Arnold Trowell - Violoncellist, Composer and Pedagogue
Griffiths, M. (2012). Arnold Trowell - Violoncellist, Composer and Pedagogue (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5964
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5964
This thesis is the first study of Arnold Trowell, cellist, composer, conductor and teacher. It is primarily concerned with the cellist’s contribution to pedagogy and composition as informed by biographical detail. The latter begins with an initial examination of the life of his father, Thomas. Starting in the 1880s with Thomas’ arrival in Wellington, New Zealand the family background is discussed in terms of the musical climate of that city. Arnold’s creative and professional life in Great Britain and Europe provides the main body of the subsequent chapters of this study. Arnold Trowell was born in Wellington in 1887. He was an eminent and successful musician in England from 1907 until his death in 1966. Virtually forgotten since, he wrote a large number of pedagogical compositions that are still played by young cellists, as well as numerous substantial works for a variety of chamber music ensembles and symphony orchestra. After studying cello and composition in Frankfurt and Brussels from 1903, Trowell moved to England where, in 1906, he began teaching, performing and publishing. His compositions include seven concertos, three sonatas, four symphonic poems and numerous pieces for cello and piano. Trowell was Professor of Cello at the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal College of Music and a cellist who was described by Edmund van der Straeten as “in a line with the greatest virtuosos of the present time.” He gave hundreds of concerts throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland and broadcast frequently with the BBC. The thesis addresses three research questions: What was the context and nature of his career as a virtuoso cellist? Was Trowell’s main contribution to music in the pedagogical field? If so, was it primarily for composition or his teaching? Three major sections relate to Trowell’s career as performer, teacher and composer. A chronological framework is adopted for Part One: Life of Arnold Trowell that focuses on the early years of the cellist’s life. Part Two begins with a survey of the development of cello technique in the early twentieth century and ends with a detailed analysis of Trowell’s solo and accompanied cello works. Musical illustrations from Trowell’s scores and the similar works by other composers are provided. Part Three addresses the chamber and orchestral music. Appendices include a list of Trowell’s complete works, further information on contemporaneous cellists, etudes and bow techniques of the early twentieth century, a detailed and select list of Trowell’s students, as well as his writings on technique and pedagogy. A complete edition of the 24 Etudes Technology of Violoncello Book IV and a compact disc recording of works by Arnold Trowell are included. The conclusion is that Trowell’s major contribution to music was in the area of cello pedagogy, in particular, the composition of teaching etudes and miniatures.
University of Waikato
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