Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Josephson, Nors S. “Zu Wagners stilistischen Nachahmungen.” Musicologica olomucensia 15 (June 2012): 43-78. Reprinted in Musicologica olomucensia 16 (December 2012): 21-53 .

Throughout his career, and especially during his formative years, Wagner was greatly inspired by late Classical and early Romantic music. The influences from German Romantics, particularly Weber and Felix Mendelssohn, and French composers such as Berlioz and Spontini are most apparent, but some of Wagner’s works also reveal a special affinity with Joseph Haydn. Wagner’s borrowings from these composers and others were extensive, with themes, motivic gestures, harmonic progressions, and various other musical devices being incorporated into his music dramas. In some instances, Wagner’s borrowings serve the same dramatic or affective function as they did in the source work, but other times Wagner modifies or transforms the borrowed material for a new purpose or effect. As he matured, Wagner also developed a penchant for self-borrowing, reworking several themes and harmonic techniques from his older compositions into his late music dramas. This use of self-quotation, coupled with Wagner’s advanced procedures of motivic development in his mature works, foreshadows the musical modernism of the twentieth century and the works of Mahler, Berg, Bartók, Ives, and others.

Works: Wagner: Christoph Columbus (43-44), Das Liebesverbot (44-45), Der fliegende Holländer (44-46), Tannhäuser (46-47), Lohengrin (47-53), Das Rheingold (53-56), Die Walküre (56-62), Siegfried (63-65), Tristan und Isolde (65-68), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (68-70), Götterdämmerung (71-72), Parsifal (72-75).

Sources: Felix Mendelssohn: Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, Op. 27 (43-44), Elijah, Op. 70 (48-49, 52-56, 62-64), Ein Sommernachtstraum, Op. 61 (50-51, 57-58), Paulus, Op. 36 (52), Die schöne Melusine, Op. 32 (53-54), Symphony No. 3 in A Major, Op. 56 (“Scottish”) (60-62), Die Hebriden, Op. 26 (62-63), Symphony No. 5 in D Major/D Minor, Op. 107 (“Reformation”) (73-74); Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 104 in D Major, Hob.I:104 (“London”) (44-45), String Quartet in D Major, Op. 76, No. 5 (56-57); Weber: Oberon, J. 306 (45-46, 54-56), Euryanthe, J. 291 (47-50, 58-59, 72), Jubel-Ouvertüre, J. 245 (68); Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17 (46-47, 65-68), Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 (64-65, 67); Franz Schubert: Erlkönig, D. 328 (56-57); Spontini: La Vestale (59-60); Heinrich Marschner: Hans Heiling, Op. 80 (60-61); Liszt: Eine Faust Symphonie, S. 108 (61-62), “Excelsior!” from Die Glocken des Strassburger Münsters, S. 6 (72-74); Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 1 in B-flat Major, Op. 38 (“Spring”) (65); Wagner: Die Walküre (67-68), Tristan und Isolde (70-71, 74), Tannhäuser (70-71, 74), Das Rheingold (74), Lohengrin (74-75); Otto Nicolai: Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (69); Brahms: Piano Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 5 (69-70).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew G. Leone

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