MOORE, EDWARD,PAUL (2013) ‘...plunge with me into the very depths of Nature’: Gustav Mahler's Third Symphony as critical engagement with the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Masters thesis, Durham University.
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Mahler’s Third Symphony, it may be argued, is the most divisive of his oeuvre. Epically proportioned, it is criticised for what some perceive to be structural inadequacies, but also for a seemingly insurmountable number of extra-musical associations and ideas which serve to cloud contemporary understanding of the work. This thesis fundamentally disagrees with the commonly accepted structural division of the work as bi-partite, and sets forward an alternative which argues that the symphony is fundamentally a contribution to the debate surrounding Nietzsche’s evolving philosophy at the time of composition. This interpretation manifests itself in a restructuring of the symphony as tri-partite: the first movement existing independently as a method by which to articulate to the listener the Nietzschean path the rest of the symphony will take. The second group represents the ‘Chain of Being’ which Mahler ultimately exposes as false (as he does the Christian faith in the fifth movement) through subtle and not-so-subtle musical and textual subversion, whilst the final movement – the Adagio – once again stands independently, and articulates a clear process of ‘self-overcoming’ which is inextricably linked to the idea of the Übermensch, as discussed in Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra.
Such an approach to Mahler’s Third Symphony necessarily considers in quite some detail the letters and comments left behind by the composer himself, as well as other critics’ and scholars’ opinions where relevant. It does attempt, however, to avoid getting bogged down in programmatic disagreements, and ultimately, sheds its programmatic shackles in order to better appreciate the work in-and-of itself.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Award:||Master of Arts|
|Keywords:||Mahler; Nietzsche; Symphony; Übermensch; Music; Philosophy; Self-overcoming; Christian|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||11 Nov 2013 09:05|