Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Liszt's Italian Soundscapes: Venezia e Napoli as Travel Writing
by Mattera, Christine Marie, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2019, 79; 27547714
Abstract (Summary)

The collective years that Franz Liszt traveled throughout Europe are represented in his Years of Pilgrimage collections. But there are two significant periods where he traveled to Italy, the first as a touring virtuoso (1837–39) and the second as a wandering composer during his final years (1882–83). As Liszt traveled, he documented his experiences and impressions in letters, articles, and through musical compositions. To further understand the travel-writing genre, this paper explores research on the subject and addresses the works of selected literary writers from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who traveled to Italy.

R. Murray Schafer’s concepts of the soundscape and the earwitness will further provide a model for understanding the connection between Liszt’s travel writings and his aural transcriptions of Italian soundscapes. In his Venezia e Napoli, the supplemental section from the collection Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année: Italie, Liszt focuses on two specific Italian regions and their cultural traditions. Through his aural transcription Liszt preserved each sonic environment, which are presented between three movements.

Chapter 3 of this thesis explores the “Gondoliera” movement and its suggestive soundscapes pulled from the Venetian canals: movement of water, songs of the gondolier, and the bells of St. Mark’s Basilica. This chapter also explores the “Canzona” movement, which presents a second quoted gondolier song by Gioachino Rossini. The chapter concludes with Liszt’s altered impression of the gondolier from his final years as revealed in La lugubre gondola I and II. Chapter 4 addresses Venezia e Napoli’s final “Tarantella” movement and Liszt’s impressions of Naples. The Neapolitan soundscapes include the regional dance and music phenomenon tarantella napoletana, tamburello rhythms, and a quote from Guillaume Cottrau’s “Fenesta vascia.”

Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année: Italie documents his impressions of Italy’s art, architecture, and culture. However, this paper proposes Liszt’s Venezia e Napoli as a form of travel writing and as preservations of nineteenth-century Venetian and Neapolitan soundscapes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lindau, Elizabeth Ann
Commitee: Doyle, Alicia M., Hickman, Roger
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/8(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Music history, Music
Keywords: Gondolier, Soundscapes, Tarantella, Travel writing, Liszt, Franz
Publication Number: 27547714
ISBN: 9781658420761
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