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date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the musical representation of memory in three of Franz Schubert’s Faust settings. “Gretchen am Spinnrade” (“Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel”) (D. 118) fuses qualities of a spinning song and an operatic aria, creating seamless transitions among Gretchen’s “field” memories (remembering events as if reliving) of intimate encounters with Faust, her present awareness, and her fantasizing. “Szene aus ‘Faust’” (“Scene from Faust”) (D. 126) reveals the connection between Gretchen’s guilt-inducing “observer” memories (remembering from the perspective of an outside observer) of childhood purity and her anxiety about Judgment Day by interlacing passages of operatic recitative and pseudo-archaic church music. In “Der König in Thule” (“King of Thule”) (D. 367), Gretchen’s singing of an ostensible “cultural memory” (a vessel of wisdom and truth handed down through the ages), suggested by the interfusion of folk ballad and chorale, expresses longing for an idealized mythic past.

Keywords: Faust, Goethe, Franz Schubert, “Gretchen am Spinnrade”, “Szene aus ‘Faust’”, “Der König in Thule”

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