The aim of this study is to place Charles Koechlin’s songs, Quatre poèmes d’Edmond Haraucourt, Op. 7 and Sept chansons pour Gladys, Op. 151, within the larger context of the French art song tradition by intensively examining the form, texture, harmonic language, and text setting of these songs, as well as Koechlin’s approach to the mélodie as a genre. Composed respectively near the beginning and the end of his career, this study examines how Charles Koechlin approached his songs in the context of the various revolutionary developments in music during his period.
This study begins with a brief discussion of Charles Koechlin’s background as a composer followed by the developments in French music during his time. It then explores the genesis of the art song and outlines the development of the mélodie. An introductory perspective of the song genre and a survey of the prevailing songs around the time when Koechlin wrote opus 7 and opus 151 are also included. The two song cycles are then analysed in detail.
The thesis of this paper is that Koechlin did not move to a new direction but rather continued the prevailing tradition of the mélodie at the time of writing the two song cycles. These two song cycles typified two very clear cut stages in the development of French music in general, and French mélodies in particular: the late 19th century preimpressionistic style of Fauré; and the neoclassicism of the period between the two world wars.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2015|