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Musicality of a Literary Work


Andrzej Hejmej

This book represents an attempt to capture different links between modern literature and music. The author examines strict intertextual correlations, the phenomena of musicality and musicality of literary works, the musical structure in literature, so-called musical literary texts. He focuses on the novel Le Cœur absolu by Philippe Sollers, the poem Todesfuge by Paul Celan, the Preludio e Fughe by Umberto Saba and the drama Judasz z Kariothu [Judas Iscariot] by Karol Hubert Rostworowski. The analysis also includes Stanisław Barańczak’s cycle of poems Podróż zimowa: Wiersze do muzyki Franza Schuberta [Winter Journey: Poems to the Music of Franz Schubert] and a fragment of Scène from Hérodiade by Stéphane Mallarmé in Paul Hindemith’s composition «Hérodiade» de Stéphane Mallarmé.

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6 Score – Judasz z Kariothu [Judas Iscariot] by Karol Hubert Rostworowski[[I159]]


Louis Spohr, the German violinist, composer and conductor, used the conductor’s baton for the first time in 1820. Felix Mendelssohn, the author of the theatre music to William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream later brought it to wider circulation. Contrary to how it may seem today in the context of musical dictionary definitions, the baton has not always been restricted to the conductor in the concert hall. At the beginning of the next century Karol Hubert Rostworowski shows its specific literary usefulness in Scene 2 of Act IV of Judasz z Kariothu [Judas Iscariot]450, not as a prop, but as a tool decisive for the organisation of simultaneity and dramatic text (mentally), and its theatrically adapted form. Proper understanding of the meaning of verbal issues that arise in the literary space, and which, according to the playwright’s intention “should be practiced under the baton”, so in a strictly musical manner, finally happens beyond the frameworks of traditional reading of the text. In similar situations, when explaining literary structures requires interdisciplinary optics (in this case it is about accepting the perspective of musical-literary research), the risks of legitimacy of the analytical process is immeasurably increased. The moment of real close-up, as Paul Ricoeur suggests on another occasion: “the reader” and “the orchestra conductor”451, reveals the problem of open interdisciplinary interpretation.

The conductor with the baton in Rostworowski will be a director and reader; in Jean Tardieu in Conversation-sinfonietta452 (1952) he is a silent figure who throughout the...

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