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Mitsopoulou, Evangelia I.

Dante as Source of Inspiration for Franz Liszt: Dante Symphony and Its Pianistic Transcriptions (O Dantis pigi dimiurgias gia ton Franz Liszt: I Simfonia tu Danti kai i pianistikes metagrafes tis).

Ph.D., University of Macedonia of Thessaloniki, 2010

The subject of this thesis is Franz Liszt’s Dante Symphony inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. The poem disseminated through the centuries and continues to be diffused, capturing the fantasy of many artists from the Medieval era until today. Paintings, sculptures, music compositions, literary critics, translations in all languages, novels, cinema films, cartoons have been inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

The thesis includes the complete harmonic and motivic analysis of the Dante Symphony as well as the comparative study of its six pianistic transcriptions by Liszt for two pianos, Theophil Forchhammer for solo piano, Arthur Hahn for piano – four hands, August Stradal for solo piano, Carl Tausig for solo piano and János Végh for two pianos – eight hands, works that are revealed and presented for the first time.

Liszt’s innovative ideas for the presentation of his orchestral work along with the diorama of G.B. Genelli’s paintings were never realized by him. From the analysis of the Dante Symphony come out the innovations, the symbolism of the piece and its direct relation to Dante’s poetry.

The pianistic transcriptions of this symphony are just a sample of the tendency that characterizes the ninenteenth century: the piano was the means for the dissemination of earlier and contemporary (at Liszt’s times) composers’orchestral works. Moreover, Liszt’s influence on his students is revealed through their transcriptions of Dante Symphony for one or two pianos. There is a particular emphasis on C. Tausig’s pianistic transcription manuscript which was unknown to the scholars until today.