By Lauri Suurpää
Lauri Suurpää brings jointly rigorous methodologies, Greimassian semiotics and Schenkerian research, to supply a different viewpoint at the expressive energy of Franz Schubert's music cycle. concentrating on the ultimate songs, Suurpää deftly combines textual and tonal research to bare dying as a symbolic presence if now not genuine personality within the musical narrative. Suurpää demonstrates the incongruities among semantic content material and musical illustration because it surfaces through the ultimate songs. This shut examining of the iciness songs, coupled with artistic functions of conception and an intensive historical past of the poetic and musical genesis of this paintings, brings new insights to the learn of text-music relationships and the track cycle.
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Additional info for Death in Winterreise: Musico-Poetic Associations in Schubert's Song Cycle
No matter how fervently and repeatedly he [the protagonist] wishes for death later in the journey, it is denied him” (1991, 64). The ambiguous view of whether death ultimately arrives, reflected in the quotations from Barry and Rosen, is understandable, and Müller seems not to have provided unequivocal information on this matter. Youens, on the other hand, suggests that the cycle’s end does have a definable poetic closure, and she concludes that, in the end, the wanderer actually stops longing for death.
Music can support and strengthen this fictional world through its emotional quality, for example. But it cannot by itself activate this or comparable fictional worlds. Schubert’s music to these words could well accompany another poem with a similar emotional quality. Direct references to semantic content in a Lied and the thoughts arising from it (the fictional world as defined by Scruton) should be understood as based on the text alone, not on the music (with the exception of imitation, to be discussed in the next proposition).
By contrast, younger commentators understood Werther’s emotional reactions very well—his frustration and final decision. Indeed, Werther became a fashionable character among the youth. 17 In the literature of the first Romantic generation, those writers active in Jena as the eighteenth century turned into the nineteenth, death was no longer necessarily understood as an unequivocal physical event. Since language and individual words (“signifiers”) were no longer to be related to a universally understood reference (the “signified”), as we saw above, the notion of death might also have symbolic (and even rather unspecified) meaning.
Death in Winterreise: Musico-Poetic Associations in Schubert's Song Cycle by Lauri Suurpää