Perpetuated Genius: An Exploration of the Bach Legacy through Transcriptions by Franz Liszt, Ferruccio Busoni, and Leopold Godowsky
Links to Fileshttp://blogs.goucher.edu/verge/3-2/
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Type of Work41 p.
DepartmentArt and Art History
RightsCollection may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. To obtain information or permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Goucher Special Collections & Archives at 410-337-6347 or email email@example.com.
SubjectsResearch -- Periodicals.
Humanities -- Research -- Periodicals.
Social sciences -- Research -- Periodicals.
"Notation' ('writing down') brings up the subject of Transcription, nowadays a term much misunderstood, almost discreditable. The frequent antagonism which I have excited with 'transcriptions', and the opposition to which an oftimes irrational criticism has provoked me, caused me to seek clear understanding of this point. My final conclusion is this: Every notation is, in itself, a transcription of an abstract idea. The instant the pen seizes it, the idea loses its original form." - Ferruccio Busoni in A New Esthetic of Music (1907) I began considering Perpetuated Genius in 2002 during my second year at Goucher College. As a piano and organ student, Bach’s instrumental music and the transcriptions thereof had become a growing curiosity of mine, so it seemed fitting to devote an entire thesis to the subject. Another impetus for selecting this topic was my interest in the transcribing of idiomatic Donegal fiddling repertoire and techniques to the Irish uilleann pipes. The idea that certain Irish tunes are suitable only for a particular instrument was one that I sought to rebut. All musics embodying elements of the eternal are suitable for any medium, hence my thesis. Bach’s Chaconne in D minor imbues the same profundity whether it is rendered by a violin, piano, organ, or orchestra. Perpetuated Genius traces and discusses transcriptions of Bach’s music via three monolithic figures in the history of pianism: Franz Liszt, Ferruccio Busoni, and Leopold Godowsky. Each pianist’s transcriptions offer a unique perspective on Bach’s music while faithfully maintaining the original affect through the preservation of the composer’s foundation: harmony. Liszt’s conservative transcription of Bach’s organ preludes and fugues contrast delightfully compared to Godowsky’s rather free renderings of Bach’s works for violin and cello. Busoni’s virtuosic arrangements of Bach’s organ works display unique coloration against the stark renderings of Liszt’s. The eternal nature of Bach’s music is manifested many times over throughout music history’s course. Perpetuated Genius is devoted to the efforts and examples of Liszt, Busoni, and Godowsky because theirs are the most creative, influential, and penetrating in keyboard literature.