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The Scottish, English & Nordic ballads

Schors, Maria (2013) The Scottish, English & Nordic ballads. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Abstract

In the early 19th Century, Germany was gripped by a fascination with the ‘North’ that influenced writers and philosophers like Herder, Goethe, Uhland and Fontane as well as music. Countless compositions emerged, which were either inspired by works of important writers like Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Macpherson or by the gloomy atmosphere of the Northern landscapes in general. While this ‘Nordic tone’ in music was of fundamental importance for 19th Century musical aesthetics, scholars seem to have a very vague understanding of what the ‘Nordic tone’ should evoke and an even vaguer idea of how exactly this was to be achieved. This confusion is partly due to ambiguity in the terminology: just as Herder and his contemporaries had made no distinction between Gaelic, Celtic, and Germanic heritages, mid 19th Century German critics did not distinguish between, for instance, an ‘Ossianic manner’, an overall ‘Nordic character’ or a ‘Scottish style’. Sharing Mendelssohn’s enthusiasm, the composer Carl Loewe (1796-1869) wrote a number of ballads dealing with Scottish, English and Nordic themes. However, an important question to be addressed is: can one really analytically detect a ‘Nordic’ tone in Loewe’s ballads, however programmatic a composition’s ballad title may sound, particularly given the vagueness of the discussion about the ‘Nordic tone’? Secondly, given the terminological ambiguity, did Loewe differentiate between an English, Scottish and Scandinavian tone or did he adopt an all-inclusive ‘Nordic tone’? This dissertation revisits the question of the ‘Nordic tone’ in Loewe’s English, Scottish and Nordic ballads. How does Loewe’s approach towards these nations differ, considering that he visited England and Norway, but never Scotland? It will be demonstrated how Loewe’s image of the Northern cultures was formed, to what extent he differentiated between England, Scotland and Scandinavia, and whether he adopted an all inclusive ‘Nordic’ tone.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Arts and Humanities > School of Music
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2015 15:09
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2016 12:14
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/5234
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