Arts & Culture | Literature | Contemporary | Classical
The ground-breaking literature of the twentieth century had a major impact on composers, particularly in the 1950s and 60s. The work of Berio has consistently drawn upon the works of James Joyce for parallels between verbal and musical technique, particularly ‘stream of consciousness’ chapters such as Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from Ulysses, while Barraqué based his entire later output on Hermann Broch’s poetic novel, The Death of Virgil. The poets e.e. cummings and Stéphane Mallarmé were also important, particularly for Boulez, whose Third Piano Sonata, in its presentation of the score as a map or maze through which the performer must plan a route, has parallels with the appearance on the page of Mallarmé’s Un coup de dès (‘A Throw of the Dice’). Mallarmé was even more influential on Boulez’s major orchestral work Pli selon pli, which seeks not to ‘set’ the poems in any conventional sense, but rather to absorb their structure into the music itself.
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