Reinterpreting Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet through Hermeneutic Windows


Nestor, Emer Patricia (2013) Reinterpreting Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet through Hermeneutic Windows. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to reinterpret Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet (1869, rev. 1870 and 1880) through a series of four hermeneutic windows. The first, ‘historical context’, presents an overview of the work’s reception since the end of the nineteenth century. In doing so, certain ambiguities in our knowledge of the composition’s protracted genesis become clear. The second, ‘understandings of programme music’, explores Tchaikovsky’s perception of the genre. Fundamental to this investigation is an assessment of the aesthetics of a select group of Russian figures central to the developing arts of the nineteenth century. I propose a correlation between their views on realism and death and Tchaikovsky’s treatment of these ideas in Romeo and Juliet. The third hermeneutic window, ‘the correspondence between Tchaikovsky and Balakirev’, serves as the foundation for my later discussions on ‘self’ and ‘otherness’. Here, a comprehensive detailing of Romeo and Juliet’s genesis from conception to completion is provided. Through this examination, insight is offered into previously unexplored aspects of the work’s composition, and the developing relationship between both composers during this period is critiqued anew. The final hermeneutic window takes the form of Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony (1885). In my comparative analysis of this orchestral titan with the fantasy-overture, a shared representation of three figures becomes apparent: 1) the persona; 2) the anima; and 3) death. This thesis concludes that Romeo and Juliet’s programme may be interpreted as a romance between the individual and death, more so than the traditionally accepted romance between Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky; Romeo and Juliet; Hermeneutic Windows;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > Music
Item ID: 4512
Depositing User: IR eTheses
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2013 10:25
URI:

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