Lighting the Shadows of the Canon: A Modern and Contextual Reexamination of Victor Herbert’s Cello Concerto No. 2 Op. 30
In this dissertation, I explore the unique musical interests of Victor Herbert’s Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 30 (1894) with the intent to promote the piece from its ‘fringe’ repertory status. The research presented synthesizes historical information, traditional analysis, and material surveys with a physical exploration from the solo cellist’s point of view to show effective methods for maximizing drama without sacrificing clarity, promoting a singing, vocal quality of the solo cello, and creating a unique duality of tone combining romantic gravitas with the lightheartedness of operetta. In addition, I track the concerto’s reception and repertory status from its premiere in 1894 to 2021 using a survey of existing reviews, articles, public discourse, and recordings. This research aims to encourage more concert programming of the Op. 30, and in the process, makes the argument that canonization and the related false dichotomy between ‘light’ and ‘serious’ music styles have been detrimental forces in the consolidation of the cello concerto repertoire.