Klett-Cotta-Verlag Psychology

Weg zur Kunst

Szenen aus Peter Iljitsch Tschaikowskys Iolanta

April 2012, 16. Jahrgang, Heft 62, pp 26-42

The Way to Art. Scenes from Pyotr llyich Tchaikovsky´s »Iolanta«

As Tchaikovsky, in the aria of Ebn Hakia »Dva mira«, uses a melody he had encountered during his stays in Constantinople in 1886 and 1889, as Asaf´ev already recognised, his opera Iolante primarily contains internal processes and developments centred, in idea-practical terms, on the teachings of the Moorish doctor Ebn Hakia about overcoming the body-soul dichotomy, as well as dialogues with his father on light and seeing. In this early work of Russian modernity, the composer crafted – aside from the chord suspensions recalling Wagner´s Tristan und Isolde – the acoustically perceptible sphere of nature in Iolante´s garden. Despite his self-doubt, and in full awareness of the high artistic value of the music, Tchaikovsky created a work that captivates the listener through its unity and diversity of lyrical moments, allows us to experience Iolante´s theophany as a process of maturation, not least in musical-narrative terms as a journey from the sombre flat keys to the bright C major finale – a subject that was further developed in complex ways, especially in Czech modernism.

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