Text, Context, and Reception History of the Richard Dehmel Poems Venus Mater and Wiegenlied and Their Lieder Settings by Hans Pfitzner and Richard Strauss

by Tavianini, Marie

Abstract (Summary)
This study examines the social and cultural circumstances surrounding the publication of the poems Venus Mater and Wiegenlied by the late nineteenth-century German poet Richard Dehmel, and the composition of the corresponding lieder by Hans Pfitzner and Richard Strauss. An accurate history of the publication and reception of Richard Dehmels poetry has been difficult due to the existence of multiple similar versions of his poems. By referring back to the primary sources of his poetry, it is shown that Venus Mater and Wiegenlied, although very similar, were discrete works published at different times in different anthologies of Dehmels poems. Further examination of the circumstances behind the publication of these two poems shows that the social and cultural reaction to the differing sources of these poems were substantially different. While Wiegenlied never aroused any controversy in fin-de-siècle German society, Venus Mater was a component of Die Verwandlungen der Venus, a poetic cycle which was one of Dehmels most problematic works, the publication of which resulted in charges of blasphemy and obscenity against the writer. In light of the circumstances under which Dehmels poetry was published and received, the musical settings of these poems by Hans Pfitzner and Richard Strauss are investigated. It is shown that, contrary to many previous accounts, Pfitzners textual source for his lied Venus Mater was Dehmels notorious Die Verwandlungen der Venus, while Strauss source for his Wiegenlied was Dehmels uncontroversial Erlösungen. The effects which these different texts and their contexts had on the composition and reception of the composers lieder is explored through an examination of the composers own writings, the writings of other scholars and critics, and a brief music analysis of the two lieder. The elucidation of these details reveals some ways in which cultural and social ideologies, such as representations of gender and sexuality, can be transmitted through both text and music.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Steven Ullmann; Paul Wilson; David Alt; Kimberly D. de Acha; Ester Jane Hardenbergh

School:University of Miami

School Location:USA - Florida

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:accompanying and chamber music


Date of Publication:06/06/2006

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