Research question: “What can be learned about the programmatic relationship between Franz Liszt’s B Minor Piano Sonata and its programs?”
My research started as an investigation of the traditional programmatic relationship between Franz Liszt B minor Piano Sonata and Goethe’s Faust, but it had an unexpected outcome: Liszt B minor Sonata can be programmatically connected to multiple programs at the same time. Through the study of symbols behind themes and harmonies used by the composer, connections with other compositions, and the composer’s notes and letters, my research explains why and how the Sonata is programmatically inspired by Goethe’s Faust, Milton’s Paradise Lost and the Bible not only in its structure, but also from a philosophical and spiritual point of view.
I propose to look at the Sonata in a different way, considering a more general and Christian “leading thought” which connects all its possible programs and permeates the whole work: Liszt’s Sonata tells the story of every man and his lifetime struggle against temptations and damnation to reach salvation. At the end, I give practical suggestions on the interpretation of specific passages of the Sonata based on the considered symbolic connections with its programs and composer’s notes.
The chosen format of presentation is the exposition, because it gives me the possibility not only to include explanatory pictures and score excerpts, but also to use my own recordings to explain better the symbolism of themes or harmonies in certain passages and to show the practical and interpretive outcomes of my research.