Wright, Maurice, 1949-; Klein, Michael Leslie; Rardin, Paul; Anderson, Christine L. (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      This dissertation seeks to examine the historical context of Franz Lizt’s oratorio Christus and explore its obscurity. Chapter 1 makes note of the much greater familiarity of other choral works of the Romantic period, and observes critics’ and scholars’ recognition (or lack thereof) of Liszt’s religiosity. Chapter 2 discusses Liszt’s father Adam, his religious and musical experiences, and his influence on the young Franz. Chapter 3 explores Liszt’s early adulthood in Paris, particularly with respect to his intellectual growth. Special attention is given to François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand and the Abbé Félicité de Lamennais, and the latter’s papal condemnation. After Chapter 4 briefly chronicles Liszt’s artistic achievements in Weimar and its ramifications for the rest of his work, Chapter 5 examines theological trends in the nineteenth century, as exemplified by David Friedrich Strauss, and the Catholic Church’s rejection of such novelties. The writings of Charles Rosen aid in decribing the possible musical ramifications of modern theology. Chapter 6 takes stock of the movements for renewal in Catholic music, especially the work of Prosper Gueranger and his fellow Benedictine monks of Solesmes, France, and of the Society of Saint Cecilia in Germany. Liszt’s interest in these movements, and in the style then in use in the Sistine Chapel, also receive comment. Chapter 7 analyzes Christus itself, and explains it as a synthesis of the styles then in use by Catholic composers of the era. Chapter 8 concludes with musings on the state of Catholic music, suggestions on how that field could be improved, and Christus’s future.