Music Relating to Death: Its Musical Value and Reflection of Diverse Images

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2007

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Abstract

One of the most fascinating factors of musical performance is rooted in communicating or expressing human feelings in reaction to various topics: love, hatred, death, despair, suffering, hope, etc. It has been my strong belief that death, among these topics, evokes the most genuine and original feelings in human beings. The emotions toward death bear the most profound and substantial kinds of human feelings: despair, emptiness, fear, sympathy, grief, suffering, etc, and eventually these feelings are mitigated as one dreams or wishes resting in peace after death. I have selected music relating to death to address its musical value and deliver the various images gained and transformed through my performances. My choices of music relating to the theme of death include funeral and monumental music; Funkrailles from Harmonies poe'tiques et religieuses by Franz Liszt (1811-1886), Piano Sonata No. 2 in B Flat minor, Op. 35 by Frkderick Chopin (1810-1847), Piano Sonata in A Flat Major, Op.26 by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), music written after the loss of the beloved; Piano Sonata in A minor, K. 31 0 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1 756-1791), Pictures et an exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881), and music possibly written based on existing poems, myths or paintings wherein death has a prominent roll; Pavanepour une iizfante dkfunte by Maurice Ravel (1875- 1937), Piano Concerto No.4 in G Major, Op.58 by Beethoven, Liszt's transcription of Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, the opera originally written by Richard Wagner (1813-1883), and Kindertotenlieder by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). It has been my greatest pleasure to explore these pieces, which inspired me to capture the extensive images and inspirations while studying and performing it.

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