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Kovalenko V.

«The Youth’s Magic Horn» by G. Mahler: some principles of theatricality

Music is known to be often a part of a many-sided synthesis of art. On the other hand, a synthesis of this or that kind prevails in different historical periods of the development of music as it is. However, if the fields of music and, for instance, words have been studied quite well, the interaction of music and theatre (the principles of theatre exactly) is a very controversial field. The need to study «theatricality» in foreign vocal music is caused not only by the lack of fundamental works on this issue but it is reinforced by the needs of modernity which make the researchers take a fresh look at musical art of past centuries, namely the 19th century, but also try to find common lines with this art. One of the principles which connect modernity and the Romantic epoch can be theatricalisation in the chamber-vocal music by Gustav Mahler. Based on the cycle “The Youth’s Magic Horn”, the author of the article analyses some theatrical principles such as personification, dialogism, a little difference between a song and a scene with its characters, parody, and grotesque. The article contains a detailed characteristic of the premises which determine the possibility of theatricality in the composer’s songs. The article also discusses the cyclical nature principles of the composition, and characterises the sphere of images, and a complex of expressive means of particular songs in their connection with some theatrical elements. In the conclusion of the article the author gives some general classification of the theatrical elements in the vocal cycle as well as one of the main principles of composing a piece by G. Mahler, that is symphonisation of the vocal cycle which leads to Mahler’s monumental works of a later period such as «The Song of the Earth» and «Songs on the Death of Children».

Key words

theatricality, symphonization, grotesque, dialogism, personification, expressionism, dramaturgy, Austrian lied.

For citation

Kovalenko V. «The Youth’s Magic Horn» by G. Mahler: some principles of theatricality // South-Russian musical anthology. 2020. No 1. Pp. 54–62.