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Studies in Music with Text$
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David Lewin

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182088.001.0001

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. Women’s Voices and the Fundamental Bass

. Women’s Voices and the Fundamental Bass

(p.267) Chapter Fourteen. Women’s Voices and the Fundamental Bass
Studies in Music with Text

David Lewin

Oxford University Press

Lawrence Kramer has recently offered a striking Freudian trope for discussing musical form and sexuality in Wagnerian and post-Wagnerian music. Analyzing Isolde's Transfiguration in particular, he observes that the passage conforms in every detail to the Freudian language of love. To the extent that the notion of Freudian regression is pertinent, it suggests a return on Isolde's part to a pregenital phase of sexuality. Susan McClary, in her recent book, views Salome and the person of Erwartung as exemplars within a line of pieces by male composers that feature madwomen as solo singers. This line includes Lucia and extends back to Monteverdi's lamenting Nymph. Isolde is brought into the group with a bit of effort. McClary's study essentially restricts itself to opera, but the transcendent woman's voice can be heard elsewhere as well. The sorts of observations made on the quartet amplify the sense in which the transcendent voice is assumed to be a female voice.

Keywords:   Lawrence Kramer, musical form, textuality, music, Isolde, sexuality, Susan McClary, singers, opera, female voice

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