Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Coppola, Catherine. “The Elusive Fantasy: Genre, Form, and Program in Tchaikovsky’s ‘Francesca da Rimini.’” 19th-Century Music 22 (Autumn 1998): 169-89.

Varying definitions and expectations about the fantasy as a genre have resulted in a devaluation of both Tchaikovsky and his music, but a survey of nineteenth-century fantasies and an examination of definitions of the term show that the techniques for which Tchaikovsky is often criticized in his symphonic works were consistent with a contemporary understanding of the fantasy. The term “fantasy” was applied to works based upon their design rather than their use of borrowed or original material. There are four main processes that are important to the fantasy: the overall structure’s relationship to established forms, developmental processes within the fantasy, types of interruption, and methods of linkage. Methods of linkage are especially important because of the fantasy’s discontinuous nature, and in works based on existing themes, transitional passages tend to link incongruous sections. Historically, fantasies have been divided into various categories, including a four-fold typology by Czerny that considered the “Fantasia Forming a Pot-pourri” as his fourth category; this category consisted of “beautiful melodies of favorite operas, tastefully and connectedly strung together.” These fantasies were valued for their use of variation in linking passages. Marx also considered the musical potpourri as a type of fantasy. The melodies in Francesca da Rimini resemble many of the motives found in Wagner’s Die Walküre, and while the works share topical similarities such as forbidden love, the strong resemblances may be read as acknowledgement of Tchaikovsky’s desire to free himself from the expectations of conventional symphonic form.

Works: Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini (170, 181-88).

Sources: Wagner: Die Walküre (183-85).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Christine Wisch

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