Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Cormac, Joanne. “Intertextuality, Subjectivity, and Meaning in Liszt’s Deux Polonaises.” The Musical Quarterly 102 (Fall 2019): 111-52.

Franz Liszt’s Deux Polonaises provide a case study demonstrating the combined interpretive power of and dynamic interplay between intertextuality and multiple subjectivities. These two piano works are intertextually related to other musical works (especially other polonaises) and to a literary work: Liszt’s biography F. Chopin. Throughout F. Chopin, Liszt develops a narrative of Polish music and culture leading up to Chopin, who fully embodies the Polish character. Liszt’s Deux Polonaises relate to F. Chopin’s narrative and alludes to many different styles, genres, and composers through multiple subjective voices. The opening of Polonaise I has clear similarities to Chopin’s Polonaise in E-flat Minor, Op. 26, No. 2, and throughout the work there are stylistic allusions to Chopin and Michał Kleofas Ogínski. The subjective voices in Polonaise I are the musical narrator, the musical subjects (militaristic style and the sentimental style), and the performer, who all interact to construct a history of the genre in the manner of F. Chopin. In Polonaise II, Liszt suggests the subjectivities of soloist and orchestra. These voices are also related to the construction of Polish history by way of funeral march references. In particular the concept of Polish messianism, the believe that Poland was an innocent victim of foreign powers that will rise again, plays out in the soloist perspective winning out against the orchestral. Again, this reading is suggested by an intertextual connection to F. Chopin. The combination of intertextuality and subjectivity in Deux Polonaises reveals how abstract musical drama is developed in nineteenth-century piano music.

Works: Franz Liszt: Polonaise I (121-23, 126-35), Polonaise II (124-25, 135-45), Polonaise brillante (135-36)

Sources: Chopin: Polonaise in E-flat Minor, Op. 26, No. 2 (122, 126-27), Polonaise in A Major, Op. 40, No. 1 (124, 135-37); Michał Kleofas Ogínski: Polonaise No. 10 in D Minor (127-128), Polonaise in A Minor (128-29); Carl Maria von Weber: Polacca brillante (135-36); Liszt: Polonaise brillante (135-36), Funérailles (139-40)

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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