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Words and Notes in the Long Nineteenth Century

Words and Notes in the Long Nineteenth Century

Phyllis Weliver
Katharine Ellis
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 268
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  • Book Info
    Words and Notes in the Long Nineteenth Century
    Book Description:

    Words and Notes encourages a new wave of scholarship inspired by the ways writers and musicians of the long nineteenth century themselves approached the relationship between music and words. Contributors to the volume engage in two dialogues: with nineteenth-century conceptions of word-music relations, and with each other. Criss-crossing disciplinary boundaries, the authors of the book's eleven essays address new questions relating to listening, imagining and performing music, the act of critique, and music's links with philosophy and aesthetics. The many points of intersection are elucidated in an editorial introduction and via a reflective afterword. Fiction and poetry, musicography, philosophy, music theory, science and music analysis all feature, as do traditions within English, French and German studies. Wide-ranging material foregrounds musical memory, soundscape and evocation; performer dilemmas over the words in Satie's piano music; the musicality of fictional and non-fictional prose; text-setting and the rights of poet vs. composer; the rich novelistic and critical testimony of audience inattention at the opera; German philosophy's potential contribution to musical listening; and Hoffmann's send-ups of the serious music-lover. Throughout, music - its composition, performance and consumption - emerges as a profoundly physical and social force, even when it is presented as the opposite. PHYLLIS WELIVER is Associate Professor of English, Saint Louis University. KATHARINE ELLIS is Stanley Hugh Badock Professor of Music at the University of Bristol

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-137-5
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Lists of Figures and Music Examples
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. INTRODUCTION Approaches to Word–Music Studies of the Long Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 1-20)
    Phyllis Weliver and Katharine Ellis

    In Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (1860–61), the narrator tells us in the first paragraph that Philip Pirrip’s baby lips ran together the sounds of his given and last names into Pip: ‘So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.’¹ The onomatopoeia of the name aptly characterizes his sense of self as a small, piping presence in a large, often hostile world. As a young adult, however, Pip receives a name decidedly more advanced in acoustic associations as well as sounding more grown up. ‘We are so harmonious, and you have been a blacksmith – would you...

  7. CHAPTER 1 Losing Sense, Making Music: What Erik Satie’s Music and Poetry do for Each Other
    (pp. 21-34)
    Peter Dayan

    The latter half of the long nineteenth century was the golden age of the idea of absolute music; which is, to put it at its simplest, the notion that music can have a kind of meaning that is inaccessible to words, that cannot be translated into any other medium, or indeed translated at all. Innumerable composers and poets of the period (and of the subsequent two or three decades), including a disproportionate number of those who remain the most famous, expressed, in words of course, solidarity with this idea.¹ However, all of them, as far as I know, also acknowledged...

  8. CHAPTER 2 Not Listening in Paris: Critical and Fictional Lapses of Attention at the Opera
    (pp. 35-54)
    Cormac Newark

    When James Johnson’s Listening in Paris was first published in 1995, it got people talking. Its emphasis on how audiences consumed music rather than on how that music was produced – as in more traditional studies of composers or performers – then appeared refreshingly new. Its straightforward research question ‘Why did French audiences become silent?’ sounded bold. And its interdisciplinary provenance (written by a professor of History rather than Music) was even faintly controversial: Johnson seemed to be claiming that his reception methodology would avoid the indulgently subjective readings of those who had been doing the job up until then.¹...

  9. CHAPTER 3 New Expectations: How to Listen to Sonata Form, 1800–1860
    (pp. 55-72)
    Jon-Tomas Godin

    Music scholarship, whether historical or analytical, has tended to neglect sonata-form compositions after the deaths of Beethoven and Schubert in 1827 and 1828, respectively, particularly with regard to single-instrument compositions. A conventional, if perfunctory, definition – and one whose validity in the later nineteenth century this essay reappraises – typecasts sonata form as a musical structure in which two (or more) themes in contrasting keys are presented and developed, before being restated in the same key to bring closure to the movement. It is the formal design used in a majority of the first movements of solo sonatas, string quartets,...

  10. CHAPTER 4 The Science of Musical Memory: Vernon Lee and the Remembrance of Sounds Past
    (pp. 73-84)
    Shafquat Towheed

    An accomplished interdisciplinary writer, Vernon Lee (pseud. Violet Paget) was one of the most innovative pan-European thinkers of her age. Writing before Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, and intellectually influencing them both, Lee often drew upon ideas, metaphors, phrases and terminology from musical performance, practice and reception. From her first published writing on music, Lee yoked together words and notes, music and literature, and score and libretto. Impressionistic responses to musical performance and the remembrance of specific songs, arias, melodies, chords or musical phrases are ubiquitous in Lee’s short fiction, essays and travel writing; she also systematically analysed the experience...

  11. CHAPTER 5 Musical Listening in The Mysteries of Udolpho
    (pp. 85-102)
    Noelle Chao

    Ann Radcliffe rose to prominence during the 1790s, when a string of bestsellers established her as England’s most commercially successful writer and as the chief practitioner of the Gothic style. While stock elements such as mouldering castles, rapacious villains and mangled corpses are liberally scattered throughout her works, her demystification of other-worldly elements – known as the ‘explained supernatural’¹ – and her penchant for creating stunning, phantasmagoric spectacles are typically thought of today as the most notable features of her Gothic signature. However, there is one hallmark of Radcliffe’s Gothic that has managed to escape notice: her attention to sound...

