagery, or hybridity and metamorphosis. The Gothic Imagination in the Music of Franz Schubert offers fresh interpretations, grounded in close reading of musical and poetic material, that move beyond the ghostly and macabre towards a world wherein death, the sublime, and grotesquerie are intricately entwined. The book therefore provides for a major new contribution to understanding Schubert’s creative approach and the gothic imagination more generally.


About the author 


JOE DAVIES is Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow at the University of California, Irvine and Maynooth University, Ireland. His work is driven by a deep fascination with ideas of death, loss, and remembrance in music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is author of The Gothic Imagination in the Music of Franz Schubert (2024); editor of Clara Schumann Studies (2021), the first in the Cambridge Composer Studies series to be devoted to a woman; co-editor with James Sobaskie of Drama in the Music of Franz Schubert (2019); and guest-editor with Nicole Grimes of the special issue ‘Clara Schumann: Changing Identities and Legacies’ (2023). He is currently writing about music and widowhood, co-editing Clara and Robert Schumann in Context with Roe-Min Kok, and co-leading collaborative projects with Natasha Loges on the global history of women pianists.

April 12, 2024 - 1:00pm