Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Gimbel, Allen. "Elgar's Prize Song: Quotation and Allusion in the Second Symphony." 19th-Century Music 12 (Spring 1989): 231-40.

The distinction between quotation and allusion has long been problematic. Four conditions must be met for a quotation: (1) The pitch pattern corresponds to a preexisting pattern in the musical literature (rhythm does not have to reflect this correspondence); (2) the composer sets this pattern in relief; (3) it can be documented that the composer was familiar with the work or passage in question; and (4) the extramusical context of the composer's work is reflected by that of the quoted work. These four conditions may be applied to Elgar's Second Symphony, in which Wagner's "Preislied" from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is either quoted or alluded to. The correspondence of Wagner and Elgar is literal and thus condition 1 is met. In fulfillment of condition 2, Elgar treats the motive in question extensively and separately from the two other principal ones. It can be documented that the composer was familiar with the work or passage in question, thus condition 3 is met. Finally, a quotation of the "Preislied" in the Second Symphony could have three possible extramusical meanings, as a symbol of artistic freedom, as "an homage to two departed Wagnerians," and as a love letter to Mrs. Stuart-Wortley, "a brilliant and deeply sympathetic woman with a fine understanding of artists." Since all four requirements are met, we have to speak of quotation in Elgar's Second Symphony.

Works: Elgar: Second Symphony (231, 237-40); "Enigma" Variations (232-33).

Sources: Wagner: "Preislied" from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (231, 233-40); Mendelssohn: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage (232); Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (232-33).

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Andreas Giger

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