Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Stephen F. Austin
Joseph Joachim Raff (1822-1882) was a preeminent German composer who quickly fell into obscurity after his death. This should not be interpreted to mean that his music has no place in the modern repertoire. One of his vocal works, Maria Stuart: Ein Cyclus von Gesangen fur eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte, opus 172, contains twelve song settings of poems attributed to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots and three of her contemporaries, translated into German by Gisbert Freiherr von Vincke. The songs chronicle significant times and events in Queen Mary's life, beginning with the death of her first husband and ending with her prayer before execution. This monograph provides brief biographies of Joachim Raff and of Mary Stuart, an overview of Raff's music, especially his songs, an overview of the cycle, individual descriptions and performance suggestions for each song in the cycle, poetic and word-by-word translations of the song texts, phonetic transcriptions, and background information on the poems and their original versions. Programming and production ideas are also given, including the use of multiple soloists (mezzo-soprano, tenor, and baritone). As a composer, Joseph Joachim Raff sought to fuse existing musical styles rather than create new ones. The songs in Maria Stuart will not be acclaimed for their innovation or musical significance in the history of art song. Nonetheless, this cycle is a group of songs that is expressive, highly varied, and approachable, written by a composer who, along with Brahms and Wagner, was once considered one of Germany's finest. In our zeal to perpetuate the works of the giants of song literature, we must not overlook the individual works of merit by the less celebrated composers. Joachim Raff's opus 172, Maria Stuart, is one of these unknown, but shining, gems.
Johnson, Molly Jane, ""Maria Stuart", Opus 172: A Song Cycle by Joseph Joachim Raff Based on the Poetry of Mary Queen of Scots." (1997). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 6493.