Deux Airs for flute solo

A musical reading of Fernando Lopes- Graça through Theodor W. Adorno’s philosophy of music

  • Margarida Alexandra Teixeira Neves
Keywords: Musical performance, Dialectical musical interpretation, Musical Text


This paper presents a brief investigation that articulates the study and practice for the musical performance of Deux Airs, a piece for solo flute by the Portuguese composer Fernando Lopes-Graça, with the philosophical perspective on musical interpretation of the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno. The guiding line of this study was the question “How to better render the musical text in performance?”, a particularly relevant question when the issue is the performance of music from the 20th century onwards. Thinking about the performance of this “new” music, presented here in a case study of this 1976 composition by Fernando Lopes-Graça, is not only significant because of its existence in the shadow of the canonical pre-20th century repertoire, but also because its eclectic nature distances us, as performers and as listeners, from an immediate or intuitive understanding. Adorno’s proposal of a dialectical musical interpretation assisted the musical practice of the score, promoting the discussion and surpassing of interpretation conundrums, obstacles or indecisions that arise within that practice. Confronting the study of Lopes-Graça’s Deux Airs with Adorno’s perspective had a significant impact on the sonorous realization of the piece, lending its performance a critical standpoint and escorting the search for musical sense in the score.


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