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Title: Karol Szymanowski's Harnasie: Folk Modernism for a New Poland
Authors: Ochs, Ruth Amelia
Advisors: Morrison, Simon
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: ballet
Karol Szymanowski
Subjects: Music history
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation is a historical and analytical study of Karol Szymanowski’s neo-nationalist ballet, Harnasie (1923-31). Early planning for the ballet overlapped with the first years of Poland’s rebirth as a nation after World War I. This historical turning point prompted Szymanowski to embrace a concept that he had earlier rejected: musical nationalism. The finished ballet incorporates highland folklore from the Polish Tatra Mountain region into an intricate neo-nationalist compositional framework. Expanding and correcting previous analyses of the score and its sources, the dissertation correctly identifies the folk songs and folk dances used in Harnasie, and examines how the composer’s attitude towards transcription changed between 1923-1931. Ethnographer Adolf Chybiński’s influence on the ballet is downplayed and Szymanowski’s own handling of primary sources is highlighted. Related subjects include Szymanowski’s refutation of Jan Ignacy Paderewski’s nationalist appropriation of a popular highland bandit melody, and the subtle parallels in the final scene of Harnasie with the apotheosis of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. Although European and American orchestras expressed an interest in performing Harnasie’s music in the early 1930s, the ballet struggled to reach the stage. Szymanowski had worked without a commission, and completed the music without having in hand a complete scenario. As a coda to the analytical discussion, the dissertation describes his desperate efforts to finally see Harnasie staged in Paris.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

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