Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Franz Liszt & Exoticism in Classical Music (2006)

Franz Liszt and the Case of the Other
Aspects of Exoticism in Western Classical Music Tradition
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Franz Liszt and The Case of the Other
Toward a Study of Aspects of Exoticism in
Western Classical Music Tradition

Author: Payman Akhlaghi (2006)

Graduate Independent Research Paper Toward Degree of PhD in Composition
UCLA, 2006, 26 Pages
Supervising Professor: Ian Krouse
© Copyright: 2006, 2011, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved for the author.

(*) The paper partially includes analytical discussions of Nuages Gris, La Lugubre Gondola, Mephisto Waltz (Liszt); Dance of the Dervishes from Consecration of the House (Beethoven); In a Persian Market (Ketèlby); etc.


"[...] Liszt: Three Late Short Pieces

Nuages Gris

Hardly anything in the myth—and the spectacular works—of the extroverted ‎performer of virtuosic piano pieces could prepare the listener for the intimate world of ‎this short work of 1881, Nuages Gris, i.e. “Gray Clouds”, or “Somber Clouds”. Liszt was ‎the consummate romantic composer for whom the semantic context of the music would ‎be an essential element to justify its existence. Judging from the titles of his works, from ‎symphonic poems to the shorter piano pieces, it appears is that his musical imagination ‎would be stirred more readily by the exotic or surreal sense of a poem or a story, although ‎he also has enough ‘purely musical’ works to his credit: Faust Symphony, Dante ‎Symphony, Prometheus, etc., along with two Concertos and numerous Etudes, among ‎others. For such a compositional mind, the most inventive of harmonic departures would ‎inevitably be intertwined with some form of expressive need.‎

‎[In comparison, Schumann’s affection for suggestive poetic titles also reflects a ‎similar sensitivity: Carnival, Papillons and Albumblätter can readily be recalled. But in ‎contrast, Chopin appears strongly oriented towards the ideals of the classical period and ‎the idea of absolute music. With very few exceptions, Berceuse and Fantasia in Fm ‎among them, Chopin’s works are invariably titled according to the form or genre of the ‎piece, such as Prelude, Mazurka, Sonata, Polonaise, Waltz or Concerto. In some cases, ‎e.g. Nocturnes and Ballades, the title of the genre has indeed a certain poetical and ‎imaginative connotation to it, but it still doesn’t make any direct reference to a specific ‎image. This observation is in accordance with the [...]"

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