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Background: This analytical approach aims to accentuate the interconnections between two universes which are apparently in contradiction: ideal and pragmatic, or symbol and sound.

The mountain – viewed as a place of creative inspiration – represents a leitmotif of creation in most of the artistic fields. Thus, literature, visual arts and music give this symbol a historical anchor in the artistic movements of all eras

Methods: In order to exemplify a possible way of interference between the two philosophical areas, we have chosen as a “contact unit” the symbol of the mountain, observing the intuition with which it was represented in Alpen Symphony by Richard Strauss and the tone poem The Mountain by Csíky Boldizsár.

In the compositional context of the twentieth century, Richard Strauss made a remarkable creation with a strong philosophical idea as a model of descriptive Programmatism.

In his work, the composer suggests the ascension of a traveler in a mountain climb that encounters, in his journey, places either  protected by nature or dangerous  The whole journey is dominated by majestic symbols of life, nature, and, and resembles an initiatic journey through which the hero is challenged to push himself to the limits and evolve. Equally, this is an allegory of life.

On the summit, The Glacier, or The Storm are just some symphonic scenes with complex symbolic connotations that will be analyzed in this research through the connection with the componistic technique of the creator.

In a mysterious universe, the tone poem The Mountain by Csíky Boldizsár depicts the monumental landscape of the Transylvanian lands, the symbols of greatness, boundlessness and eternity. The intention of the composer is to raise a monument dedicated to the invincible human will, a force that drives explorers of unknown seas and lands, researchers of all mysteries, poets, psychologists, artists, to the eternal unknown.

In music, the composer uses an abstract language, anchored in modernity, using a whole arsenal of complex mixtures of chords, bartokian modes, non-imitative polyphony, mobile clusters, elements that serve the expression.

Results, Conclusions: Finally, this research aims to demonstrate, as a synthesis, how the tonal and modal languages manage to illustrate the connotations extracted from the symbol of the mountain.


Mountain symbol Richard Strauss Alpine Symphony bartokian mods

Article Details


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