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Raymond Monelle. 2006. The Musical Topic: Hunt, Military, and Pastoral. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Haringer, Andrew

In summarizing the value of The Musical Topic's critical apparatus, I offer an example that shows the robustness ofMonelle's interpretations even when he errs in certain respects. As mentioned earlier, Monelle thinks that "Liszt's Wilde Jagd, though in six-eight time, probably pictures a witches' ride rather than a hunt, as I have suggested elsewhere; such a reference is a kind of 'dysphoric horse,' nothing to do with hunting" (87). There is strong evidence that Liszt was here drawing upon the same legend of a cursed hunter as that which inspired Franck's Ie Chasseur Maudit (see Merrick 2003). While the ferocious galloping of the piece is unmistakable, one can also hear tricinia dotted horn calls throughout; this, then, is a dysphoric reading of both horse and hunt topics. What is striking, though, is how Monelle picks up on the demonic elements of the piece, even though he appears to be unaware of its likely program. To trope on Pope, then, such a criticism is actually to praise Monelle with a faint damn. As mentioned before, minor errors are inevitable in a project of this scope; what matters is how resilient his approach proves even when such errors occur.



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Columbia University
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March 23, 2015