Death in Winterreise

Death in Winterreise

Musico-Poetic Associations in Schubert's Song Cycle
Lauri Suurpää
Distribution: World
Publication date: 01/06/2014
Format: Hardback 28 music exx.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01100-8
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Lauri Suurpää brings together two rigorous methodologies, Greimassian semiotics and Schenkerian analysis, to provide a unique perspective on the expressive power of Franz Schubert's song cycle. Focusing on the final songs, Suurpää deftly combines textual and tonal analysis to reveal death as a symbolic presence if not actual character in the musical narrative. Suurpää demonstrates the incongruities between semantic content and musical representation as it surfaces throughout the final songs. This close reading of the winter songs, coupled with creative applications of theory and a thorough history of the poetic and musical genesis of this work, brings new insights to the study of text-music relationships and the song cycle.

Author Bio

Lauri Suurpää is Professor of Music Theory at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland.


“Death in 'Winterreise' brings a fresh new perspective on the expressive power of Schubert’s great cycle. Suurpää negotiates skillfully between larger contexts and individual details. Neither imposing nor ignoring its cyclic aspects, he allows the inexorable trajectory of the latter part of these winter songs to tell its own narrative and musical story.”
 — Frank Samarotto, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University

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Table of Contents

Note on the Translations of the Poems
Part I: Background
1. Genesis and Narrative of Winterreise
2. Winterreise in Context
3. Text-Music Relationships: Five Propositions
4. Musico-Poetic Associations: Principles of Analysis
Part II: Songs
5. The Emergence of Death as a Positive Option: "Der greise Kopf"
6. Death Contemplated: "Die Krähe"
7. From Hope for the Past to Hope for the Future: "Letzte Hoffnung"
8. Reflecting Lost Hope: "Im Dorfe," "Der stürmische Morgen," and "Täuschung"
9. Choosing Death: "Der Wegweiser"
10. Death Eludes the Wanderer: "Das Wirtshaus"
11. Reflecting on the Inability to Find Death: "Mut," "Die Nebensonnen," and "Der Leiermann"
Part III: Cycle
12. The Song Cycle as a Genre: Some Recent Views
13. Winterreise as a Cycle
14. Epilogue: The Meaning of Death in Winterreise

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