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Friday, December 07, 2012

Florent Schmitt: Le Palais Hanté (after Poe)

The works of Poe were highly important in the literary life of turn-of-the-century France. Baudelaire translated his tales. Mallarmé put a collection of his poems into French; and it is not unreasonable to claim that Poe's are among the few works to gain, rather than lose, in translation.
His appeal was twofold. First, his haunting tales foreshadowed the inward-looking, psychologically probing movement emerging in Expressionist art and literature. Second, they are riddled with symbols, whether unconscious or not.. Not for nothing, did Princess Marie Bonaparte, a pupil of Freud, devote a massive book to interpreting Poe's work in terms of Freudian symbolism.
The symphonic prelude by Florent Schmitt (1870-1958) on Poe's poem The Haunted Palace was composed between 1900 and 1904. It is firmly in the post-Lisztian tradition of orchestral symphonic poems, with its mixture of tonally rootless sections and clearer melodies. The listener may muse on the various possible musical corollaries Schmitt creates to the several musical allusions in Poe's poem.

(Edgar Allan Poe)

(Florent Schmitt)

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