Saturday, 2:45–5:00 pm, W. L. Harkness 207

Between Romanticism and Moderism

Chair: Peter Kaminsky (University of Connecticut)

  • Between Scenes: A Study in Wagnerian Continuity
    David Smyth (Louisiana State University)

  • Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, Proust, and the Idea of Memory
    Michael Puri (Yale University)

  • Six Degrees of Confirmation: Deception, Evasion, and Abandonment in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt
    Edward D. Latham (Temple University)



    Between Scenes: A Study in Wagnerian Continuities
    David Smyth (Louisians State University)

    Analyses of Wagner's music dramas, whether they focus principally on themes, harmonic contruction, or on formal design, are typically beset with problems stemming from the difficulty of parsing an almost seamless surface.Even at sectional boundaries that may at first appear to be distinct ,continuities may be as important as more obvious contrasts. Across and between scenes, Wagner challenges us to recall and connect not only themes and motives, but also orchestral voicings, colors, rhythmic gestures, and even the sounds of particular chords and intervals. Many analysts appear hesitant to delve into the workings of this complex process, preferring instead to rely on the traditional labels for the so-called Leitmotive, and limiting discussion of formal design and tonal structure to relatively short, discrete sections. For this reason, continuities that extend across boundaries have received less attention than they deserve. Using a single extended example, this presentation examines hitherto unremarked continuities across the famous transformation interlude that links Scenes One and Two of Das Rheingold. Theanalysis uncovers a new pitch-specific motive associated with mocking laughter, a "tonal flashback" created by an interpolation during Wotan'sdream, and additional rhythmic and formal correspondences. Brief additional examples suggest that such continuities became increasingly important as Wagner constructed the huge spans in his later music dramas.


    Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, Proust, and the Idea of Memory
    Michael Puri (Yale University)

    In light of the recent surge of scholarly interest in Ravel, the music for the ballet Daphnis et Chloé (1912) provides an ideal opportunity to explore aspects of reception as well as formulate new analytical and hermeneutical approaches to his music. In contrast to Lawrence Kramer’s explication of the artwork as “commodity” and the musical score as a “supremely heterogeneous” surface without depth, I reevaluate Daphnis as an artwork which engages the surface/depth dualism by variously appropriating the idea of “memory.” My argument divides into three main phases, according to its respective objects of analysis: the large-scale motivic organization, the small-scale harmonic and melodic design, and the coordination of narrative elements with media of representation.

    The first phase outlines two interdependent systems of organization: a multi-level rotational structure spanning the work and a recurring complex of material from the Introduction. The second phase focuses on the Introduction, developing a transformational method to calibrate tonal distance between thematic harmonies. The third phase proposes a hermeneutical context for preceding analytical results by interrelating the ballet’s music, dramatic design, and literary source, the third-century A.D. novel “Daphnis and Chloe.”

    I conclude by comparing Daphnis with Marcel Proust’s memoir-novel A la recherche du temps perdu to illuminate correspondences between the content and design of the two large-scale, “memory” works. Both return periodically to ‘primal scenes’ (namely, Daphnis’s Introduction and Proust’s bedroom scene) to impose a configurational structure upon the concatenation of narrative episodes.


    Six Degrees of Confirmation: Deception, Evasion, and Abandonment in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt
    Edward D. Latham (Temple University)

    The purpose of the present study is to refine the notion of cadential disruption for use in the analysis of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century operatic repertoire, clarifying the difference between deceptive, evaded, and abandoned cadences as defined by Janet Schmalfeldt (1992) and William Caplin (1998). Three cadential progressions, in particular—the abandoned cadence in which a dominant-preparatory chord leads to a non-resolving cadential six-four, the evaded cadence in which [V7]—>IV is substituted for the tonic, and the deceptive cadence resolving to root-position IV—are examined in detail, with reference to the works of Janacek, Weill, and Korngold, among others, and an argument for harmonic stability or instability (i.e., the use of a dominant seventh or diminished seventh-type chord as a cadential substitution) as a primary determinant of cadential function is presented.

    Paul’s aria, “Du weißt, daß ich in Brügge blieb,” from Act I of Korngold’s Die tote Stadt, is used to illustrate all six types of cadential confirmation, and the results of a formal-harmonic analysis are compared with a Schenkerian graph of the aria, revealing points of both correlation and disjunction. Conclusions drawn from the analytical section of the paper are then applied to the interpretation of the aria, with regard both to musical and dramatic choices made by the performer and the director, and the results are demonstrated in a live performance.