Scenen aus Goethes Faust: A performer's analysis. Page: 36
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Important compositional features in Schumann's setting of Goethe's Faust include short
rhythmic and melodic motives used to unify movements, illustrative orchestra accompaniment
used to portray visual images in Goethe's text, harmonic shifts, modulations and tempo changes
to define sections and to depict the changing emotional states of the characters. Scenes 4 and 5
have extended postludes, possibly a compositional technique derived from Schumann's lieder.
The salient feature in Scenen aus Goethes Faust is Schumann's treatment of the solo vocal part.
Faust's long phrases, frequently high tessitura, contrasts in vocal color, dynamics, articulation,
dramatic mood and passages of both dramatic and lyrical singing are demanding for the most
accomplished singer. Clear and precise declamation of the text and dramatic expression are the
principal considerations for the performer.
Legato singing style is easier to produce in the lyrical passages, but the dramatic
declamatory singing with its often disjunct vocal part requires a legato approach as well. The
delivery of Schumann's setting of Goethe's text with its speech-like characteristics is difficult to
articulate as many words are delivered rapidly and often contain consonant clusters. Singers
should avoid allowing the articulation of consonants to create tension in the jaw and tongue thus
interfering with the vocal apparatus. Because Schumann's Scenen aus Goethes Faust is set as an
oratorio and not an opera with costumes, sets, staging, props and lighting, the responsibility for
dramatic expression falls primarily to the singer. Text declamation, vocal color, facial
expression, and dynamics are the tools at the singer's disposal used to facilitate the
communication of Goethe's sublime poetry.
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Paoletti Jr., Karl. Scenen aus Goethes Faust: A performer's analysis., dissertation, August 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9053/m1/42/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .