Franz Liszt’s Mazeppa Sketch in His Sketchbook N6

Brussee, Albert (2014) Franz Liszt’s Mazeppa Sketch in His Sketchbook N6. Studia Musicologica, 55 (1-2). pp. 27-42. ISSN 1788-6244

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The Mazeppa sketch, written on pages 20–18 of Liszt’s Sketchbook N6, was composed a considerable time before the well-known study entitled Mazeppa (1841; 1851). In the past Rudolf Kókai and Dieter Torkewitz have written a few words about this composition. However, neither Kókai nor Torkewitz understood that the sketch, after a lengthy deletion, was continued on pages 19 and 18. All in all there are around 30 bars of this work, enough to reconstruct it. The result is a quite interesting, wild ‘Galop,’ most probably composed on ‘31 Mai Ecorchebeuf,’ according to the date written at the bottom of page 18 through the notes. If this is right, it means that the Mazeppa sketch stems from 1832, for Liszt stayed from 8 May until shortly after 25 June 1832 in Normandy, in the village of Écorchebeuf. In the spring of that year Franz Liszt frequented the home of Victor Hugo (nowadays the museum Maison Victor Hugo); he met there the painter Boulanger a few times, too. Louis Boulanger (1806–1867) had, in 1827, already exhibited his splendid Le Supplice de Mazeppa in the ‘Salon du Louvre’. Hugo, who was closely befriended with Boulanger, was so impressed by this painting that he wrote shortly afterwards his poem Mazeppa, which appeared in 1829 in the collection Les Orientals. So, in 1832 Liszt had regular contact with people who were most profoundly infected by the Mazeppa virus and he will have read Hugo’s poem at that time, maybe at his holiday address in Écorchebeuf. It is quite likely that then, under the direct influence of Hugo’s poem, he tried to represent in music the hellish ride of the young Cossack on a Ukrainian horse.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music / zene, szövegkönyvek, kották > M1 Music / zene
M Music and Books on Music / zene, szövegkönyvek, kották > M1 Music / zene > M10 Theory and philosophy of music / zeneelmélet, muzikológia
Depositing User: László Sallai-Tóth
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2016 10:36
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2016 10:36

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