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Off‐Tonic Culmination in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Off‐Tonic Culmination in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini This article considers the implications that Sergei Rachmaninoff's concept of the ‘culminating point’ has for the analysis of his music, using the off‐tonic climax in his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, as exemplar and case study. In the first part of the essay I position Rachmaninoff's idea in relation to Schoenberg's and Schenker's contemporaneous views of musical coherence and goal orientation, and in relation to recent hermeneutic approaches to music from Rachmaninoff's era (especially those derived from Hepokoski's work), showing how Rachmaninoff's idea, although it shares a nineteenth‐century heritage with those theorists' ideas, has its own analytical and hermeneutic entailments. In the second part of the essay, drawing on metaphors used by Rachmaninoff and on theoretical work by Candace Brower, I outline a model for understanding a culminating point as a moment where contextually determined rhetorical‐structural features map in striking, potentially ‘extraordinary’ ways onto physically oriented ‘image schemas’. I demonstrate the model in brief analyses of four Rachmaninoff works and then treat the Rhapsody at length, showing how image schemas involved at the culminating point interact with the work's generic‐ formal features and large‐scale tonal plan. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Off‐Tonic Culmination in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Music Analysis , Volume 33 (3) – Jan 1, 2014

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12035
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article considers the implications that Sergei Rachmaninoff's concept of the ‘culminating point’ has for the analysis of his music, using the off‐tonic climax in his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, as exemplar and case study. In the first part of the essay I position Rachmaninoff's idea in relation to Schoenberg's and Schenker's contemporaneous views of musical coherence and goal orientation, and in relation to recent hermeneutic approaches to music from Rachmaninoff's era (especially those derived from Hepokoski's work), showing how Rachmaninoff's idea, although it shares a nineteenth‐century heritage with those theorists' ideas, has its own analytical and hermeneutic entailments. In the second part of the essay, drawing on metaphors used by Rachmaninoff and on theoretical work by Candace Brower, I outline a model for understanding a culminating point as a moment where contextually determined rhetorical‐structural features map in striking, potentially ‘extraordinary’ ways onto physically oriented ‘image schemas’. I demonstrate the model in brief analyses of four Rachmaninoff works and then treat the Rhapsody at length, showing how image schemas involved at the culminating point interact with the work's generic‐ formal features and large‐scale tonal plan.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2014

References