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The use of myth in German opera 1912-33 with special reference to the Austrian contribution

Blackburn, Robert (1976) The use of myth in German opera 1912-33 with special reference to the Austrian contribution. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The subject of myth in German opera: from the years just before 1914 to the end of the Weimar Republic is developed here on three fronts. "These are, firstly, the notion of myth as historical ‘Bild’ or image; secondly, myth in its vernacular guise of folktale and the motifs associated with Märchen and Saze; thirdly, myth in its more traditional, sense in connection with Hellenism and. the classical heritage. The works discussed are illustrated by music examples in Appendix D. Part One consists: of a brief introductory chapter on the period, followed by a: more substantial one outlining- the three meanings of the word 'myth' as used here. Chapter 3 offers a necessary and relevant view, of the connection between opera and certain literary movements and figures of the period 1912-35 in Germany and Austria. Part Two, 'History, Fiction and Myth’ opens with a chapter on the impact of literary ‘Renaissanceism’ (the Nietzsche-Giobineau view of the Italian Renaissance) on opera, during World War One. The works concerned are Schillings’ Mona Lisa, Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten, Korngold’s Violanta and Zemlinsky's Eine florentinische Tragȍdie. Chapter 5 pursues the historical 'Bild' into the area of the Protestant Reformation and its consequences, especially the ‘image’ of Luther. This is seen through certain operas, discussed solely or largely in terms of their texts, principally Pfitsner's Palestrina and Busoni's Doktor Faust, but also two now forgotten works, Kaminski's Jűrg; Jenatsch and Klenau's Michael Kohlhaas, Parts Three (Chapters 5 and 7) and Four (Chapter 8) form the main, detailed part of this, study. Chapter 6 pursues the development of the; folktale or Märchen idea in Austrian opera (Gál, Wellesz, Zemlinsky, Krenek) and certain German works, while Chapter 7 follows the Märchen and Sage motif in Schreksr, notably Das Spielwerk, Der Schatzzräber and Der Schmied von Gent. Finally, Chapter 8 (Part 4) develops the theme of classical myth as it appears in Heger's Der Bettler uamenlos, then, more fully, in Wellesz’s Alkestis and Die Bakchantinnen and in Krenek's Orpheus und Eurydike and Leben des Orest. The three textual appendices are: (A) a chronological checklist of first performances 1895-1955 (B) A note on publishers (C) Schreker and Paul Bekker. Part One is preceded by a preamble setting out the line decent from Wagner to Strauss and, in another direction, to Mahler and Schnenberg. Part Four is followed by a retrospective conclusion.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1976
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 15:35

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