  12. CHAPTER 6 Katherine Mansfield and Nineteenth-Century Musicality
    (pp. 103-118)
    Delia da Sousa Correa

    Katherine Mansfield, like Vernon Lee and Virginia Woolf, belongs to the long nineteenth century. We are not as accustomed to thinking of her in this way, for Mansfield took with her to England from her New Zealand homeland on the far side of the globe a style that was ‘already modern’ in its linguistic informality and experimental use of stream of consciousness techniques.¹ She is one of many examples of how literary Modernism was shaped by the pioneering work of writers from beyond Europe. Nevertheless, while Mansfield was less constrained by tradition and convention than some of her contemporaries when...

  13. CHAPTER 7 E.T.A. Hoffmann beyond the ‘Paradigm Shift’: Music and Irony in the Novellas 1815–1819
    (pp. 119-144)
    Matthew Riley

    In recent decades a preoccupation with the date 1800 has emerged in Anglophone musical research. This moment is said to mark a paradigm shift in the history of musical ideas and the replacement of one set of values and practices by another. Music historians tell a story of the decline of mimesis in music aesthetics and the emergence of idealism,¹ along with the ascent of music within conceptual hierarchies of the fine arts. In most accounts the relationship between music and language is of central importance. Whereas eighteenth-century critics valued vocal music over instrumental music (the precision of linguistic representation...

  14. CHAPTER 8 Fiction as Musical Critique: Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out and the Case of Wagner
    (pp. 145-164)
    Emma Sutton

    Wagner’s music dramas are vital inter-texts for much of Virginia Woolf’s fiction, which is suffused with explicit references and implicit debts to the composer’s work. Some references – like this example from Jacob’s Room – are overt, appearing in and propelling the events of the novels. Others are far more discreet, even covert. Woolf’s work – like Katherine Mansfield’s – illustrates the intense interplay between Modernist words and nineteenth-century notes.² Woolf had heard jazz and Strauss’s Salome by 1913,³ but if Wagner’s work no longer retained for her the prescient modernity it had had for Nietzsche and his contemporaries, it...

  15. CHAPTER 9 Théodore de Banville and the Mysteries of Song
    (pp. 165-182)
    David Evans

    In his collected essays (1967–2004), Steven Paul Scher complains of the ‘metaphorical impressionism’ of literary scholars who happily apply musical terms to works of literature in all manner of incoherent and inappropriate ways.¹ He warns against ‘vague analogies and all too loose parallels formulated in the deceptive guise of imprecise metaphors’, and argues that ‘the terminological inexactitude as reflected in traditional usages should not be tolerated’.² Examples of this ‘terminological chaos’ abound in literary criticism, such as the various different uses of the term ‘counterpoint’, the application of the terms ‘harmonious’ or ‘melodic’ to a wide variety of different...

  16. CHAPTER 10 Performing Poetry as Music: How Composers Accept Baudelaire’s Invitation to Song
    (pp. 183-204)
    Helen Abbott

    The poetry of Charles Baudelaire has always posed a particular challenge to composers who choose to set him to music. According to Katherine Bergeron, composer Henri Duparc was ‘the first composer to make a successful setting’ of his work.¹ Why Baudelaire seems to present an especial difficulty for composers, however, has rarely been addressed by critical scholarship.² This essay sets out to explore what it is that presents such a compositional challenge, and the ways in which composers are able to accept Baudelaire’s invitation. By taking two settings of Baudelaire’s ‘L’Invitation au voyage’ as its primary focus, this essay analyses...

  17. CHAPTER 11 The Grit in the Oyster, or How to Quarrel with a Poet
    (pp. 205-222)
    Susan Youens

    If lyric poetry is language made memorable by ordered patterning and rhythmic disposition, what happens when music is brought forcibly to bear on poetic words?¹ What does music add, what does it subtract, how is the experience of language altered by musical tones and rhythms? Questions multiply in mid-air as one ponders the matter: what constitutes an invitation to musical setting in a poem? What makes some poems/poetic repertories attractive to composers, and what seems to exclude music?² If music’s linear progress through time destroys those experiences elicited by the sight of a formal structure on the printed page, the...

  18. AFTERWORD Wording Notes: Musical Marginalia in the Guise of an Afterword
    (pp. 223-228)
    Annegret Fauser

    This collection of essays on words and notes in the long nineteenth century is book-ended by two that frame the volume by reflecting on how text and music – printed on the same silent page – both create and veil meanings through their association within the same sonic artefact. If Peter Dayan’s inquiry into Erik Satie’s 1913 Chapitres tournés en tous sens tells us about modernist fragmentations of signification in a composition that challenges the earlier, more direct associations between words and notes, Susan Youens’s close reading of Franz Schubert’s 1825 song ‘Der Einsame’ teases out how, a century earlier,...

  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 229-246)
  20. Index
    (pp. 247-256)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 257-257)