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The integration of lyricism into the symphonies of Mahler: a selective analytical study of the structural impact of the lyric voice

Lewis, Alexander James Ashton (1999) The integration of lyricism into the symphonies of Mahler: a selective analytical study of the structural impact of the lyric voice. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This study develops a critical analysis of the first movements of Gustav Mahler's 1(^st), 2(^nd) and 9(^th) Symphonies, with the intention of illuminating the nature of the lyric voice’s interaction with the necessary structural conditions of a symphonic first movement. Whilst not primarily seeking to construct an exact definition for the term lyricism, the work focuses in particular on those problems encountered by a composer wishing to incorporate extended lyrical passages into a goal-orientated structure, and on the diverse solutions which Mahler discovers. The analytical principles of Heinrich Schenker are adopted in certain instances, but the musical unfolding is also interpreted in a broader sense making clear the lyricism's impact on the overall narrative of the music. It also makes reference to a selection of Mahler's other works, including the Wayfarer song Ging heut' morgen űbers Feld, the second song of the Kindertotenlieder cycle Nun seh' ich Wohl, Warum so dunkle Flammen, and the Adagietto of Mahler's Fifth Symphony. A pertinent historical context is provided. This focuses on the development of lyricism as an important structural feature through selected symphonies of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Joachim Raff, as well as examining Wagner's more dramatic employment of the lyric mode in sections of Tristan und Isolde, and in the third act of Siegfried. From these sources it is possible to observe Mahler's debt to those nineteenth-century composers as well as affording an appreciation of his own large-scale structural innovations. In conclusion, this study provides, through the medium of detailed musical analysis, some new insights into Mahler's employment of lyricism. It also suggests avenues for further research into the diverse facets of lyricism as a compositional tool.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1999
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 11:49

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