In our visually-oriented society, music appears to stand apart from other arts. Yet just as a poet can write a poem whose focus is a painting, so musicians have composed scores based on poems, paintings, and other non-musical art forms. In instrumental music such reinterpretations are especially intriguing as the verbal or visual stimulus does not appear in performance but is rendered in musical form.
In this study, Siglind Bruhn investigates how three French composers of the twentieth century, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Oliver Messiaen, express extra-musical subtexts in their piano works. She shows how the relation between the subtexts and the musical works can be broadly catagorized in terms of pictoriality and interiority. In all cases, Bruhn analyzes each musical piece and each source text in its entirety and in depth, drawing on her broad background in both literary and musical interpretation of the twentieth century.
For pianists who seek to better understand an individual work, for scholars in the growing field of musical hermeneutics, and for lovers of music in general, this volume explores and makes explicit connections between music and other arts.
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