A study of Edouard Lalo's song settings of the poetry of Victor Hugo

Date of Completion

January 2005






This dissertation analyzes the interaction of music and poetry in the Op. 17 song settings of the poetry of Victor Hugo (1802--1885) by Edouard Lalo (1823--1892). A brief survey of mid-nineteenth century French song and its composers serves as a background in assessing Edouard Lalo's role in the development of the mélodie. Additionally, a context for the songs in Op. 17 is provided through a discussion of style characteristics as well as important musical influences on Lalo's compositional approach through a summary of his overall song output. The significance of Victor Hugo's poetry in the development of the mélodie warrants the inclusion of a brief discussion of French Romantic poetry in the nineteenth century, in which a formal and stylistic overview is offered of the poems by Hugo that Lalo set to music in Op. 17. The primary focus of the study, however, will be to describe the relationship between text and music through analysis with regard to text, form, melody, rhythm, harmony, and accompaniment. ^