The ballads of Carl Loewe : examined within their cultural, human and aesthetic context

Mierowska, Jean Elaine Nora (1989) The ballads of Carl Loewe : examined within their cultural, human and aesthetic context. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




This thesis has been written in order to provide, especially for the non-German-reading musician, a fuller picture of Loewe and his ballads than has been available up to now. This picture is developed within the literary background history of the ballad poems, and the literary, mental, and musical climate at the beginning of the Romantic era; further, Loewe's life, as revealed in his many letters, his diaries, and his autobiography, provides the human context from which the ballads emerge as a logical extension of his personality. These earlier parts of the thesis have considerable bearing on the appreciation of Loewe's timely position in musical history, treating as they do with the popularity of the ballad poems, the rapid expansion of the means of musical/emotional expression, and the complete acceptance of that most romantic and versatile of soloinstruments, the piano. Loewe's temperamental affinity with the poetry of the ballads is shown to have affected his choice of subject, and in many cases the ultimate quality of the music is obviously dependent upon the strength or otherwise of his attraction. After observations on Loewe's vocal and piano writing, the thesis treats the ballads primarily with regard to their feeling and emotional content, and investigates the musical means by which this is conveyed. Categories are suggested, and ballads of similar dramatic, pictorial, or emotional type are discussed and compared. Certain formal characteristics are examined, in particular Loewe's use of highly organised motivic work in certain ballads, which foreshadows its later use by Liszt, Wagner and others. Over one hundred of Loewe's 120 ballads are dealt with, some in extensive detail~ and copious musical examples are given. The few comparatively well-known ballads receive due attention, but it was regarded as important to bring to light some of the more neglected or unknown ballads, many of which possess great beauty and originality, amply repaying study and, still more, performance. As a corollary, the approach of the performer is considered, and the Conclusion argues for an informed :esthetic appreciation of Loewe's ballads and their place in teday' s vocal repertoire.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Loewe, Carl,1796-1869.
Subjects:M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Music and Musicology
ID Code:2310
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:08 Dec 2011 06:28
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:22
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