Ms Frankie Perry

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Personal profile

My PhD looks at recent arrangements and reimaginings of nineteenth-century lieder (a working abstract is below). Broader research interests include the study of musical transcription and arrangement; nineteenth- and twentieth-century engagements with unfinished music; and the scholarly, performed, and composed reception histories of nineteenth-century music.

In 2016 I co-founded a research network on musical transcription, arrangement, and related practices ('TAROT': see, which hosts a monthly reading group in London. So far we have held an international conference at Cambridge in 2018 ('Rethinking Musical Transcription and Arrangement'), and have convened panel sessions at ICMSN/SurreyMAC 2017, the RMA annual conference 2018, and the RMA's Music and Philosophy Study Group conference 2019. We tweet at @TAROT_music.

In 2018 I spent 6 months on an AHRC/TECHNE-funded research placement at the British Library's music department, where I worked on the collections of Harrison Birtwistle, Cornelius Cardew, and Elisabeth Lutyens.

Working thesis abstract:

In October 2017, a Mahler enthusiast in the London area could hear two different chamber arrangements of Das Lied von der Erde performed by different leading ensembles on consecutive nights. That December, one Saturday spent experiencing a seven-hour endurance art installation based on Schubert’s ‘An die Musik’ could be followed the next Saturday by a visit to a residential street in Spitalfields, where the eponymous festival had dispersed specially-commissioned reimaginings of the sixteen songs of Schumann’s Dichterliebe across sixteen rooms in Huguenot houses. New arrangements, reimaginings, editions, and stagings of romantic song are, it seems, everywhere; this thesis seeks to contextualise, explore, and analyse dimensions of this complex and wide-reaching contemporary phenomenon, addressing equally its implications for the reception history of nineteenth-century lieder, and its position within contemporary musical production.

I do not attempt to survey the considerable relevant repertoire in its entirety; instead, following a contextualising introduction, the four main chapters address historical and theoretical issues arising from different broad approaches taken in recent reimaginations of nineteenth-century songs. This forges a loose trajectory of type, beginning with orchestrations generally perceived to be the most ‘conservative’ of arrangement practices – those that attempt to create ‘faithful’ orchestral versions of voice-piano songs in an ‘authentic’ nineteenth-century idiom; moving through ‘framed orchestrations’ and ‘composed interpretations’, which subject pre-existing lieder to distinctly contemporary compositional processes; and ending with arrangements and adaptations ‘beyond the composer-arranger’ – versions created by and for classical/crossover ensembles or commissioned by festivals. Along the way, I address ideas of ‘historically informed’ arrangement; the counterfactual-historical and -fictional narrative modes and strategies found in many composed re-tellings of the musical past; the complications posed by arrangements and reimaginings to ideas of authorship and the musical work, and to conventional ways of analysing music; and the canon-affirming, market-aware sensibilities that underscores the contemporary desire to reimagine and rehear nineteenth-century music.

Educational background

2015-2016: M.St. Musicology, St Catherine's College, University of Oxford.

2012-2015: BA (Hons), St Anne's College, University of Oxford.


External teaching: in 2020-21 I am a visiting lecturer at Middlesex University, and visiting tutor for St Anne's, St Hilda's, and Oriel Colleges, Oxford.

At Royal Holloway, I have been a PGTA for the following courses:

Studies in Music History (2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21)

Introduction to Historical Musicology (2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21)

Very Short History of Music (2019-20)

Contemporary Debates in Music Studies (2017-18)

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