By Elliott Antokoletz, Juana Canabal Antokoletz
Early twentieth-century operas -- Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande (1902) and Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's fortress (1911) -- reworked the normal major/minor scale method right into a new musical language. This new language used to be dependent virtually completely on interactions among people modalities and their extra summary symmetrical adjustments. Elliott Antokoletz unearths not just the hot musical language of those operas, but additionally the way they proportion a profound correspondence with the transforming into symbolist literary circulate as mirrored of their libretti. within the symbolist literary circulation, authors reacted to the realism of nineteenth-century theatre by means of conveying which means through recommendation, instead of direct assertion. The symbolist perception incorporated a brand new curiosity in mental motivation and cognizance manifested itself in metaphor, ambiguity, and symbol.In this groundbreaking examine, Antokoletz hyperlinks the recent musical language of those operas with this symbolist notion and divulges a right away connection among the Debussy and Bartok operas. He indicates how the opposing harmonic extremes function a foundation for the dramatic polarity among real-life beings and emblems of destiny. He additionally explores how the libretti through Franco-Belgian poet Maurice Maeterlinck (Pelleas et Melisande) and his Hungarian disciple Bela Balazs (Duke Bluebeard's fort) remodel the inner idea of unconscious motivation into an exterior one, one during which destiny controls human feelings and actions.Using a pioneering method of theoretical research, Antokoletz, explores the recent musico-dramatic family inside of their better historic, social mental, philosophical, and aesthetic contexts.
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Extra info for Musical Symbolism in the Operas of Debussy and Bartok: Trauma, Gender, and the Unfolding of the Unconscious
She is caught between the power differences between herself and Golaud and by the intensity of her desires, which eventually leads to her destruction. Maeterlinck’s suggestion of women’s position as “nearest of kin to the inﬁnite,”32 seems to refer to her willingness to abandon herself to her desires and to the power of fate. This places her on a collision course with social restrictions. Mélisande (woman) can see through the inhumanity and falsehood of the restrictions arbitrarily imposed on her,33 and she is not willing or able to go along with them.
Into the youngest of the sciences, namely musical folklore, drew the attention of certain musicians to the genuine peasant music, and with astonishment they found that they had come upon a natural treasure-store of surpassing abundance. This exploration . . seems to have been the inevitable result of a reaction against the ultrachromaticism of the Wagner-Strauss period. The genuine folk music of Eastern Europe is almost completely diatonic and in some parts, such as Hungary, even pentatonic.
Mélisande’s ﬁrst greeting reveals her fear of being harmed by this stranger (“Do not touch me”), and her subsequent allusion to his graying hair suggests that she is aware of their age difference. Golaud’s reply “[that it is only] a little, here at the temples” is a defensive reply that reveals his need to minimize its signiﬁcance. ” We may ﬁnd greater empathy with Golaud’s dilemma if we look at their interaction as a possible dialogue between an inexperienced therapist and a traumatized patient.