Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Hays, Jeremy. "Irony and the Dance of Death: Saint-Saëns, Liszt and the Danse macabre." Journal of the American Liszt Society 52-53 (Fall-Spring 2002-2003): 89-119.

Saint-Saëns's song Danse macabre (1872), his symphonic poem based on the melody of the song (1874), and Liszt's transcription of the symphonic poem (1876) all demonstrate Saint-Saëns's ironic compositional style as well as its influence on Liszt. Saint-Saëns and Liszt showed esteem for one another. Liszt?s high estimation of Saint-Saëns is evident in his writings, including one in 1874 when Saint-Saëns composed the symphonic poem. In comparison with Saint-Saëns's symphonic poem, Liszt's transcription heightens the dramatic effect, expands the length, inserts his own unifying elements, and adds complexity. For example, in the introduction, Liszt inserts a new harmonically unstable passage before the theme of Saint-Saëns's introduction appears. He also retains the regularity of four-bar phrasing from the model and at the same time interrupts it by a three-beat pause, adding rhythmic uncertainty. In Scene two, he develops Saint-Saëns's penchant for modulation in mediant relationships, which in Liszt's version goes further to Eb major/D# major, a major third from both G and B. Liszt's transformations of the model enrich the complexity of his work, at the same time eliminating the humor with which Saint-Saëns imbued his work.

Works: Liszt: Danse macabre (106-15).

Sources: Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre (95-106).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Hyun Joo Kim

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