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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Narrative and representation in Robert Schumann's Waldszenen, Op. 82 Li, Wing Yin (Cherry)


Robert Schumann's music is replete with literary references and extramusical indications. His devotion to literature and his adaptation of the narrative strategies of the early Romantics in his compositions have prompted many investigations of literary influences on Schumann's music. Many of his early piano cycles are inspired by the literature of the Romantics, and in particular by the novels of Jean Paul Richter. However, it has sometimes been suggested that Schumann discarded the narrative strategies of Jean Paul in his late compositions, some of which were written for musical education and music-making in the home. My goal, in this dissertation, is to demonstrate that Jean Paul's narrative devices remained relevant in Schumann's late works. This study examines the aspects of narrative and representation that permeate the Waldszenen cycle. The first aspect is large-cycle coherence, an effect that is achieved through innovative associational means -- including motivic and tonal cross-references-- and through more traditional hierarchical means, such as tonal departure and return and the use of programmatic titles that suggest a complete forest journey. The second aspect is the manipulation of formal conventions, which is accomplished through problematic closure, problematic recapitulation, and ambiguous formal function. The third aspect is the use of intertextual allusions to Schumann's earlier works. The last aspect of representation in Waldszenen is the use of three musical topics - fantasy, pastoral, and hunt - in association with their corresponding Romantic literary genres - Kunstmärchen, idyll, and hunting tale and song.

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