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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Musikale narratief in Benjamin Britten se opera : research article

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Abstract


In Herman Melville's story, which is set on a British warship during the Napoleonic wars, Billy Budd becomes the object of a jealous master-at-arms, John Claggart. When the young Billy faces Captain Vere about Claggart's false accusation of mutiny, he stutters and in a moment of despair, kills Claggart with one blow. The death sentence is inevitable. The discrepancy between the nature of the three main characters and their actual deeds results in ambiguity. Billy, the innocent boy, kills. Vere, the father figure, does not protect Billy on the day of his conviction. Claggart, the manipulator, cannot avoid his own death and dies as the victim.
This article takes Melville's story and its historic background as a point of departure to investigate the correspondence between the narrative and the unfolding of the music in the opera by Benjamin Britten. The analysis shows that specific musical images depict the diverse, dualistic nature of the three main characters in the opera. Furthermore, the manner in which these musical images are transformed in the course of the opera depicts the evolving plot to create a musical narrative. By promoting the understanding of the manner in which the musical narrative communicates a message, this article is an attempt to contribute to the hermeneutic project in the field of music.

Billy Budd is die slagoffer van 'n jaloerse skeepsprovoos, John Claggart, in Herman Melville se verhaal wat gedurende die Napoleontiese oorloë op 'n Britse oorlogskip afspeel. Wanneer die jonge Billy deur Kaptein Vere gekonfronteer word oor Claggart se vals beskuldiging van muitery, hakkel hy en in 'n oomblik van magteloosheid slaan hy die skeepsprovoos met een vuishou dood. Die doodstraf is onvermydelik. Die diskrepansie tussen die aard van die drie hoofkarakters en hulle werklike dade skep meerduidigheid. Billy, die onskuldige seun, maak dood. Vere, die vaderfiguur, beskerm Billy nie op sy dag van teregstelling nie. Claggart, die manipuleerder, kan nie sy eie dood afwend nie en sterf as die slagoffer.


Melville se verhaal en die historiese agtergrond daarvan word as uitgangspunt geneem om die ooreenkoms tussen die narratief en die musikale verloop daarvan in die opera van Benjamin Britten te ondersoek. Die ontleding toon aan dat spesifieke musikale gestaltes die uiteenlopende, dualistiese aard van die drie hoofkarakters in die opera uitbeeld. Verder word aangedui hoedat die manier waarop hierdie musikale gestaltes in die loop van die opera getransformeer word, die verwikkeling uitbeeld en 'n musikale narratief skep. Deur die wyse te verstaan waarop die musikale narratief 'n boodskap kommunikeer, probeer hierdie artikel om op musiekgebied 'n bydrae tot die hermeneutiese projek te lewer.

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/content/literat/28/1/EJC61950
2007-04-01
2016-12-09
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