Death in Venice: Britten's operatic triumph -and- The allegorical Schoenberg: twelve tone music in Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus

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(Extended Essay) M.A.L.S.
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Essay 1: Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice is rooted in Greek myth and the Apolline and Dionysian struggle presented by Nietzsche. Aschenbach’s struggle and demise is understood through the boy Tadzio, who is best represented in the opera. In this paper I argue that Benjamin Britten’s opera surpasses the emotional impact of either Mann’s novella or Luchino Visconti’s movie adaptation. Essay 2: In his novel Doctor Faustus Thomas Mann casts Adrian Leverkühn, a composer, as a modern version of Faust. In his pact with the devil, Leverkühn exchanges his soul for revolutionary musical genius. In this paper I argue that Thomas Mann’s use of Schoenberg’s revolutionary method of composing in twelve tones supplies the compelling justification for Leverkühn’s pact with the devil.
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