LISZT’S SONATA IN B MINOR: ANALYTICAL AND HERMENEUTIC INQUIRIES
|Klein, Michael Leslie
|This dissertation pursues the following three objectives: (1) a comprehensive formal analysis of Franz Liszt’s sonata in B minor that combines adequate analytical models; (2) various hermeneutic approaches to the sonata that trace thematic and expressive transformations and deviational elements from sonata conventions; and (3) a comprehensive interpretation of the sonata analysis and the hermeneutic analyses based on historical, religious, and political contexts around Liszt and the sonata, which will differentiate this dissertation from preceding research on the sonata and other sonata genres in the nineteenth century. Chapter 1 begins with a literature review, focusing on (1) the sonata’s formal analyses and (2) programmatic approaches. Considering the formal boundaries of the sonata are still disputable in former research, I argue that the sonata strongly demands appropriate analytical methodologies in order to uncover its exceptional form. These methodologies include James Hepokoski’s and Waren Darcy’s sonata theory (2006), Leonard Meyer’s “secondary parameters” (1989), and Peter Smith’s “dimensional counterpoint” (2005), which will be discussed in Chapter 2. Hepokoski’s and Darcy’s sonata theory reveals the conventions of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century sonatas and suggests hermeneutic interpretations that result from deviations from these conventions. Secondary parameters and dimensional counterpoint are critical in shaping musical processes and form. I provide a three-step sonata analysis based on the analytical ground that combines these methodologies. My analysis offers a comprehensive view of the entire sonata as a one-movement sonata form, including structural, motivic, and narrative analyses. Chapter 1 also describes several programmatic approaches that Liszt scholars have developed. However, an obsession with the good/evil dichotomy in former research narrows narratives of the sonata. Considering that the sonata presents five motto themes, interpretations of the sonata may be more extensive and complex than previous research has found. I develop various and distinctive hermeneutic readings of the sonata in Chapter 3, which includes the following three sub-sections: 1) Topical approach; 2) Narrative approach; and 3) Lacanian approach. The topical approach investigates how different topical significations are manifested in Liszt’s sonata in nineteenth-century historical and cultural contexts. The narrative approach concentrates on five mottos presented in the sonata and their motivic and expressive transformations. The Lacanian approach concentrates on a lack of strong cadences in the sonata, relating to Lacan’s famous concept, objet petit a, an unattainable object of desire. Then, I continue to use the Lacanian viewpoint to interpret an unresolved fully-diminished seventh harmony as a Sinthome, a symptom that can never be healed. In Chapter 4, I relate Liszt’s religious convictions and various struggles to bring about another hermeneutic reading in the political, religious, and theological contexts around Liszt and the sonata, by revisiting my interpretations in Chapter 3.
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|Sonata in B Minor
|LISZT’S SONATA IN B MINOR: ANALYTICAL AND HERMENEUTIC INQUIRIES
|Latham, Edward David
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