What is significant about the use of leitmotifs in Wagner’s Die Walküre?
Week Four Written Assignment (choose one option)
What is significant about the use of leitmotifs in Wagner’s Die Walküre? How did their use enhance the music drama? How did the orchestra participate in the drama as much or more than the characters on stage? What films of today employ similar techniques?
Discuss Dvorak’s approach to musical nationalism. Through what means did he attempt to evoke the spirit of the Bohemian (or American) people? What sorts of cross-cultural blending are involved in the creation of nationalist music? In other words, what elements does Dvorak take from folk cultures, and what does he take from the Western canon? In the end, do you think that his Symphony No. 9 is effective as a nationalist work?
Discuss Richard Wagner’s association with the Nazi party. Why did Wagner become a favorite composer of the Nazis? How was his music co-opted to express Nazi ideals? Do you think the controversy surrounding Wagner’s music is warranted? Explain.
In what ways does Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique express the musical and philosophical ideals of Romanticism? Discuss specific ways in which the subject, narrative, and musical language of the piece demonstrate nineteenth-century artistic preoccupations.
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