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Ricoeurian Narrative Structures, 19th-Century Cognitive Models, and the 'Anxiety of Decadence' in the First Movement of Mahler’s Third Symphony

Barham, JM (2009) Ricoeurian Narrative Structures, 19th-Century Cognitive Models, and the 'Anxiety of Decadence' in the First Movement of Mahler’s Third Symphony In: Music Theory and Analysis, Seventh Annual Conference, 2009-05 - ?, University of Arts, Belgrade.

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Abstract

The form of the first movement of Mahler’s Third Symphony has long been the subject of critical contention. Its apparent structural intractability has compelled commentators to seek explanation in programmaticism, extreme forms of authorial subjectivism, and theories of sonata deformation, or to go to increasingly strained lengths to force the movement into a traditional sonata-form or sonata-rondo scheme. This paper follows an alternative path by viewing the movement from the perspective of Ricoeur’s theory of interconnecting episodic and configurational narrative processes: the first operates here in terms of the free-flowing succession of contrasting musical components, against which a repressed universalism struggles to exert restraining, ‘normalizing’ power; the second operates linearly but not successively, whereby the intermittent ‘progress,’ through varied repetition, of discrete but like segments of material offers several narrative patterns that hold the dynamic nominalist impulse in tension with the demands of a pre-established formal scheme. This approach is mapped on to both the structural concerns expressed by Mahler during the work’s composition and contemporaneous developments in late 19th-century structural and dynamic psychological theory. In so doing, a cognitive model of repression and release is identified, which for Mahler played out along the aesthetic fault lines of his recent reception of Wagner and Nietzsche, and manifested itself in an anxiety of musical and structural decadence.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Barham, JMUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 2009
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 13:44
Last Modified : 28 Mar 2017 13:44
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/763155

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