Description: Whereas conditions have existed for many centuries which served to exclude or marginalize female participation in music, many women have written compositions of musical worth sufficient to justify their contemporary performance. Although most women composers wrote works more fitting for the "salon" than for the concert hall at the turn of the century, Boulanger and Mahler are representative of the few women composers whose complex approach to art song fell within the mainstream of the genre. Many of their accompaniments attain a level of technical difficulty not previously found in women composers' writing. They offer an interesting comparison between nationalities and styles in that they both favored Symbolist texts. However, each represents a different side of the coin in her musical interpretation of Symbolism: Boulanger, Impressionism, and Mahler, Expressionism. In addition, even though their styles involve opposite musical expressions, they both show a strong influence of Wagner in their writing. This study includes background on turn-of-the-century music and musicians encompassing the role of art song among women composers. Symbolism is addressed as it applies to the poets selected by the composers, followed by information regarding the specific musical representation of Symbolist texts in the composers' art songs. The chapter of analysis serves as a means to guide musical decisions in the actual performance of the works. The conclusion briefly discusses performance practice issues and the possibility of a turn-of-the-century feminine aesthetic.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Click, Sarah, D.