2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Schicksalslied: Sacred or Secular?
Kelsey A. Kline
Prof. Shirley McKamie, Faculty Mentor

Schicksalslied, or Song of Destiny, is a piece of art in three forms: it is a literary text by Friedrich Hlderlin, a musical work set for choir by Johannes Brahms, and a set of etchings and lithographs by Max Klinger. These three German artists, each from different stylistic periods, created their own interpretations of Schicksalslied. An analysis of the media used to convey the individual artists view shows that they can, in fact, change the meaning of anothers work. Schicksalslied is not a traditionally religious text, despite the use of Greek deities; it is Brahmss interpretation of the text, shown through his music, that makes it a religious work. Interestingly enough, Klinger later managed to fuse the beliefs of both Hlderlin and Brahms into his own unique perspective. These varied expressions show that sacred or secular labels depend not on the material alone, but the material, context, and artists intent.

Keywords: Brahms, Schicksalslied, Hlderlin, Klinger, music, aesthetics, German poetry, art


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 12-3
Location: OP 2111
Time: 8:45

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