Text-music relationships in Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Vogelweide



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Between November 1958 and January 1959 Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco composed a cycle of ten songs for baritone and guitar on texts by the German medieval minnesinger Walther von der Vogelweide. The resulting composition, Vogelweide, Opus 186, was dedicated to Siegfried Behrend (guitarist) and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (vocalist) though no performance of the work was given by them. The score went unpublished, and largely unknown, until 1987. This is the first in-depth study of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Vogelweide. Chapter 1 contains historical background for the musical composition and text as well as an explanation of the analytical approach utilized throughout the study. Chapters 2-11 analyze the individual songs, one chapter per song. Each chapter contains an accurate, literal translation of the text as well as harmonic, formal or motivic analyses of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s music, followed by a discussion of the relationships between the two elements. In each of the ten songs, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s setting illustrates meanings in the text ranging from the general to the specific. Chapter 12 discusses the analytical findings overall to illuminate how “cyclic” Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Vogelweide actually is. The composer labeled his work a “song cycle” (Ein Lieder-Cyklus) though the poetry was clearly not conceived by Walther as a unity. Issues such as overall dramatic trajectory, related musical elements, musical links between songs, key relationships, and cohesion as a concert work, figure into this discussion.