Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
The nine Etudes-Tableaux, op. 39 (1916-17) for piano solo are the last important works written by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) before his exile from Russia in 1917. The use of the word "Tableaux" in the title suggests an association with pictures, paintings, or scenes. Although the composer often wrote under the external influence of extra-musical sources, he rarely revealed them. This study examines the musical and extra-musical imagery which influenced Rachmaninoff's compositional style as observed in op. 39, the most important elements being the Dies irae from the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead, Russian chant, bell sonorities, and paintings by the Swiss artist Arnold Bocklin (1827-1901). In addition, Rachmaninoff's love of nature and of his homeland is reflected throughout the study, and an explanation is given for the dark, somber sentiment that permeates many of the etudes.
Gitz, Raymond J., "A Study of Musical and Extra-Musical Imagery in Rachmaninoff's "Etudes-Tableaux", Opus 39." (1990). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 5049.