Naivety as an aesthetic factor in Gustav Mahler's Wunderhorn songs

Coetzee, Caroline (1997-12)

Thesis (MMus) -- Stellenbosch University, 1997.

Thesis

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING:Hierdie tesif ondersoek die estetiese begrip nai"witeit met spesifieke verwysing na die Wunderllc:-n-t...;•r.••:ngs van Gustav Mahler. Die term nai'witr .L kom dikwels in die vroee literatwJr : '1r Mahler voor, trouens, Mahler het die term ook self gebruik. Vir die hedendaagse waarnemer is dit nie meer onmiddellik duidelik wat met hierdie term bedoel word nie. Die bekende aanwending daarvan op die terrein van die beeldende kuns is in die verband van beperkte waarde. Daarom word daar in hierdie tesis gepoog om die term in sy historiese konteks tot so ver terug as die sewentiende en agtiende eeu te verstaan. Dit blyk dat Schiller die belangrikste bydrae tot die onderwerp gelewer het, trouens, hy het die term tot 'n belangrike estetiese begrip ontwikkel in sy Ober naive und sentimentalische Dichtung. Verder word Des Knaben Wunderhorn, die belangrikste versameling van Duitse volkspoesie, in die konteks van die intellektuele klimaat van die vroee Duitse Romantiek geplaas. Mahler se "ontdekking" van die versameling en sy groot belangstelling in volksmusiek word ook ondr die loep geneem. Die hoofdeel van die tesis ondersoek die vraag in watter mate die begrip, soos deur Schiller ontwikkel, op die musiek en dan spesifiek op Mahler se toonsettings van Wunderhorn-tekste toegepas kan word. Dit word aangetoon dat die begrip in 'n algemene sin aangewend kan word op voorbeelde van natuurklanke, kindermusiek en volksmusiek. Hierdie voorbeelde het alma! 'n sterk invloed op Mahler en word in sy Wunderhorn-styl ge'integreer saam met 'n baie persoonlike benadering tot realisme, insluitende sulke middele soos die nabootsing van nie-musikale klanke, ruimtelike beweging, spraakintonasie en emosies of "innerlike natuur". Mahler se idee van musiek as 'n atbeeld van die natuur of van die struktuur van die wereld as geheel word ook bespreek. Vervolgens word hierdie kenmerke op uitgebreide wyse aan die hand van voorbeelde uit die toonsettings self gei'llustreer. Laastens word al die bevindings tot 'n omvangryke reeks gevolgtrekkings saamgevoeg.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:This thesis sets out to investigate the aesthetic concept of naivety with specific reference to the Wunderhom Songs of Gustav Mahler. The term naivety is found frequently in the early literature on Mahler, in fact Mahler even used it himself. To the present-day observer, however, it is not immediately obvious what the full meaning of the term is as used by these authors. The well known use of the term in the field of visual art proves to be of only limited help. Therefore the thesb. ...ttempts to trace the historical context of the term as far back as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Schiller is shown to be the most important author on the subject, he in fact develops the term to an aesthetic concept of great significance in his Uber naive und sentimentalische Dichtung. Besides, the thesis examines the context in which Des Knaben Wunderhorn, the most important anthology of German folk poetry, should be seen, placing it in the intellectual climate of early German Romanticism. Mahler's "discovery" of the anthology and his passionate interest in folk music are also investigated. The main body of the thesis concerns itself with the question of the applicability of the concept, as developed by Schiller, to music and specifically to Mahler's composition of Wunderhorn texts, which occupied the composer for the best part of his early career. It is shown that, in a general sense, the concept can be applied to instances of natural sound, children's music and folk music. These instances all have a strong influence on Mahler and are intergrated into his Wunderhorn style together with a very personal kind of realism, including such devices as the imitation of non-musical sounds, spatial movement, speech intonations and emotions or "inner nature". Mahler's idea of music as an image of nature or the structure of the world as a whole is also discussed. Subsequently, these characteristics are illustrated extensively by examples from the songs themselves. Finally, all the findings are drawn together in a lengthy concluding section.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/70250
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