Musical Symbolism in the Operas of Debussy and Barti'Ak: Trauma, Gender, and the Unfolding of the Unconscious

Musical Symbolism in the Operas of Debussy and Barti'Ak: Trauma, Gender, and the Unfolding of the Unconscious

by Elliott Antokoletz, Juana Canabal Antokoletz
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195103831

ISBN-13: 9780195103830

Pub. Date: 07/22/2004

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Two early twentieth-century operas — Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande (1902) and Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle (1911) — transformed the traditional major/minor scale system into a new musical language. This new language was based almost exclusively on interactions between folk modalities and their more abstract symmetrical transformations. Elliott

…  See more details below

Overview

Two early twentieth-century operas — Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande (1902) and Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle (1911) — transformed the traditional major/minor scale system into a new musical language. This new language was based almost exclusively on interactions between folk modalities and their more abstract symmetrical transformations. Elliott Antokoletz reveals not only the new musical language of these operas, but also the way in which they share a profound correspondence with the growing symbolist literary movement as reflected in their libretti. In the symbolist literary movement, authors reacted to the realism of nineteenth-century theatre by conveying meaning by suggestion, rather than direct statement. The symbolist conception included a new interest in psychological motivation and consciousness manifested itself in metaphor, ambiguity, and symbol.

In this groundbreaking study, Antokoletz links the new musical language of these two operas with this symbolist conception and reveals a direct connection between the Debussy and Bartok operas. He shows how the opposing harmonic extremes serve as a basis for the dramatic polarity between real-life beings and symbols of fate. He also explores how the libretti by Franco-Belgian poet Maurice Maeterlinck (Pelleas et Melisande) and his Hungarian disciple Bela Balazs (Duke Bluebeard's Castle) transform the internal concept of subconscious motivation into an external one, one in which fate controls human emotions and actions.

Using a pioneering approach to theoretical analysis, Antokoletz, explores the new musico-dramatic relations within their larger historical, social psychological, philosophical, and aesthetic contexts.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195103830
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
07/22/2004
Pages:
360
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

1Backgrounds and development : the new musical language and its correspondence with psycho-dramatic principles of symbolist opera3
2The new musical language14
3Trauma, gender, and the unfolding of the unconscious30
4Pelleas et Melisande : polarity of characterizations : human beings as real-life individuals and instruments of fate55
5Pelleas et Melisande : fate and the unconscious : transformational function of the dominant ninth chord; symbolism of sonority84
6Pelleas et Melisande : musico-dramatic turning point : intervallic expansion as symbol of dramatic tension and change of mood117
7Pelleas et Melisande : Melisande as Christ symbol - life, death, and resurrection - and motivic reinterpretations of the whole-tone dyad147
8Pelleas et Melisande : circuity of fate and resolution of Melisande's dissonant pentatonic - whole-tone conflict173
9Duke Bluebeard's castle : psychological motivation : symbolic interaction of diatonic, whole-tone, and chromatic extremes182
10Duke Bluebeard's castle : toward character reversal : reassignment of pentatonic and whole-tone spheres207
11Duke Bluebeard's castle : the Nietzschean condition and polarity of characterizations : diatonic-chromatic extremes234
12Duke Bluebeard's castle : final transformation and retreat into eternal darkness : synthesis of pentatonic/diatonic and whole-tone spheres248
13Symbolism and expressionism in other early twentieth-century operas262

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >