Ohne Worte

Ohne Worte: Vocality and Instrumentality in 19th-Century Music

Edoardo Torbianelli
Jeanne Roudet
Jean-Pierre Bartoli
Douglas Seaton
Hubert Moßburger
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt14jxt03
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  • Book Info
    Ohne Worte
    Book Description:

    The musical thought and practice of canonical composers. What can music tell us—without words? Can it depict scenes, narrate stories, elucidate beliefs? And can it be an instrument through which we access the inner lives not only of musicians from the past but of ourselves, today? In Ohne Worte five scholars and performers probe these and related questions to illuminate both the experience and performance of nineteenth-century music. Drawing on a rich range of sources, they reveal the musical thought and practice of canonical composers like Berlioz, Mendelssohn, and Schumann. Their work challenges us to reconsider our musical practices and the voices manifested in them, and it encourages the creation of an art that is both historical and transcendental.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-161-6
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. 7-14)
    William Brooks
  4. PLAYING WITH IMAGES: CHARACTER AND EMOTIONS IN THE AGE OF ROMANTICISM
    (pp. 15-40)
    Edoardo Torbianelli

    Recent research has revealed important information concerning traditional Romantic performance practice. Through studying pedagogical sources from the period, much can be learned about pianoforte dynamics, articulation, and accentuation (particularly agogic), as well as the use (or omission) of the sustaining pedal and arpeggiation. Similar insights can be gained about vibrato or the absence thereof, portamenti, and glissandi in singing and on bowed instruments. Fortunately, Romantic performance practice is of increasing interest in professional music schools, with a focus on historical interpretation as well as on modern instrumental training.

    To seek authenticity and artistic refinement in this repertoire we should, however,...

  5. “INNER VOICES” AND “DEEP COMBINATIONS”: ROBERT SCHUMANN’S APPROACH TO ROMANTIC POLYPHONY
    (pp. 41-64)
    Hubert Moßburger

    E. T. A. Hoffmann’s famous definition of romantic music is a statement about so-called absolute music:

    [Instrumental music] is the most romantic of all arts, one might almost say the only one that is genuinely romantic, since its only subject matter is infinity. . . . Music reveals to man an unknown realm, a world quite separate from the outer sensual world surrounding him, a world in which he leaves behind all precise feelings in order to embrace an inexpressible longing. (Hoffmann 1989, 96)¹

    In contrast, vocal music cannot reach this “inexpressible longing,” because words give determinate meaning to the...

  6. FREDERIC CHOPIN, CLARA SCHUMANN, AND THE SINGING PIANO SCHOOL
    (pp. 65-108)
    Jeanne Roudet

    In the nineteenth century, treatises generally asserted that the human voice was the best possible model for instrumentalists and that their art could be appraised by the way they couldsingwith their instruments. Such statements became a cliché of music teaching, and they convey little more than a hazy meaning today. The situation was quite different in Chopin’s day, when all the models were to be found in the vocality of the time.

    Many sources highlight the affinities between Chopin and Clara Schumann. Information about Chopin is diverse and extensive; concerning Clara Wieck Schumann, a primary source is the...

  7. VOCAL PATTERNS IN THE THEMES OF BERLIOZ’S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC
    (pp. 109-146)
    Jean-Pierre Bartoli

    At the end of hisMemoirs, Berlioz wrote one of the few passages in which he spoke openly about his own musical style. It is melody that he discusses first and on which he dwells the longest:

    It should be not difficult to recognize that although I may not actually confine myself to taking a short subject for the theme of a movement, as the greatest masters often did, I am always careful to make my compositions abundantly melodic. The value of these melodies, their distinction, originality and charm, may well be contested; it is not for me to estimate...

  8. PLOT AND NARRATIVE IN MENDELSSOHN’S CHAMBER MUSIC FOR STRINGS AND PIANO
    (pp. 147-200)
    Douglass Seaton

    Two of my interests over a number of years have been Mendelssohn’s works and the application of narrative theory to nineteenth-century music. The invitation to contribute to this symposium therefore suggested a particular challenge—to apply a narratological approach to some of Mendelssohn’s compositions. In order to explore the limits of narratology as a critical method, I have chosen to examine some of the least likely prospects for such a project: selected movements from Mendelssohn’s chamber music for piano and strings. Three of these works represent the composer in the beginning of his career and stand at the early boundary...

  9. ROBERT SCHUMANN’S POETIC PARAPHRASES: ANALYTICAL IMPLICATIONS
    (pp. 201-222)
    Hubert Moßburger

    “The poetic” is the central category in Schumann’s aesthetics of music. Before we inquire into the meaning of poetic paraphrases and their importance for modern analysis, we have to consider Schumann’s concept of the poetic. This includes three aspects. First, the poetic is the shared substance of the different arts. For Schumann (1946), “the aesthetic principle is the same in every art; only the material differs” (44).¹ The same aesthetic substance can be expressed by different points of view or senses in music, in a poem, or in a picture. It follows that it must be possible to translate an...

  10. PERSONALIA
    (pp. 223-228)
  11. COLOPHON
    (pp. 229-230)