Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Loya, Shay. “Recomposing National Identity: Four Transcultural Readings of Liszt’s Marche hongroise d’après Schubert.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 69 (Summer 2016): 409-76.

Throughout his career, Franz Liszt frequently revised and recomposed Marche hongroise d’après Schubert, the second movement of Mélodies hongroises d’après Schubert (1838-39), Liszt’s arrangement of Schubert’s Divertissement à l’hongroise (1825). Over four decades, Liszt published nine different notated versions of the piece. Liszt’s continued engagement with Schubert’s Viennese approximation of Hungarian music introduces many complications with regard to Liszt’s Hungarian identity. Four transcultural readings of Marche hongroise illustrate the complex relationship between national identities and politics surrounding Liszt’s career-long engagement with the work. The first transcultural reading concerns Schubert’s adoption of Hungarian folk style in his Divertissement and Liszt’s reclamation of the Hungarian style through his transcription in Mélodies. In transcribing Schubert’s Divertissement, Liszt asserts his authority as a Hungarian musician by amplifying the idiomatic effects marking a Hungarian style. The addition of verbunkos and militaristic effects further frames Liszt as correcting Schubert’s Viennese style hongrois and revealing the heroic nature of Hungarian music. The second transcultural reading places Liszt’s work in the context of republican heroic marches. Since the French Revolution, the heroic march genre was often linked to republican and revolutionary politics. This context combined with Liszt’s own political leanings suggests a republican reading of the Marche hongroise. The third transcultural reading contextualizes Marche hongroise with Liszt’s cultural identity as a performer in Vienna. Performing variations on Schubert’s Divertissement was a way to reconcile his Hungarian identity with the critical culture of Vienna, which prized German musical style above others. Liszt’s orchestral version of Marche hongroise, recast in German as Ungarischer Marsch, allowed him to frame his Hungarian music as a Schubert transcription, which was more palatable to the Viennese establishment. Finally, the fourth transcultural reading places Marche hongroise in the context of transcultural modernism. In his orchestral Ungarischer March (1870 version), Liszt adopts a modern chromatic idiom, creating a stylistic hybrid of Hungarian and New German music. The changing musical trends also prompted Liszt to create new piano versions of Marche hongroise based on the orchestral version: Franz Schuberts Märsche (1880) and the Troisième edition of Marche hongroise (1883). Although we can never truly know what Liszt was thinking when he recomposed Marche hongroise in 1883, applying these four transcultural perspectives to his lifelong engagement with Marche hongroise reveals the complex associations attached to the piece and how it could represent (in Lachmund’s words) “the noblest Hungarian spirit.”

Works: Liszt: Mélodies hongroises d’après Schubert (423-40, 447-49), Ungarischer Marsch (454-64), Franz Schuberts Märsche (464-65), Marche hongroise: Troisième édition et augmentée (465-68)

Sources: Schubert: Divertissement à l’hongroise (423-40); Liszt: Mélodies hongroises d’après Schubert (454-68), Ungarischer Marsch (464-68)

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License