In Pursuit of a Single Flame? On Schubert’s Settings of Goethe’s Poems


Byrne Bodley, Lorraine (2016) In Pursuit of a Single Flame? On Schubert’s Settings of Goethe’s Poems. Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 13 (1). pp. 11-33. ISSN 1479-4098

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Abstract

Much musicological and historicist criticism has tended to ‘flatten’ Goethe by confining him to the thought-clichés of his time, and this in turn has led to an implicitly patronizing view of him as musically conservative. This article will show how Goethe proves again and again to be more musically intelligent and perceptive than scholars have given him credit for. Certain musicological questions engross the poet throughout his life: the nature of major and minor tonalities; musical identity throughout the ages; music and text; the rhetoric of attentive listening; musical language and its capacity to occlude and exclude. Yet Goethe’s thought, this article demonstrates, is anything but static; his writings keep returning to, modifying and complicating his musical preoccupations. This article challenges the salient misconception that Goethe’s lack of musical judgement divorced him from the development of the nineteenth-century Lied and that Schubert’s settings ran counter to the poet’s intent. Two new readings of ‘Wandrers Nachtlied’ and ‘Erster Verlust’ show how Schubert is listening to the poetry and the upshot is not a song that reflects the poem but one that reflects on it.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Schubert; Goethe’s Poems;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > Music
Item ID: 7463
Identification Number: 10.1017/S147940981500049X
Depositing User: Dr. Lorraine Byrne Bodley
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2016 10:34
Journal or Publication Title: Nineteenth-Century Music Review
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
URI:

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