Dissertation: Der Körper ´Form´ der Seele ´Poesie´ – Das strukturelle Prinzip in den Klavierliedern Franz Liszts

Der Körper ´Form´ der Seele ´Poesie´ – Das strukturelle Prinzip in den Klavierliedern Franz Liszts

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Studien zur Musikwissenschaft, volume 35

Hamburg , 310 pages

ISBN 978-3-8300-8602-4 (print) |ISBN 978-3-339-08602-0 (eBook)

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Liszt – a song composer? Yes, not only did he write glamorous piano works and symphonic poems but also more than 100 Lieder.

As specimen of the genre Lied, they are exceedingly unusual concerning their forms: operatic musical scenes stand beside unaccompanied singing and virtuoso piano music. Why?

The author examines in how far Liszt sets exactly these unconventional singular structures in order to convey his messages. Taking particular account of the primary sources, she advocates the following thesis:

The novel, individually unique forms of Liszt‘s Lieder with piano result from his understanding of the poetic task of music.

The question about the latter leads to the essential sense of music in Liszt‘s attitude – for him, music is not at all existing as an end in itself, but it is meant to serve higher, generally human purposes. ‘Poetry‘, from Liszt‘s point of view, is particularly suitable for getting closer to achieving these ethical goals. This function can only be optimally fulfilled under certain conditions, which are discussed in the first part of the book.

In the second part, the specific songs are the central objects. Of course, the expression of music cannot be fully translated into words. But collected observations can point out possible shades of meaning concerning musical devices used repeatedly. Recitatives, solo cadenzas or even stanza-like phenomena are traced back to content-related correspondences just as smaller components of rhythm, melody, harmony, or tone color. The research for this dissertation even led to a specific kind of key characteristics. This ‘vocabulary‘ is deduced and illustrated in a special chapter. Two chapters of analysis reconstruct the individual creating of musical forms: Stile-defining techniques are exemplified by one song respectively. The final analyses of three exemplarily chosen songs show how Liszt structures them with the help of the explained techniques, that is to say how he makes the ‘forms‘ of his Lieder arise as manifestations of their ‘poetry‘.

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