Note:This thesis is part of a research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in the School of Music. The project also involved the preparation and performance of a recital of music related to the thesis topic.

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Title:When concerto meets song cycle: A study of vocal influences in Robert Schumann's Cello Concerto in A Minor, OP.129 with reference to his Dichterliebe, OP. 48
Author(s):Yu, Ka-Wai
Director of Research:Tharp, Reynold
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Tharp, Reynold
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bashford, Christina; Moersch, Charlotte Mattax; Vamos, Brandon; Yeung, Ann
Department / Program:Music
Discipline:Cello Performance and Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:A.Mus.D. (doctoral)
Subject(s):Schumann, Robert, 1810-1856
Schumann, Robert, 1810-1856. Song cycles
Schumann, Robert, 1810-1856. Dichterliebe
Schumann, Robert, 1810-1856. Cello concerto
Abstract:This thesis responds to the long-existing doubts, prejudices and mixed critical views about the value of Schumann’s Cello Concerto and his late music with new ideas and possibly answers. It focuses on analyzing influences from Schumann’s vocal music in the concerto. Dichterliebe, Op. 48, which is one of Schumann’s most successful song cycles and reflects the composer’s mature vocal style, will be used as a reference throughout the thesis, besides examples from Schumann’s other early and late vocal works. The analysis of the concerto is divided into four main sections: structure, tonality, rhetoric, and orchestration. The first section examines how the musical material and sections/movements in the concerto are organically connected like the structure of a song cycle through studying the miniature scale of the work, cyclic recurrences of thematic material, structural unity and ambiguity, fragmentation, and possible song form in the concerto. The second part is an analysis of the concerto’s tonal and harmonic language. It looks into the irony of co-existing yet conflicting tonalities, a shift between sharp and flat keys with possible narrative associations, and a reflection of poetic intentions through the unique timing and function of the augmented 6th chord, which find resonance in Schumann’s songs. While the first two sections address the ‘cycle’ part of the concept of song cycle, the third part of the analysis looks at the rhetorical characteristics, or the ‘song’ part of the concerto, examining how poetic ideas can be spoken and sung in a wordless instrumental work. This section further investigates the use of song motifs in the concerto that may have similar symbolic meanings in Schumann’s vocal repertoire. The final section compares the close soloist-orchestra interaction in the concerto with the intimate partnership between singer and pianist in Schumann’s songs. This section first discusses song textures found in the concerto. It is followed by a discussion of narrative intentions of the orchestra as a narrator and musical conversations between soloist and orchestra. The thesis concludes with some thoughts about providing cellists, scholars, musicians, and others with new ways to re-evaluate the special qualities of the piece, reconsider previous prejudices against Schumann’s late style with reference to the Cello Concerto, and re-create an awareness of the long-existing inter-influences between instrumental and vocal music.
Issue Date:2011
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Ka-Wai Ya
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-08-12

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