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Form and Programme in Liszt’s Hamlet: A New Perspective

Deere, Joanne E (2010)
Other thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The question of the interrelation between formal and programmatic aspects of Liszt's symphonic poem 'Hamlet' has stimulated much scholarly debate. The symphonic poem was written around twenty years after the Shakespeare explosion in continental Europe, but just two years after Liszt’s initial acquaintance with the celebrated actor Bogumil Dawison, whose stage performances in the role are commonly believed to have inspired Liszt's composition. This dissertation argues that Dawison's influence on Liszt is less straightforward than hitherto believed. It offers a revised view of the interaction between the two artists, and a more detailed appraisal of Dawison's acting style than has previously appeared in the Liszt literature. In fact, it seems likely that Liszt never actually saw Dawison's Hamlet in the theatre. An analysis of the extant manuscripts of Liszt's Hamlet then chronicles the evolution of the piece from ‘overture’ to ‘symphonic poem’. Finally, the dissertation revisits Lina Ramann’s much neglected analysis of the work, affirming that the source of her information was none other than the composer himself. By comparing the final version of the score with information gleaned from Ramann, we can clearly see that Liszt's Hamlet is programmatically structured around three main points of action in Shakespeare’s narrative.

Type of Work:Master of Music thesis.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Music Department
Subjects:M Music
ML Literature of music
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:531
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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